Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition
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Ocklawaha Green and Gold Report

Economist Alan Hodges PhD recently completed a white paper: Economic Benefits of Ocklawaha River Restoration. The work builds on a 2017 report Hodges helped author with UF faculty Tatiana Borisova, Xiang Bi, Alan Hodges and Stephen Holland: Economic Importance and Public Preferences for Water Resource Management of the Ocklawaha River. The return on investment and other economic benefits projected by Alan Hodges were featured in a new Coalition piece called the Ocklawaha River Green and Gold Report: Investing in North Florida Waters. The briefing paper was highlighted on our recent July Florida Trend Ad sponsored by attorneys Kaster & Lynch. Thanks to Alan Hodges, Bruce Kaster and the team that helped consult on this report.

Manatee and Wildlife Campaign

Save the Manatee Club and Defenders of Wildlife debuted the first of nine monthly campaigns on the Coalition website designed to share key Ocklawaha River restoration benefits and bring in new supporters. If you have not taken the wildlife quiz, sent electronic manatee postcards to your friends or downloaded the manatee coloring book for your favorite child, then Click Here. Many thanks to all who made this first campaign a huge success.

Fish Stories

Dam removal success projects are being featured all over the United States. NPR recently Read it here showcased this success story in Maine. Success stories like this reveal that migratory fish like the Striped Bass and American Shad come back quickly after river restoration.

Although historically the Rodman dam concentrated bass in the impounded area, it devastated the historic fish in Silver Springs and blocked migratory fish and shellfish along the Ocklawaha. Gone are the huge white and channel catfish and large schools of mullet that many saw as children under the glass-bottomed board ride. It disrupted the migratory fish route from the Atlantic through the 100-mile St. Johns River Estuary to the Silver Springs. The removal of a portion of earthen berm of the Rodman Dam (2,000 feet) will reconnect this route and return many historic, native fish like the big striped bass.

To highlight the positive benefits of breaching the Rodman Dam for migratory fish, shellfish and other aquatic wildlife, the Coalition is producing videos of angers that believe in the benefits of restoration. Produced by Julie O’Brien and edited by Reinier Munguia, the Bill Rossi story is the first of many that will soon appear in a special section on the Free the Ocklawaha Coalition website.
Gallery Exhibit 2020
Marion Cultural Alliance and Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition present

Ocklawaha: Wild and Endangered River

Multi-Media Art Exhibit
July 2-18, 2020

Opening Day: July 2, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Brick City Center for the Arts
23 SW Broadway St., Ocala, FL

Explore one of America’s Endangered Rivers® through a multi-media art exhibit featuring the work of 10 painters, photographers, illustrators, and sculptors.

Opening Day Activities, July 2, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Artists, river guides, conservationists, and storytellers present virtual and in-person short programs at 10, 11, 12 noon, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7
  • Children’s activity kit about the river and its wildlife
  • Curbside pick-up of FREE driving tour map brochure and virtual gallery/program information
  • Take selfies with two new outside murals at Brick City Center for the Arts
  • Meet river guides and sign-up for future river tours showcasing the Ocklawaha River (Fee required)
Participating Artists:
Karen Chadwick, Interlachen, paleo art sculptor
Will Dickey, Jacksonville, photographer
Doug Eng, Jacksonville, photographer
Doug Engel, Ocala, photographer
Anne MacKay, Ocala, painter
John Moran, Gainesville, photographer
Reinier Munguia, Polk County, wildlife illustrator
Julie O’Brien, Gainesville, photographer
Margaret Tolbert, Gainesville, painter
Johnny Dame, Polk County, painter

For those preferring to stay close to home, many of the programs and artist works will be featured online. Programs and on-line gallery details will be posted on from July 1-July18.

Note: Due to the COVID virus, we will not be having a typical opening reception. Opening day events will be spaced out and managed in a socially distanced manner with limits on numbers in gallery at same time, activities on the patio and face masks required for everyone’s safety. Masks will be provided at the door for those without one. Visitors can drive by to pick-up driving tour brochure, children’s online program information and see the two new beautiful outdoor murals.
Florida Trend Ad
Check our page in Florida Trend Magazine. Click on image above to enlarge.
For more information go to
To schedule a virtual briefing, email
Free the Ocklawaha
Free The Ocklawaha Coalition. For a list of our members click here .
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