Continuous Stream Discharge, Salinity, and Associated Data Collected in the Lower St. Johns River and Its Tributaries, Florida, 2019

Open-File Report 2020-1140
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, is deepening the St. Johns River channel in Jacksonville, Florida, from 40 to 47 feet along 13 miles of the river channel beginning at the mouth of the river at the Atlantic Ocean, in order to accommodate larger, fully loaded cargo vessels. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, monitored stage, discharge, and (or) water temperature and salinity at 26 continuous data collection stations in the St. Johns River and its tributaries.

This is the fourth annual report by the U.S. Geological Survey on data collection for the Jacksonville Harbor deepening project. The report contains information pertinent to data collection during the 2019 water year, from October 2018 to September 2019. No changes to the previously installed data collection network were made during this period.

Discharge and salinity varied widely during the data collection period, which included above-average rainfall for all counties in the study area over the 3-month period from November to January, below-average annual rain­fall for all counties, and effects from Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. Total annual rainfall for all counties ranked third among the annual totals computed for the 4 years considered for this study. Annual mean discharge at Durbin Creek was highest among the tributaries, followed by Trout River, Ortega River, Julington Creek, Pottsburg Creek, Broward River, Cedar River, Clapboard Creek, and Dunn Creek. The annual mean discharge for each of the main-stem sites was lower for the 2019 water year than for the 2018 water year. Since the beginning of the study in 2016, the St. Johns River at Astor station computed its lowest annual mean discharge, the Jacksonville station recorded its second lowest, and the Buffalo Bluff station recorded its second highest in 2019.

Among the tributary sites, annual mean salinity was highest at Clapboard Creek, the site closest to the Atlantic Ocean, and was lowest at Durbin Creek, the site farthest from the ocean. Annual mean salinity data from the main-stem sites on the St. Johns River indicate that salinity decreased with distance upstream from the ocean, which was expected. Relative to annual mean salinity calculated for the 2018 water year, annual mean salinity at all monitoring locations was higher for the 2019 water year except at the main-stem site below Shands Bridge and at the tributary sites of Durbin Creek and Julington Creek, which remained the same. The 2019 annual mean salinity at Dunn Creek was the highest on record for that site, and Clapboard Creek and Trout River were the second highest on record for those sites.

Suggested Citation

Ryan, P.J., 2020, Continuous stream discharge, salinity, and associated data collected in the lower St. Johns River and its tributaries, Florida, 2019: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1140, 48 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Summary
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Continuous stream discharge, salinity, and associated data collected in the lower St. Johns River and its tributaries, Florida, 2019
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1140
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201140
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center
Description ix, 48 p.
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial St John's River
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details