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The “Save the St. Johns River” tour kicks off

Advocates for the health of the St. Johns River are heading out on the waterway for a 13-day tour.

According to the St. Johns Riverkeeper, which is leading the “Save the St. Johns River” event, the Tuesday launch coincided with World Water Day, an international day of awareness for water issues.

The event features a team of river advocates journeying by boat along the 310-mile length of the river, from the headwaters at Fort Drum to the river’s mouth at Mayport.

“We had amazing day yesterday on Blue Cypress Lake, Fort Drum Marsh and touring restoration projects in the Upper Basin,” St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman told Florida Politics. Rinaman says the river tour is designed to unite river supporters and raise awareness about the degradation of the waterway.

“Unfortunately, just east of where we are today, the Indian River Lagoon is experiencing a massive fish kill most likely due to nutrient pollution runoff from fertilizer, failing septic tanks and sewer spills. A sad example of why we are fighting to protect the St. Johns and Florida’s waters.”

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In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.

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