Audubon Florida
Decision Point: It’s Time to Breach the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam
Prothonotary Warbler. Photo: Gary Robinette/Audubon Photography Awards.
Will Florida reunite the rivers or waste more money on a dam that stands in the way of restoration?

The failed Cross Florida Barge Canal Project left environmental destruction and burdensome infrastructure in its wake. The damming of the Ocklawaha River and creation of the Rodman Reservoir has smothered 20 springs, blocked manatee and fish migration, and destroyed thousands of acres of floodplain forest.

We are at a crossroads. The Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam that blocks the Ocklawaha River is in decline and in need of repair. Now the state has to decide whether to invest millions of taxpayer dollars in repairing and continuing to operate a dam with no purpose or remove it, finally reuniting the Ocklawaha, St. Johns, and Silver Rivers. 

We may never have another opportunity to restore this important ecosystem. We need your voice to tell the District that you support breaching the dam and bringing the river back to its former glory.

The St. Johns River Water Management District is asking interested citizens to provide their opinions on the future of this resource. Below you can preview the questions as well as information from Audubon Florida that may help shape your responses. We strongly encourage you to make each response unique to your experience.

Click here to give your comments by 5 p.m. on October 22, 2021.

Not sure what to say? No worries, see our suggestions below and make them your own!

1. What would you like to see happen with the Rodman Reservoir and Kirkpatrick Dam moving forward? 
  • Remove the dam and restore the Ocklawaha River.

2. What is the most important piece of information that supports your position? 
  • Removing the dam helps restore 50 springs as well as the Ocklawaha, Silver, and St. Johns Rivers. The Lower Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers will receive 150+ million gallons a day of restored natural flow. $4-14 million will be saved on a dam that both is past its life expectancy and serves no purpose.
3. What would be your biggest concern if your desired outcome is not achieved?
  • If the dam remains, Putnam County and Silver Springs will lose out on $47 million in economic benefits over 10 years; restoration is needed to bring increased visitation, construction, and hospitality jobs to the region. If the dam remains, water quality will continue to decline, causing invasive weed blockages while contributing to blue-green algae events, fish kills, and submerged aquatic vegetation loss. If the dam remains, Florida will lose out on thousands of acres of forests that could have been restored, providing water storage and filtration for downstream communities, flood protection, wildlife habitat, recreation, and more.
4. Is there any scenario short of fully achieving your desired outcome you could support?
  • No. Breaching the dam is 50 years overdue. Dam safety, improved water quality and wildlife can’t wait.
5. Open-ended section to add additional comments. Suggested prompt: What do you treasure about this ecosystem, or about natural Florida in general?
Make your comment today.
Prothonotary Warbler. Photo: Gary Robinette/Audubon Photography Awards.
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