October Newsletter

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Oct. 22, 5 PM, Deadline for SJRMD Survey on Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam

St. Johns River Water Management District launched an online portal to collect feedback from local community members and stakeholders across the state and beyond regarding the Kirkpatrick Dam and Rodman Reservoir, with a focus on interests surrounding the dam’s environmental and economic impact. SJRWMD said, “The online feedback will help inform future key decisions regarding the best path forward — continued management and operation of the structures or an alternative restoration strategy.”

The deadline for online survey comments is 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 22. Find tips and the link at
Action Alert – and a direct link to the SJRWMD survey at .

Survey Interest Has Been Unprecedented

Interest from the media, anglers, recreation users, conservationists, business leaders and other stakeholders to the survey has been strong. A list of selected media articles can be found at the end of this newsletter. The recent Ocala Gazette supplement has been distributed to over 50,000 readers in print and thousands more online (
Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone, a sixty-member coalition of conservation, user, business, and faith-based organizations that support breaching the dam and reuniting the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers and Silver Springs, has seen heavy website and social media traffic.
Nine of the larger member organizations combined received thousands of views on their survey landing pages indicating very strong interest. “We are at the peak of support for restoration of the Ocklawaha River,” shares Margaret Spontak, Coalition chair. A letter sent earlier this year to Governor Ron DeSantis brought in over 22,000 signatures.
Winter 2021 Letter Campaign

Benny Blanco, Member Captains for Clean Water and Host of Guiding Flow

Conservation-Minded Anglers are Weighing In

Seventy-five anglers at the second annual Cowford Redfish Tournament on the St. Johns River were visibly supportive of the effort as Captains for Clean Water member Benny Blanco and tournament organizer Rami Ashouri asked for angler support of Ocklawaha River restoration at the tournament gathering.

Benny Blanco said, "The restoration of a free-flowing, connected system with the removal of the Rodman Reservoir and Kirkpatrick Dam is supported by ecological and economic research. Outdated dam safety issues, improved water quality, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities can't be ignored any longer."

To see what other anglers are saying about restoration go to (What Anglers Say)

Scientists On Record for Ocklawaha Restoration

Scientists have amplified their voices on the importance of this project related to 1) improved water quality, 2) restoration of three rivers and Silver Springs, 3) completion of the largest springs restoration project currently available, 4) essential habitat for Florida manatees, 5) strengthening of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and 6) addressing saltwater intrusion and resiliency issues in NE Florida. These issues have been high priority for Florida legislators. The Coalition has recruited a team of scientists with diverse backgrounds to provide on-going review and development of science-based communication materials. An example of this has been work on the downstream impacts to water quality on the lower Ocklawaha and St. Johns rivers.

SJRWMD Former Supervising Environmental Scientist John Hendrickson has stated, "In an updated analysis of the downstream water quality effects of Ocklawaha restoration, SJRWMD concluded that restoration of a free-flowing river enhances water quality of the Lower St. Johns River by augmenting low flow, increasing dissolved oxygen, and providing a more balanced nutrient supply." Some statements from Hendrickson’s extensive research on the water quality outcomes of Ocklawaha River restoration have been taken out of context by some “save the dam” supporters. To see what scientist are saying about restoration go to (What The Scientists Say)

Casey Fitzgerald, Former SJRWMD Assist. Director of Water Resources


John Hendrickson, Former SJRWMD Supervising Scientist


Chris Farrell, Audubon Florida, NE Florida Policy Associate

Click Below to Read Recent News Articles

Margaret Hankinson Spontak, Chair
Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone

Free The Ocklawaha Coalition. For a list of our members click here .
Free the Ocklawaha
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