Our region is blessed with a “Sweet Water” river in the St. Johns, but only recently have people begun to stop taking that asset for granted, Quinton White, executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute, tells readers in the latest edition of his “River Life” column in The Florida Times-Union.
The north-flowing stream gets its dark tea color not from pollution but from tannins in the oak, gum and cypress tree leaves nearby, White writes in the column published Monday, Jan. 28. Those same leaves make the water taste sweet.
However, for many years people felt that allowing waste to runoff from homes, roads and more into the river was acceptable.
“Only in the mid-20th century was it realized how important those same swamps and wetlands that we drained in the 19th century are to the overall health of the entire ecosystem,” White tells readers. “They act like kidneys, filtering water and keeping the system functioning properly.”
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