One of the newest Riverkeepers in America's oldest city! Building on decades of community effort, Matanzas Riverkeeper fights to protect and defend the remarkable Matanzas River Watershed. We're a proud member of the Waterkeeper Alliance.
Five permit applications for seismic airgun testing off St. Augustine, and Florida’s east coast, have been submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The Matanzas Riverkeeper is hosting a news event on Wednesday, October 22, 5:00 p.m., at the foot of the Bridge of Lions (northwest corner), St. Augustine to discuss the applications.
In addition, candidates for governor and attorney general have been sent questions about their positions on oil and gas drilling off Florida's east coast, and that effort will be discussed at the gathering.
Opponents to seismic testing cite impact on tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, and marine ecosystems, including injury or death to potentially thousands of dolphins and whales, including the endangered Right Whale. Seismic testing is a precursor to oil and gas exploration which some regard as a dirty and dangerous practice that threatens the health of the oceans, rivers, and the economies of coastal communities.
Despite 15 public forums, several comment periods, and tens of thousands of citizens urging cancellation of the plans, last July, BOEM, with the Obama administration’s acceptance, approved seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Seismic testing is no longer a hypothetical threat, it is here and real. These applications mean we are one step closer to testing. Our community must work to stop seismic testing and subsequent offshore drilling from destroying our tourism, offshore fisheries, coastal economies, and the marine creatures with whom we share the Atlantic Ocean and Matanzas River.” Neil Armingeon, Matanzas Riverkeeper
Matanzas Riverkeeper, along with Friends of Matanzas, Florida Wildlife Federation, South Anastasia Community Association, Environmental Youth Council of St. Augustine, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, and others have opposed seismic testing citing its destructive impact on coastal communities and marine mammals, including endangered Right Whales. Local governments who have joined the opposition include: St. Johns County, the City of St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and Atlantic Beach in Duval County.
Hunter Miller, President of St. Augustine’s Environmental Youth Council, notes, “This is a call to action to oppose seismic testing; it is the most significant issue facing our community and the state of Florida. Join us October 22. We need to know candidates’ positions on offshore drilling before we vote!” Candidate responses to our letter and all continuing news on these permits will be posted here so check back for updates.
Great News for the Matanzas
We want to acknowledge the generosity of two local organizations who have recently stepped forward to help us protect the Matanzas River.
Matanzas Riverkeeper received a generous donation from the All American Air Charitable Foundation in St. Augustine. I met with their board, and they support our mission and love the Matanzas River. They want to help MRK maintain our website. The AAA Foundation supports many good causes in our community, and we are are grateful they have chosen to add our names to the groups they support.
Wingard Creative in Jacksonville recently awarded Matanzas Riverkeeper a grant to provide in-kind creative services through The Wishing Well, a pro-bono program that was launched in 2013. This is a great opportunity to work with a really talented group who support our work, and will help us better reach our community through messaging and outreach.
Thanks to both AAA Foundation and Wingard Creative for their belief in our work.