Groundwork Jacksonville awarded major grant for waterways restoration

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation issues huge sum for local projects

Hogans Creek restoration design
Hogans Creek restoration design

Groundwork Jacksonville has been awarded $5,848,900 through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) National Coastal Resilience Fund. The grant will complete the design and permitting for the ecological restoration of Hogans Creek.

The project’s goal is to reduce flooding, improve water quality, create habitat for fish and wildlife and provide nature-based recreation along the planned Emerald Trail.

“The Emerald Trail Project and the restoration of Hogans and McCoys creeks are going to be game changers for the downtown experience and economy,” said Mayor Lenny Curry.

Preference was given to nature-based projects that show clear benefits in terms of reducing current and projected threats to coastal communities, improve habitats for fish and wildlife, benefit underserved communities, directly engage community members in project design and implementation and can be scaled for broader impact through integration into other government plans, programs or policies. Groundworks Jacksonville’s was among the largest grants awarded.

“We are thrilled to receive this major grant award from NFWF as it will enable us to accelerate and complete the Hogans Creek restoration design,” said Kay Ehas, CEO of Groundwork Jacksonville.

Groundwork Jacksonville is the City’s of Jacksonville’s nonprofit partner in building the Emerald Trail and restoring Hogans Creek and McCoys Creek.

Hogans Creek near the Vital Statistics Office in Downtown Jacksonville at 1217 N Pearl St
Hogans Creek near the Vital Statistics Office in Downtown Jacksonville at 1217 N Pearl St

Hogans Creek is a 2.6-mile tidal and freshwater urban creek that begins at the CSX Railroad, just north of the S-Line Rail Trail, and flows south to the St. Johns River at the Shipyards. Hogans Creek frequently floods and is a top priority for the City’s Local Mitigation Strategy, just behind McCoys Creek.

The stream restoration work will restore organic beds and banks and return the creek to a more natural meandering pattern and flow. Additionally, two sections that are currently buried in culverts will be daylighted. The plan also proposes the addition of two city parks along the creek.

Throughout the design process, Groundwork actively engaged residents of Springfield, Historic Eastside and the Cathedral District, and other stakeholders in Task Force meetings, creek walks, public meetings, and the Hogans Creek Fest to gather community input that was incorporated into the restoration plans. 

The restoration of Hogans Creek is expected to attract a wide variety of birds. It also will provide habitat for various amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Likewise, restored wetland and marsh areas along the creek will provide foraging and nursery habitat for many saltwater gamefish and baitfish.

By Karen Rieley
Resident Community News

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