Free the Ocklawaha: Why Removing Rodman Dam Makes Environmental Sense

This article was original published by the Ocala Star-Banner on July 15. Whitey Markle is the Conservation Chair of the Suwannee-St. Johns Group of the Sierra Club and has worked as an environmental and conservation advocate for most of his adult life.

By White Markle

The old Ocklawaha River must run free. Rodman Dam must be removed.

How long can the politicians and bureaucrats continue to play with the Rodman Dam scandal? Since the Cross Florida Barge Canal was deauthorized by President Richard Nixon in 1971, the dam — since renamed the George Kirkpatrick Dam — has remained, symbolizing political chess in a very serious environmental game. Until the game ends, Silver Springs, the Ocklawaha River and the mighty St. Johns River will suffer.

Additionally, the lower Ocklawaha, below the dam, is filling up with salt water as a result of the lack of fresh water that would run daily if the dam didn’t exist. Silver Springs and the subsequent springs of the Ocklawaha are the biggest source, about one-third, of the fresh water that feeds the St. Johns River.

All of this is unnatural and needs to be removed.

Read the entire article here.

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