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Local concerns grow over new dredging project

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Updated: 7/23/2013 7:30 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Jim Bentley says he has lost 10 feet of his riverfront property since he bought it about 10 years ago.

"That used to be grass, eel grass, when we first got here," he said, pointing to open water.

Just a few blocks down, James Allen says he has lost more than half his bait and tackle business in the past five years.

Both blame past projects to deepen the St. Johns River. Now, the Army Corps of Engineers has plans to dredge it seven more feet to bring bigger ships and bigger bucks into Jaxport.

But Allen says digging up the bottom affects his bottom line: the bait that he sells and the fishermen across North Florida who will no longer come in and buy it.

"This dirty water will eventually get up into the creeks and tributaries, and you will not find a strong fish population where you got real dirty water," said Allen.

The St. Johns Riverkeeper hosted a public forum about the local concern Tuesday night.

Action News took those concerns to The Army Corps of Engineers. They say they are still working on plans and that they have good intentions.

"We are not going to cause ill effect to the river and the report when it gets finalized will show that," said Jason Harrah with the Army Corps of Engineers.

But locals like Bentley and Allen say they've seen dredging damage first hand are still waiting for answers.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

kyle b - 7/24/2013 7:27 PM
1 Vote
@papakilo its not just a matter of earth, its also detrimental to the health of the ecosystem i.e. like the man mentions in the clip, eel grass. Take a tip from the Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint river basin and the struggles that region has had dealing with the ramification of river dredging for barges to be able to reach Columbus GA

Papakilo - 7/24/2013 12:26 AM
1 Vote
Why has a retaining wall not been placed on property lines, on the water, and backfilled with dredged land from the river bottom? It has worked in other cities to protect property owners and preserve the land from receding down into the river. Simple solution which provides benefits to both parties involved. What is the big secret or is it just ignorance and lack of doing just a little bit more to get the job done right?
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