Riverkeeper Files Petition Over St. Johns River Dredging
St. Johns Riverkeeper filed a Petition for Formal Administrative Hearing against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday, April 1, 2016 regarding the proposed St. Johns River harbor deepening project.
On February 19, 2016, DEP issued a Notice of Intent to issue an Environmental Resource Permit and a Variance to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge 13 miles of the St. Johns River from the mouth of the river to Brills Cut from a depth of 40 feet to up to 51 feet.
St. Johns Riverkeeper asserts that the dredging will have significant adverse impacts on the health of the St. Johns River ranging from increased salinity spikes that will damage valuable fisheries to harmful erosion and shoaling.
“Impacts from the blasting of bedrock and sedimentation from dredging will potentially cause adverse impacts to several endangered species,” they said.
The proposed harbor deepening is sought by JaxPort in an attempt to compete with numerous other ports that are vying for a share of the Post-Panamax container ship traffic.
Post-Panamax vessels are new, larger class of container ships that are designed to take advantage of the recent expansion of the Panama Canal.
Other southeastern ports that are dredging to accommodate this market include: Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami.