Saving the St. Johns River : One Person Made a Difference
Overview - This book presents the writer's commitment as a "citizen volunteer" to restore the pollution plagued St. Johns River. I address the early 1900s when man attempted to drain the river's headwaters. The pattern continued into the 1980s with construction of dikes and pump stations throughout the river's first 70 plus miles. Read more...
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More About Saving the St. Johns River by Leroy Wright
This book presents the writer's commitment as a "citizen volunteer" to restore the pollution plagued St. Johns River. I address the early 1900s when man attempted to drain the river's headwaters. The pattern continued into the 1980s with construction of dikes and pump stations throughout the river's first 70 plus miles. In 1985, I founded SAVE St. Johns River, Inc. Our support base includes 3,000 citizens. My work helped secure federal designation of the St. Johns River as an American Heritage River. Another accomplishment included the state purchase of 14 miles of the river's shoreline. A new county recreation facility bears this writer's name. These events, plus others of equal significance are included in the book, supported by 25 photos. Read the full story of this volunteer in action. Most chapters conclude with my sometimes humorous fishing experiences. In writing this book, much of my research material was retrieved from my own personal files I accumulated in my volunteer work over the past 20 plus years. Within the pages of the book, I have included the more significant issues this writer pursued since the mid 1980s. I address the successful conclusions on numerous issues, as well as those issues that continue to present a challenge. I write about some disappointments; not failures. In fact, failure is not a word in this writer's vocabulary. It's simply a delay, pending resolution. The book addresses two complex issues and their effect on the St. Johns River. I present those issues in a way an average person can understand. The book is comprised of 10 chapters, and include this writer's actions: Proposed Sabal Hammocks Project -a great project, wrong location; Restoring Lakes Hell N' Blazes and Sawgrass, a challenge to restore the first two lakes on the St. Johns River; the $200 million dollar plus Upper Basin Restoration Project, a great project; Restoring the Ocklawaha River (removing Rodman Dam), supported by this writer; Transformation of Duda Ranch -New City of Viera, the Viera Company avoided a legal challenge by SAVE St. Johns River, Inc. after the company agreed to sell 14 miles of riverfront to the state of Florida; The American Heritage River Initiative, a highly competitive federal designation of 14 rivers across the United States. Of 126 rivers nominated, I worked to secure this designation throughout the first 150 miles of the river. One chapter addresses sovereignty lands; another chapter addresses a court decision regarding Sabal Hammocks. The final chapter of the book, Fruits of My Labor, document this writer's work, supported by Brevard County Government, St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Keep Brevard Beautiful, and conservation groups. My love of fishing beckoned a 9-year old boy to "quiet waters" many years ago. My Dad, a gentle man, often took me fishing. In December 1958, after serving 8 years in the U.S. Air Force, I went fishing on the St. Johns River in Brevard County, Florida. I caught a 7-pound bass. I became a part of this magnificent river. In January 1989, at age 56, I retired as Chief, Design Engineering & Support with the Martin-Marietta Corporation at Cape Canaveral. I have visited the glaciers in Alaska, Ole Faithful in Yellowstone Park, Grand Canyon, and more. However, the St. Johns River's "quite waters" remain my favorite destination. From a former fishing guide to conservationist, I am committed to restoring this magnificent river for future generations. The reader will discover my personal journey and I think will agree: one person made a difference.