To help our local environment, the Jacksonville Port Authority spearheads the following programs:
Marine Mammal Protection Program
JAXPORT is working to protect the Western Indian Manatee, which gathers in North Florida waters during the summer, and North Atlantic Right Whales, which breed in the South Atlantic.
Each year, JAXPORT helps to fund the City of Jacksonville's Manatee Protection Project, a Jacksonville University program gathering manatee information and increasing marine mammal awareness and protection among area boaters and residents. To decrease the potential threat to manatees at its four marine facilities located along the St. Johns River, JAXPORT has installed large rubber fenders along each wharf, creating a watery "roadway" for any marine creature caught between a slowly docking ship and the wharf.
JAXPORT also is helping to fund protection programs for North Atlantic Right Whales. Dangerously close to extinction, right whales are not showing signs of recovery from centuries of commercial whaling. There are less than 400 of the creatures alive today. Although right whales in the 21st century are safe from whalers' harpoons, they continue to face serious threats to recovery such as competition for food resources, entanglements in fishing gear and a naturally low rate of reproduction.
Along with federal, state and local agencies, JAXPORT helps to fund the Right Whale Early Warning System. This program sponsors aerial surveys of the southeastern U.S. coast to locate, photograph and report positions of right whales in their habitats. The positions are then broadcast via pager to ships in the area so captains can steer around whale-occupied areas. JAXPORT also supports the Mandatory Ship Reporting System, a Coast Guard regulation requiring large vessels to report their location and intended track as they approach ports in Georgia and northeastern Florida. Once a report is received, the Coast Guard replies with a list of the most recent whale sightings in the area, so ships can avoid any interaction with the marine mammals. And JAXPORT participates in the Southeast Right Whale Recovery Plan Implementation Team, a consortium of scientists, government agencies and private businesses working to protect the Northern Right Whale.
Cruise Industry's Ocean Protection Programs
JAXPORT supports the cruise industry's efforts to preserve and protect the world's oceans, rivers and waterways. Click here to learn how the cruise industry is protecting the ocean.
JAXPORT has created saltmarsh wetlands on Buck Island and Fanning Island in the St. Johns River estuary. Moreover, more than 50 acres of environmentally-sensitive salt marsh are being protected along Wynn's Creek at JAXPORT's Dames Point Marine Terminal through conservation easements. JAXPORT also helped fund the preservation and environmental restoration of Dutton Island along the Intracoastal Waterway in Atlantic Beach. JAXPORT also applied for and received a federal grant to assist with Deer Creek "brownfield" restoration in the Talleyrand area.
JAXPORT supports several environmental programs throughout Northeast Florida, including the Tree Hill Nature Center, Greenscape of Jacksonville and the Academy of Coastal and Environmental Sciences (ACES).
At the Tree Hill Nature Center, a 50-acre nonprofit nature preserve in Jacksonville, JAXPORT supports their work to educate area students about the St. Johns River. JAXPORT has sponsored a 30-foot-long mural at Tree Hill entitled "A River in Harmony," which showcases the river's various manmade and natural features, a scene viewed by thousands of local school children who visit the Center each year for education and science programs.
JAXPORT and Greenscape of Jacksonville continue to improve the tree canopy of Jacksonville through a series of landscape projects in the city. JAXPORT's support of Greenscape's annual tree sale has contributed to more than 55,000 trees being placed in our community over the past five years.
JAXPORT also partners with the Academy of Coastal and Environmental Sciences (ACES) to teach students the value of environmental stewardship and “green” business practices. ACES students participate in field studies, learn the latest GIS mapping technology, enjoy presentations by key environmental business partners and graduate with a certificate in environmental sciences.
In addition to the programs above, JAXPORT is creating an Environmental Management System (EMS), a formal document of procedures that accurately reflects JAXPORT's environmental commitment in Northeast Florida and guides the Port's future growth and operations. For more information about JAXPORT's environmental programs, please call us at (904) 357-3082 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.