Wildlife Protection

Here at JEA, we work hand in hand with various local, state and federal agencies to help protect Northeast Florida’s threatened and endangered species.  We manage our assets and growth to encourage sustainability of the surrounding natural habitats.  JEA protects and maintains the health of over 1000 acres of forested wetlands in Northeast Florida through conservation, monitoring and enhancement programs.  We ensure the protection of threatened and endangered wildlife and their habitats while serving our growing communities water, sewer and electric needs.

Northeast Florida Habitats

JEA has recorded conservation easements to protect the head waters of Yellow Water Creek and Julington Creek and a tributary to Black Creek.  The utility has also constructed new hardwood wetlands within the Dunns Creek and Nassau River basin watersheds and tributaries flowing into Julington Creek.  These easements and created wetlands help protect precious habitat in the communities we serve and minimizes impacts of population growth in Northeast Florida.

Manatees

The Florida manatee is a large marine mammal that can reach around 3500 pounds and grow more than twelve feet long.  While these “Gentle Giants” were once endangered, their population has increased over the past few decades and they are now listed as “threatened” in the US.  For most of the year Florida manatees are widely dispersed throughout or community’s waterways.  During the winter months in Northeast Florida, these manatees head for the warmer waters of our natural spring system.  

JEA has worked collaboratively with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and local universities to encourage successful winter migrations of manatees to these warmer waters.  Extensive studies where undertaken to discourage these mammals from interrupting their natural migration and lingering near JEA thermal discharge sites along the St. Johns River.  As depicted in the graphs below, manatee observations during the winter season at JEA facilities have decreased drastically due to construction of aquatic barriers.  These decreased sightings and continued increases in manatee populations throughout the state are proof these collaborative efforts are truly paying off.  For more information on the cooperative work between JEA, the Service and the Commission please view the following presentation.

Gopher Tortoises

In Northeast Florida, both gopher tortoises and their burrows are protected by state law and relocation permits must be obtained from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before disturbing burrows due to construction activities.  JEA has saved over 150 gopher tortoises from harm during utility construction over the past 5 years through local relocation activities and modification of construction work practices.

Annual Bird Count

Volunteers from JEA’s Environmental Group will join forces with the Duval Audubon Society to count birds at JEA’s Northside Generating Station on December 30. Last year, volunteers counted 26 species. 
More on Duval Audubon Society

Ospreys

Ospreys build their nests by placing large sticks atop tall trees, utility poles, channel markers and manmade platforms. Here at JEA, our Energy Department regularly relocate Osprey nests from electric power lines and substation infrastructure to limit power outages and harm to the ospreys themselves.  This activity has become so common that Ospreys have adapted to artificial nest sites and now nest in areas once considered unsuitable. 

Shielding Lights for Sea Turtles

Beaches in Northeast Florida are a major nesting ground for loggerhead sea turtles. For this reason, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Commission conducted a beach lighting survey of the area. Artificial lighting affects the survival of sea turtles that hatch on the beach. The hatchlings usually emerge at night and crawl toward the brightest horizon, which is the ocean. But artificial lights confuse the hatchlings and cause them to crawl toward roads and away from the ocean. The survey suggested there were seven lights in Atlantic Beach that needed "turtle shields" to keep light from dispersing and confusing the hatchlings. 

Sea Turtle Nest

The City of Atlantic Beach contacted JEA with a request for the turtle shields and they were installed in December 2012 with JEA assuming the cost of labor and installation, while the City of Atlantic Beach agreed to pay for the shields.

Striking a balance between providing reliable electric, water and sewer services and ensuring that our environment is protected and preserved is at the very core of our business. We work daily to ensure full compliance with environmental laws and regulations and are dedicated to continually improving the environmental performance of our facilities and operations.
Read More About Our Environmental Commitment