JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Researchers from three universities released the fifth annual State of the River Report Wednesday saying that the river is showing signs of improvement.
Since 2008, researchers from Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida and Valdosta State University have been reviewing and analyzing the St. Johns River to determine the river's state of health. The analysis covers almost 100 miles of the river from Welaka to its mouth at Mayport.
The report is funded by the City of Jacksonville's Environmental Protection Board and is broken down into 5 areas: water quality, fisheries, aquatic life, contaminants and aquatic toxicology.
Although this is the fifth year that water quality has received the most unsatisfactory marks it is showing signs of improvements.
Aquatic life, endangered and threatened species such as manatees, wood storks and bald eagles are doing well even though the continued loss of habitats makes them vunerable. Research also showed that non-native species are on the rise with 64 species that could threaten the natural habitats.
The contaminants in the water, such as pesticides and metals, have remained unsatisfactory for the past five years. The volume of chemicals released into the air by industries in the area has declined over the past decade, but discharges into the river remain the same.
The river report will be discussed at the Environmental Symposium being held on Friday, August 17 at UNF's University Center.
For more information on the report you can go to www.SJRreport.com.