Drought impacting business on St Johns River

- An airboat with Midway Airboat Tours snaked through a narrowing band of the St. Johns River. on Friday.   It's likely one of the last tours for a while.  With conditions only getting worse, owner Derrick Lockhart made a difficult call to cancel his cruise passenger tours.

"I'm having a hard time just pushing the boats out of the slip," he said. "I'm saying, we are probably not going to be taking any more customers off the cruise ship until we get some rain."

Lockhart said, even though an airboat can go over land, wet sand bars can bring them to a sudden stop.

"I'd rather have people safe than take the chance of people getting hurt," he added. 

Lockhart showed us where the St. Johns narrowed from several miles to about 70 feet. Alligators have less water to stay cool, while thirsty cattle can't roam too far from the receding river.  Several feet of bald cypress tree roots are exposed, normally covered in water.  Lockhart said the water level keeps falling, and there's just a minimal chance of rain this weekend.

 

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