The Rodman Reservoir, also known as Lake Ocklawaha, is a fabricated lake located on the Ocklawaha River. Supporters tout removing the dam as a step that would help three waterways – the Silver River in Marion County, the Ocklawaha and the St. Johns – by reestablishing connections that marine life depended on before the dam was created in 1968. Guest column: Breaching Rodman dam will reveal 20 lost springs of the Ocklawaha River Springs vent water from aquifers underground, but the video … A year later President Lyndon Johnson started construction with aims to provide a quicker and safer route across Florida. Today the Rodman Reservoir is famous for providing what amounts to a large scale fish farm for premier largemouth bass. The section of the reservoir from its headwaters at Eureka Dam to Paynes Landing consists of flooded woodlands. We sure miss the way the Ocklawaha River looked when we were growing up in the Ocala National Forest. The Ocklawaha River flows north from the Harris chain of lakes for 74 miles to the St. Johns River. The springs will only be visible until March 1st 2020, when the reservoir is planned to begin filling up. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. As we ventured out to the main river, we passed many large structures. It is located south of Palatka off of Hwy 19. However, the project officially canceled in 1991. The Rodman Dam cuts off the free flow of the Ocklawaha about nine miles from the St. Johns River. The video is meant to encourage interest in a plan that has been called “partial restoration:” removing about 2,000 feet of the earthen dam, filling a man-made cut and letting the river return to a winding natural channel. Some manatees make it into the Ocklawaha through the Rodman Lock and make it home to Silver Springs. Extending over seventy miles, the Ocklawaha River and its dark waters are home to a multitude of wildlife. Water rushes from the downstream side of Rodman Dam along the Ocklawaha River. Location: This section of the Ocklawaha River is located between the Rodman ( Kirkpatrick ) Dam, on Rodman Dam Road, Palatka, Fl and Hwy 19 in the Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area. We could see a slight blueness to the water and the shadow of an occasional fish passing over. Several springs known as ‘hidden’ or ‘lost’ springs’ are also now revealed with the lower water level and today’s paddle takes Florida Paddle Notes to a few of these springs. A group called Save the Rodman Reservoir, Inc supports keeping the reservoir in its artificial state. In addition to the FDE, There are now additional proponents of restoration. It also features fishermen saying their views have changed. We believe the citizens of our beautiful state can convince lawmakers. Historically, Blue Spring emptied to the Ocklawaha River via Indian Creek, a five-mile clear spring run, just upstream of the current location of the Rodman Dam. Rodman Reservoir, or Lake Ocklawaha, is an artificial reservoir located on the Ocklawaha River in Putnam County and Marion County in north central Florida. The video’s backers say Jacksonville has a lot at stake in the decision. The Silver feeds into the Ocklawaha, which is also fed by headwaters in Central Florida's Green Swamp and by water originating in Lake Apopka, producing the St. Johns’ largest tributary. Restoring this river needs to become a state-wide issue, known to those outside of just the local community. They wait for a boat to come, in hopes that humans will allow them passage through their manufactured gate. They say returning the river to its historic level would  also allow 7,500 flooded acres that used to be forested floodplains to become forest again and provide a wildlife corridor, and that 8,000 acres would become valuable wetlands again. ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DAM The Ocklawaha River was dammed in 1968. The dam and reservoir were the first of a set of two that the Army Corps of Engineers planned on building. Fifty-two years after the Ocklawaha was dammed to construct the later-canceled Cross-Florida Barge Canal, they’re circulating a video that argues it’s smarter to remove much of the aging dam than pay for needed maintenance and upkeep. The Rodman Reservoir, also known as Lake Ocklawaha, is a fabricated lake located on the Ocklawaha River. It is a sunken floodplain forest which was created and partially cleared to … Our boats stopped at a shallow beach near ruins known as the Dr Strange house. From the ruins, we took a short hike over an adjacent hill and down to Tobacco Patch Landing Spring. admin It is in fact home to eagles, black bears, turkeys, turtles, alligators, and a healthy, diverse fish population. SOME also perish at the Rodman Dam trying to get back to the St Johns. This one was smaller but a bit deeper. After a short safety briefing, we loaded onto a couple of pontoon boats, and cruised downstream. Once every three to five years, it becomes necessary to have a draw-down of the lake. The Ocklawaha River watershed includes parts of the Green Swamp, most of Lake County, and portions of Marion, Alachua and Putnam counties. Her group has fought 51 years for its dismantling to restore a free-flowing Ocklawaha from … We were asked to join a boat tour of the river by the Florida Springs Council. When the water is low, a handful of springs re-emerge from the dark waters. It was first proposed by Philip II of Spain in 1567. A four-gate spillway (Kirkpatrick Dam) controls the water levels of the reservoir. In the heart of peninsular Florida, a slow-moving waterway meanders northward, enveloped by thick swamp of cypress trees. Rodman Reservoir is currently in a drawdown, where the water level goes from an average of 18′ – 20′ down to approximately 11′. Strange had to abandon the property when it fell into the right-of-way of the Barge Canal project. Dec 23, 2020 at 6:00 AM Seen here is Rodman Dam along the Ocklawaha River. Before construction on the dam began, groups were fighting against it. This SIGN-FOR-FREE $$$ petition had 2,112 supporters and more than 550 favorable comments as of that date. Waters close to Duval on ‘most endangered’ list for country, Breaching Rodman dam will reveal 20 lost springs of the Ocklawaha River, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Coalition members “want to get the governor’s attention,” Rinaman said. Cypress trees bordered the river on both sides, trunks stained for the first few feet from the typically higher waterline. Within the campground, there is boat ramp access to Rodman Reservoir. “Not everybody is going to get on board. What a great write-up, y’all! But we need to listen.”, More: Waters close to Duval on ‘most endangered’ list for country. So shameful! Based in north-central Florida, it was built along the Ocklawaha River to aid navigation along the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Seen here is Rodman Dam along the Ocklawaha River. Having built the house alongside the river; Dr. The waters of the Ocklawaha are especially dark, which allows for spectacular reflections with the right lighting. This is where we unloaded and headed up a hill. Other than a couple of misspellings, there is one other issue with this quote. Your email address will not be published. View this classic circa-1945 video from the USDA Forest Service about the Ocala National Forest and bass fishing the Ocklawaha River! It seems to me that the cost of retaining Rodman is very much too high.”. Your email address will not be published. For July 4th, 2016: Remember that the Ocklawaha River is also the northern and western boundary of the Ocala National Forest making it a USA and State of Florida river also. Show Your Support! In 1997, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection presented a plan to remove the dam. Restore 3 Rivers & 50 Springs with 1 Solution Explore the Fish of the Ocklawaha, Silver & St. Johns River Learn how restoring the Ocklawaha will uncover 20 springs drowned by the dam and help restore Silver Springs. Show your Support for a Free-flowing Ocklawaha. Her group has fought 51 years for its dismantling to restore a free-flowing Ocklawaha from Silver Springs to the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean. And interesting history about the area. American Rivers says the Rodman Dam is imperiling the waterway. A year after she died in 1997, the right-of-way surrounding the canal was named in her honor. Still, the bass like it just fine. Based in north-central Florida, it was built along the Ocklawaha River to aid navigation along the Cross Florida Barge Canal. The flooded reservoir drowned over 7,500 acres of floodplain forest and 20 freshwater springs. About Lake Ocklawaha: Lake Ocklawaha was formed by Rodman Dam (now renamed the Kirkpatrick Dam). It would be devasting to the unique ecosystem and a trajedy to deny future generations a natural paradise such as Rodman.”. It’s a shame that there are people in this world that can’t leave well enough alone! Currently, the only access manatees have to go upriver to Silver Springs is though the series of locks along the canal that connects to the St Johns River. Get out there! I think what baffles me is what a recent project this was. Since the late 1960s, a trickle of the natural flow makes it to the longest river … Other organizations hope to educate the public about the environmental stress the artificial lake causes on a daily basis. https://www.instagram.com/swampandspring/, https://www.flgov.com/email-the-governor/, https://www.facebook.com/freetheocklawaha/, https://www.freetheocklawaha.com/schedule-a-speaker/. The house was really neat, especially the custom mosaic of tiles on the floor. Natural: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. Created in 1968, the Rodman Reservoir built the earthen dam across the Ocklawaha River, leading to the St Johns River. Repeatedly considered over the years; the project never moved forward as it was economically impracticable. It is consistently ranked in popular fishing magazines as one of the top ten best bass lakes in the country. The drawdown exposes the original Ocklawaha River channel along with the remains of hundreds of Cypress tree stumps that once lined the banks of the river. It is now part of the State Park System. Springs vent water from aquifers underground, but the video quotes a geologist saying the flow would increase by up to 150 million gallons a day without the reservoir covering them. February 13, 2020 We recently joined the Florida Springs Council on a short expedition on the river. A short film called Lost Springs documented explorations of the last draw-down. Contact Governor DeSantis and urge him to follow through with the partial restoration. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, and Tom Wright, R-Port Orange – and county commissioners from Alachua and Lake counties praising proposals to restore the river’s historic condition. We were now official members of the “Cannon Springs Foot Club”. Historically, the Ocklawaha river flowed from Lake Griffin to its confluence with the Silver river; then around the eastern, northern borders of the Ocala National Forest and into the St. Johns River. The US Forest Service has mentioned it for inclusion as a "Wild and Scenic River." The largest of these Lost Springs in terms of flow and surface area was Marion Blue Spring, privately owned but open to all for recreational pursuits, including fishing and swimming. Launch point: The launch is located at Kirkpatrick Dam Canoe/Kayak Launch on the west side of the dam spillway. This would also providing additional habitat. The forest is also unable to reproduce. 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