Mousing around the news of the day … click.

 

Spring started off dry, really dry, but what a difference a few weeks can make.

The recent string of deluges has filled the city’s rain gauge above where it normally would be this time of year, especially in areas that have been hit with as much as seven inches of rain in a day.

While the rain is welcome for the most part, there is a downside.

Quinton White, the executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute, advises the Jacksonville Waterways Commission on issues affecting the St. Johns River.

During the commission’s monthly meeting last week, White said the return of the Green Monster could very well be in our future this summer.

The heavy rains have come at a time when fertilizers are being used on lawns and landscaping. Storm water runoff carries those nutrients into the river and its tributaries.

During the dry spell, the salinity in the river was higher than normal with measurements taken at JU finding the equivalent of ocean water.

The influx of freshwater from the rain has dropped the salinity dramatically.

The algae blooms that lead to the Green Monster thrive in freshwater.

Last winter was mild, and that left the river warmer than usual. The temperature will increase with the heat of summer, which officially begins this week.

Combine the excessive nutrients, the freshwater and the warm water, and you have the recipe for a major algae bloom.

One has already started in Doctors Lake.

It’s been a while since the toxic gunk has shown up in the main stem of the river in Jacksonville. This could be the year.

You don’t have to just sit on your hands and let it happen.

Be careful how you fertilize, or better yet, don’t fertilize at all during this time of year.

Make sure those grass clippings don’t end up in the storm drain.

And use common sense: Don’t run your sprinklers when there already has been enough rain to turn lawns squishy, especially don’t run them while it’s pouring rain as some yahoos do.

If the St. Johns River is truly our greatest natural asset, treat it that way.

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Also at last week’s commission meeting, there was a good discussion about the city putting in kayak launches that are accessible to the handicapped.

There are a couple in use now, and a few more are in the works.

But cities similar to Jacksonville that also have abundant waterways will have 30 to 40 such launches, the commission was told. We have a lot of catching up to do in our push to make our waterways accessible to all.

The commission watched a video showing how a top-of-the-line launch site for the handicapped works. It was impressive.

Unfortunately, we are taking our usual cheap approach instead of installing high quality launch sites that our handicapped citizens deserve.

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The next legislative session, which again gets an early start in January, could be a real doozy.

During this past session, Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran battled continuously as Corcoran set out to gut funding for Scott’s top priorities.

Let’s just say that less than kind things were said.

Meanwhile, Senate President Joe Negron backed Scott on those issues.

In further proof there is no honor in politics, Scott and Corcoran have been on a love-fest tour praising the Legislature’s work after secret horse trading during the recent special session left them both happy.

On the flipside, however, Scott kneecapped Negron by vetoing a higher education bill that was dear to him.

Honor may not be a major commodity in politics, but long memories are. The Senate isn’t likely to be happy come the first of the year.

ron.littlepage@jacksonville.com (904) 359-4284