The head of Florida's environmental agency announced a plan for Northeast Florida's cities and utilities to spend more than $600 million helping the St. Johns River.

The move, which was announced Friday, is supposed to reduce
nitrogen and phosphorus entering the river, which would shrink
algae blooms and help underwater grass beds where fish live and eat.

It took 9 years of conversation between the state agency, local governments and people representing business, farming and public interests to come up with the plan.

Among the measures: imposing a quota on pollution entering the river from sewage treatment plants, monitoring storm water draining off highways and retiring some septic tanks.

Officials say the plan could take as much as 15 years - or more to be completed.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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