FDEP Says 2021 Dam Assessment to Be Released by March 18

The Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam is past its life expectancy and previous assessments and emergency action plans have indicated serious issues and vulnerabilities. Release of the 2021 Kirkpatrick Dam and Spillway Condition Assessment has been delayed by Florida Department of Environmental Protection until March 18, 2022. The report would typically have been released in fall of 2021. Piney Point and the Surfside condos demonstrated how delaying infrastructure decisions can be costly and even lethal. A drawdown of the Rodman Reservoir (similar to drawdowns every 3-4 years) could provide immediate relief. The long-term and economically and environmentally prudent decision is to breach the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam.

The citizens of Welaka in harm’s way, have not received information about the dam’s risk of failure. An analysis based on an older map of the flood inundation area indicated 529 properties were at risk for an estimated value of $57 million. The state recognized properties were in danger in its own Cross Florida Greenway Management Plan (2018-2028).

The Florida Dam Safety Program website states, “As dams age, they require greater attention and investment to ensure their safe operation. Continuous dam safety practices are particularly important for dams that are upstream of human populations, where dam misoperation or failure has the potential for loss of life and property.”

It's time for the 2021 Kirkpatrick Dam Safety Assessment to be released without redaction so that those effected, state leadership and taxpayers, can make sound decisions for the safety of people and property.

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