The Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition is proud to be a participant in this year’s Give4Marion Campaign. Donations go to The Ocklawaha Fund set up in honor of John H. Hankinson and Vince Spontak, managed by the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County. The giving campaign begins on Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. and ends Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. Thirty-three hours of giving.

A $5,000 match is now available until noon on 9/21 while funds last. Donors can match up to $1,000.

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Over the next six months, the coalition will be conducting a critical public education program to build the support needed to move restoration forward.

Explore updated content in the sections below!

River Dam

A Dangerous Dam Past Its Life Expectancy

The disaster at Piney Point and the collapse of the Surfside condos in South Florida should give us reason to review aging infrastructure throughout Florida such as the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam near Palatka, Florida. The dam completed in 1968 is now past its 50-year life expectancy. Is retaining a man-made bass fishing pool, an outcome of the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam, worth putting 539 homeowner’s properties valued at approximately $57 million and possible lives at risk? Does it make sense, especially when the reservoir recreation sites have been on a downward trend since 2010, declining by an average of 3,627 visitor parties per year?

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River Collage

Reunite the Rivers. Unite Our River Communities.

For over fifty years, the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam has impacted so many communities along the 217-mile Great Florida Riverway – the Ocklawaha, Silver and St. Johns Rivers and historic Silver Springs. We can unite all our communities for a better future.

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See Ocala Gazette Insert 

Invasive Aquatic Weeds Temporarily Shut Down Cross Florida Barge Canal and Clog Portions of the Rodman Reservoir

Multiple times throughout the year invasive aquatic weed blockages shut down boat ramps, block navigation in places on the reservoir, and impact the Buckman Lock. The invasive aquatic weeds are then sprayed with tens of thousands of dollars of diquat and other chemicals. It has created an unreliable recreation resource for guides, fishing tournament organizers and individual anglers driving sometimes for miles to find the boat ramps blocked.

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Imagine New Outdoor Recreation Along the Ocklawaha River

What is your favorite outdoor adventure? Maybe you like fishing along the edges of a wild and scenic river or long-distance paddling in Florida’s wilderness. Or perhaps you prefer a tamer option, such as hopping on a miniature steamboat reliving a historic travel route or booking a driving tour down the backwoods trails of the Ocklawaha. Want to master your hunting and fishing skills with best-in-class guides? If wildlife is your passion, you could opt for a birding or manatee viewing experience. Fourteen University of Florida students from the Department of Landscape Architecture envisioned how to create new and exciting opportunities along the Ocklawaha River.

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Learn how restoring the Ocklawaha will uncover 20 springs drowned by the dam and help restore Silver Springs.

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Free-flowing Ocklawaha.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Legislative handout

Legislative Handout

Five Big 2021 Legislative Priorities