JU’s Dr. Quinton White in Times-Union River Life column: Poll results shocking to river lovers

A. Quinton White, executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute, clued Florida Times-Union readers into the surprising results of JU’s St. Johns River poll in his recent River Life column.

“Just when I think I understand the St. Johns River, something happens that leaves me scratching my head,” he started.

JU Marine Science Research Institute Executive Director Quinton White

Among other results, the poll, done in collaboration with JU geography professor Ray Oldakowski and students in his scientific polling class, found that only 28 percent of those polled felt the river was the most important asset to the Jacksonville area, and only about half see the river as in need of a major cleanup. .

The findings are “a bit of a shock but, on reflection, maybe not that surprising,” White wrote. “A Jacksonville Community Council Inc. study several years ago titled “River Dance” found that access to the river was a major obstacle to people enjoying it. Indeed, in the JU study, 75 percent reported they never fish in the river, while 70 percent never use it for boating, canoeing or kayaking. The fact that 90 percent do not swim in the river may be the least surprising result.”

White noted that it could be that people may take the river for granted, as it is not as accessible and user-friendly as it could be.

“Most of us drive over it, seeing it usually through the windshield of our car,” he wrote.

“Perhaps it is the job of those of us who care about the river to encourage our elected officials to provide easier access, and to help people understand how important the river is to the city’s economic health.”

To see the entire column, click here.

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