JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Current threats along the St. Johns River could change the future of the river and how it impacts locals.
The St. Johns Riverkeeper river patrol unit hosted a meeting at
Monday night to inform the people what they can do to help.
"I've seen a lot of things out here floating by," said Tom Anderson, member of the River Patrol Unit.
Anderson is no stranger to the St. Johns River. He's lived near water for over 40 years and two years ago he decided to permanently reside on the Ortega River.
"We decided it's time to downsize and this is the best way," said Anderson.
'Anders' Castillo' sits in the water at the Lambs Yacht dock. From his boat, he can see the Downtown skyline and the St. Johns River.
"You come out and you see the sunrise or the sunset on the river and ospreys are waking you up in the morning. It's just a great place to be," added Anderson.
His way of life could change.
"Gosh, what it's going to turn into if people don't start cleaning things up. I mean we find pilings floating in the river, tires floating in the river, it's just getting worse and worse and worse with the trash," he said.
Pollution in the water is nothing new, but it could get worse. St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman says the threat of a proposal to dredge and bring in larger vessels to JAXPORT would draw out millions of gallons of water from the St. Johns, which could change the entire river for good.
"Looking at the environmental impact study of dredging the river from Mayport, the mouth of the river, 13 miles inland from 40 feet to 47 and what happens when you change the river to that magnitude it goes deeper and it start pulling in more sea water, salt water," said Rinaman.
That means more algae that can make anyone sick. Rinaman says the dredging reduces the flow of the water and more pollutants and toxic algae would take longer to flush out. Last year the toxicity of the algae in the water was 100 times greater than what is deemed safe for recreational contact.
"Algae, lots and lots of algae," said Anderson. "It was bad again this year [summer 2013] real bad the docks looked like you painted them green."
Anderson says the algae made his wife and pets sick and it impacted fishermen.
The St. Johns Riverkeeper says there are a few things you can do at home to help.
1) Use native plants for your yard that don't need fertilizer
2) Conserve water
3) Avoid pouring any toxic chemicals down your drains so they do not get into the river
For more information,click here.