Free the Ocklawaha, Breach the Rodman Dam


The four-week window of public comment

is a make-it-or-break-it moment for Florida.

The St. Johns River Water Management District wants to hear your thoughts about breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam, so they have opened an opportunity for the public to comment. But it will only be available for four weeks, so we urge you, don't wait, please take a few moments  speak in favor of breaching the dam and restoring the Ocklawaha River. 

When you click the link below, it will take you to four questions and an open-ended space for other comments. There is a 2,500 character limit for each answer. The button will open the link in a new window, enabling you to refer to this page if you need help filling out your answers.

Bring back the Springs.jpeg

Here are the questions you will see, and help to answer them:

1.What would you like to see happen with the Rodman Reservoir and Kirkpatrick Dam moving forward? 
Possible answer:

Breach the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam.

2. What is the most important piece of information that supports your position?

Possible answers could include:

  • There are 20 drowned springs that would be restored by this single project, making breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam the most beneficial and cost-effective springs protection project in Florida.

  • Fish populations in Silver Springs have declined by 92%, in part due to the construction of the dam. Restoring historic routes for migratory fish is essential to the health of Silver Springs.

  • Hundreds of manatees would gain access to much-needed habitat at a time when manatees are experiencing the deadliest year on record.

  • The dam is past its life expectancy, breaching the dam saves $4-14 Million in dam repairs.

3. What would be your biggest concern if your desired outcome is not achieved?
Possible answers could include:

  • We miss the best opportunity to do this. State and federal funds are available, public interest is high, environmental needs are critical (manatee, water quality, wildlife habitat), and the dam is unsafe.

  • The lower St. Johns, Ocklawaha, and Silver Rivers, 20 lost springs of the Ocklawaha and one of Florida’s largest artesian springs, Silver Springs, are not reunited and restored.

  • Millions in taxpayers’ money are unnecessarily spent to repair the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam, a dam that does not provide flood protection, power, water supply or other broad public benefit.

  • Putnam County and Silver Springs economies lose opportunity for economic growth from increased visitation, construction, and hospitality jobs and an estimated $47 million in economic benefits over 10 years.

  • Hundreds of manatees loose access to essential warm water winter habitat.

  • Water quality declines further fueling invasive weed blockages, blue-green algae events, fish kills and submerged aquatic vegetation loss.

4. Is there any scenario short of fully achieving your desired outcome you could
- No. Breaching the dam is 50 years overdue. 

5. Open ended section to add additional comments 

Make your own comments here, examples include:

MANATEES: 2021 is the deadliest year on record for manatees; unless their natural habitat is restored, we can expect more die-offs in the future. While this year’s crisis was caused in large part by starvation from loss of seagrass, the greatest long-term threat to the manatee is loss of natural warm water winter habitat. 60% of Florida’s manatees depend on power plant outfalls to keep warm in the winter – an unsustainable situation. Restoration will provide essential warm water habitat for hundreds of manatees in the Ocklawaha’s “drowned” springs and by providing access to Silver Springs. Thank you for your consideration.

SPRINGS: Breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam to restore the Ocklawaha River is the most cost-effective springs protection project in Florida today. The project uncovers 20 springs submerged by the waters of the dam and is key to restoring Silver Springs, one of the largest artesian springs in the world.