Mousing around the news of the day … click.
The Northbank Riverwalk is often described as a jewel of our downtown riverfront.
It had gotten a bit shabby in places over the years.
Last week, Daryl Joseph, the city’s parks director, updated the Jacksonville Waterways Commission on efforts to make the riverwalk more inviting.
Worn benches are being repainted, and a better system for collecting garbage is being put in place.
Unfortunately, when the city does have something nice, a few idiots occasionally show up to trash it.
That happened to the light fixtures along the riverwalk from the YMCA to the Riverside Arts Market.
Vandals broke them and knocked them over. The city repaired them. Vandals destroyed them again.
Joseph said new taller and stronger light poles will replace them.
And there is some other good news.
Joseph said that thanks to video from security cameras on a nearby building, the teenage vandals were caught and arrested. I hope they are doing some serious time helping to clean up Jacksonville.
Stretches of the floating docks near the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and The Jacksonville Landing, damaged during the storms last fall, are still a mess. The city is waiting on FEMA money to repair them.
Hopefully that will come sooner than later. The damaged docks don’t send a good message to visitors to downtown who don’t know the backstory.
Perhaps some urgency could be applied here. After all, it has been six months.
Here’s an example of the sorry state of the St. Johns River Water Management District today.
Most everyone recognizes that Silver Springs and the Silver River are fast becoming a shadow of the natural wonders they once were.
At a public workshop last week, covered by the Ocala Star Banner, a district manager “conceded that Silver Springs has problems: diminished flow, a compromised food chain, too many unwanted nutrients and too much vegetation, such as algae,” the newspaper reported.
So what does the water management district want to do about it? That’s what the public workshop was about.
The district is proposing standards that would allow the flow of Silver Springs to drop even lower than it already has.
Developers and agricultural interests who want to pump more water out of the Floridan aquifer would benefit from that.
According to the Star Banner, the district’s division director for water supply, Mike Register, said (I’m guessing with a straight face) that his staff works with science and that there is no political pressure on them to favor anyone or industry.
Excuse me for a moment while I clean up the coffee that just spewed from my mouth.
District scientists who have been fired since Rick Scott came into office when they took positions not popular with the governor might not agree with Register’s rosy view.
One of the more unique arguments the water management district makes is that excess vegetation is more of a culprit in the reduced flow of Silver Springs than over pumping of the aquifer.
That claim merits a “ludicrous” from Robert Knight, the president of the Silver Springs Alliance who has studied the springs for decades.
If there were something to the district’s blame game, there is a solution to help out.
Breach the Rodman dam and restore a free-flowing Ocklawaha River so that manatees can once again return to Silver River — and dine on the vegetation that the district says is the problem.
The Star Banner said about 100 people attended the public workshop, and they weren’t buying what the district was trying to sell. Neither should you.
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