Day 3, Thursday, March 24
By Shannon Blankinship, St. Johns Riverkeeper Outreach Director
On our third day, the Tour Team paddled the St. Johns River north of Lake Poinsett. This section is more braided and difficult to navigate. Cattle hug the banks, altering the native landscape and causing erosion. Airboats are popular in this stretch of river and crowds wait patiently at Lone Cabbage Fish Camp to experience the wild Florida.
We paddled the St. Johns with guides from the Brevard County Parks and Recreation along the eastern border of the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area. This 31,000 acre wildlife management area protects critical wildlife habitat along 19 miles of the St. Johns in Orange County and features Mulberry Mound, a Native American midden providing us a glimpse into the past.
The biggest threat to this vital habitat is nearby urban sprawl and the water demands it creates. The delicate balance of water necessary for the wet ecosystems is key to species survival.
This evening, the Tour Team hosted a community meet and greet joined by local partners from Seminole Audubon, Central Florida Surfrider and Friends of the Wekiva. Along with Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine, the room was very concerned about impacts from fertilizers, water consumption, fracking and unsustainable development.
“This is exactly what the tour is all about: meeting partners, sharing concerns and building stronger coalitions,” said Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper. “We are energized by so many who value the St. Johns and Florida waters.”
This is the third part of an ongoing series. Florida NewsLine is pleased to bring you a daily travelogue, along with photos and videos, submitted to us by Shannon Blankinship, St. Johns Riverkeeper outreach director.
Beginning March 22 and continuing for 13 days, St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman and a team of river advocates will journey the 310-mile length of the St. Johns River, from the headwaters at Fort Drum to the river’s mouth at the fishing village of Mayport on the Atlantic Ocean. The overall goal of the Save the St. Johns River tour is to unite people and organizations devoted to the river’s health and develop a unified approach to halting its degradation.
Photos courtesy St. Johns Riverkeeper
Lone Cabbage Fish Camp
North of Lake Poinsett