JU’s Marine Science Research Institute director weighs in on St. Johns River dredging study

Dr. Quinton White, executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute, says in an Oct. 28 Florida Times-Union article that he has concerns about an ongoing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on the effects of dredging the St. Johns River to make room for economic development.

The Corps of Engineers is using computer models to anticipate the consequences of deepening the river’s 40-foot channel to as deep as 50 feet, making way for increases in international shipping. White and others say in the article that the dredging’s impact on nearby creeks and marshes need to determined before a decision is made on the project.

“You start looking at how the model works and you say, ‘well, there are shortcomings.’ But they are doing nothing to fulfill those data needs,” White says in the Times-Union article.

Advocates of the project say moving to a 50-foot channel could position Jacksonville for huge increases in international shipping — and, consequently, jobs for Jacksonville-area residents.

The Times-Union reported that while White stressed that he respects the scientists studying the river impacts, White also said, “I’m not getting the answers I’d like to get from the process yet.”

Here is the Times-Union article.

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