Greenprint Projects

St. Johns River Greenprint for Putnam County


Creek running through an urban area.
Florida Creek Wagner Creek in Miami's Health District, a focus of our Cities work in Miami, Florida. © Samantha Blend/TNC

Winding more than 300 miles, the St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida and one of few rivers in the western hemisphere flowing from south to north. The St. Johns and its tributaries drain about one-sixth of the state, an area of about 8,700 square miles. Because it flows slowly, the St. Johns is highly vulnerable to pollutants and particularly vulnerable to the effects of northeast Florida's continued growth and urbanization.

Land along the river is rapidly being developed, and the region faces many of the ill effects of growth: sprawl, traffic congestion, pollution, damage to environmentally sensitive lands, loss of public access to scenic land and, as a result, harm to both the environment and residents' quality of life.

The Greenprint puts forth a conservation plan for the entire 310-mile length of the St. Johns, including its tributaries. TPL began in Putnam County because it has the most river frontage, natural land is still relatively affordable and available for acquisition, and county leaders recognized the need and enlisted TPL to lead the Greenprint's development.

Year Published:  2009

State:  Florida

Landscape Contex:  Inland

Housing Density:  Suburban, Rural

Funding Type:  Both (Public and Private)

Habitat Focus:  Forest, Wetlands

Organizations Involved:

The Trust for Public Land, Putnam County


Open Space/Habitat, Recreation, Historic/Cultural Sites

Stakeholder Involvement:

Stakeholders were fully integrated. Representing a broad base of interests – business, civic, economic, conservation and recreation – the stakeholder group (about 45 participants) articulated a shared vision on behalf of Putnam County residents, established goals to achieve this vision, supervised the development of maps to prioritize best opportunities, and developed recommendations for action steps to take to implement their vision by leveraging state and federal resources.

Planning Process:  The Greenprint's planning process followed the below stepwise approach:

  1. Engaged local community members in the planning process.
  2. Collected data and developed a GIS model to identify high priority lands for goals identified by stakeholders.
  3. Identifed potential funding for community conservation goals.
  4. Produced implementation recommendations.

Desired Outcomes:

The Greenprint aimed to provide river access; improve trail connectivity; protect natural resources; and protect cultural and historic sites.