Matanzas Riverkeeper Receives St. Augustine Beach Environmental Stewardship Award

The City of St. Augustine Beach’s Sustainability and Environmental Planning Advisory Committee (SEPAC) has selected the winners of the 2020 Anastasia Island Environmental Stewardship Awards (AIESA). These awards recognize individuals, businesses, groups, and educational institutions that are working to protect the Island’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystem.

The recipients are Lisa McGlynn McGreevy (Individual), Matanzas Riverkeeper (Group), and Beachcomber (Business).

McGreevy helped lead a grassroots effort to preserve Fish Island, a pristine 50-acre property along the Matanzas River. The land was slated for development, but thanks to McGreevy and the Friends of Fish Island, the State of Florida purchased the land. It will be protected and become a park with walking trails and interpretive signs. McGreevy is now involved with a new group, Citizens4Smart Growth, to protect the environment and the quality of life for St. Johns County residents.

McGreevy worked closely with SEPAC’s group winner, the Matanzas Riverkeeper, on the Fish Island Project. The Matanzas Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2013 to protect the fragile and beautiful Matanzas River. Jen Lomberk is the Riverkeeper. Lomberk worked with the City, County Commissioners, North Florida Land Trust, the Governor’s Office, and other state officials to achieve success at Fish Island. She submitted powerful testimony at local hearings and presented compelling environmental and historical documentation to the state to justify the expenditure of Florida Forever funds on the property. She works on many other advocacy, education, and engagement projects as well, with the goal of protecting the health of the Mantanzas River.

Beachcomber, 2 A St. in St. Augustine Beach, is a restaurant directly on the ocean. To help reduce the amount of litter and waste on the sand, the restaurant uses paper, cardboard, and steel in place of plastic and Styrofoam. The restaurant uses paper straws instead of plastic ones, which do not degrade and cannot be recycled.

SEPAC hopes to present the awards at a public ceremony in the spring.

“We had so many more nominees in 2020 than in 2019, and are so proud that our community wants to honor the individuals, groups, and businesses that are doing fantastic preservation and conservation work on the island,” SEPAC Chair Sandra Krempasky said. “Due to the pandemic, we were unable to select the winners of the 2020 AIESAs until the final meeting of last year. We will soon begin taking nominations for the 2021 Anastasia Island Environmental Stewardship Awards.”