A battle is underway over the fate of the Rodman Reservoir on the Ocklawaha River. The deteriorating structure was originally built as part of the Cross Florida Barge Canal project, which was halted by Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
Many environmental groups and government agencies want the reservoir to come down. They say since no barge canal will ever be built, there is no good reason to continue inflicting ecological damage to the Ocklawaha River and Silvers Springs, by flooding the region and interrupting the flow of the river system without regard to the fishing and ecotourism benefits of a free flowing Silver/Ocklawaha river system.
Rodman’s defenders argue that bass fishing, which occurs in the pool created by the reservoir, provides recreation and economic benefits to Putnam County.
Last year, the Silver Springs Alliance (SSA) realized that there is no up-to-date analysis on the economic impact of the reservoir, especially one that compares the economic impact of bass fishing with one based on the eco-tourism and return of manatee and migratory fish to Silver Springs (that have been lost because of the reservoir) that is expected occur, if the reservoir comes down.
That’s why we partnered with St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Suwannee/St. Johns Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Florida Defenders of the Environment and Putnam County Environmental Council to fund a University of Florida study of Tourism and Recreation on the Ocklawaha River. The Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District has also provided separate partial funding for the study.
The study has two phases. The first phase was completed last year at the cost of $15,099. Phase Two, which will cost an additional $15,616, is currently underway and is being financed in part by several environmental nonprofit organizations.
Here’s why we need your help: An additional $3,000 is needed to finish paying for the second phase of this study. SSA is run by volunteers and donations. We hope that as a member and/or supporter of the Alliance, you will be willing to help. This is a big way that you can help protect Silver Springs, especially if you are unable to attend meetings and other SSA events.
Donations to help fund this effort can be made by mailing a check to the “Silver Springs Alliance” at P.O. Box 153, Silver Springs, FL 34489 or online.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity!
The Silver Springs Alliance Board of Directors