FLORIDA WILDLIFE CORRIDOR
Strengthens the Florida Wildlife Corridor for wildlife and people.
Ocklawaha River restoration strengthens a critical link in the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
The Ocklawaha River is located within the Florida Wildlife Corridor and is part of the O2O Corridor which runs from the Ocala National Forest north to the Osceola National Forest. According to the North Florida Land Trust, the O2O corridor is home to 34 federally threatened and endangered species.
The Rodman Reservoir, Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam and Cross Florida Barge Canal create barriers to wildlife movement.
Black bears, Florida panthers, white-tailed deer, and other large terrestrial wildlife are not likely to cross the 9,500 acre Rodman Reservoir or steep banks of the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Furthermore, the dam blocks fish and aquatic wildlife from access to their historic migratory routes. These all create barriers to movement of animals through the Florida Wildlife Corridor. They sever the northern route leading to the Rice Creek Conservation Area and Wetland Preserve. Ocklawaha River restoration would remove these barriers to north/south movement and even strengthen an east/west wildlife corridor. Completing this project will help animals thrive and survive, reduce habitat fragmentation, and decrease human-animal conflicts.
Over 15,000 acres of forested wetlands can be restored with one project.
One project can restore 7,500 acres of forested wetlands submerged above the dam, 8,000 of acres stressed below the dam due to restricted flow, and thousands of acres stressed above the dam due to unnaturally high water levels. These forested wetlands would expand essential habitat, serve as water quality filters, provide natural flood protection, and offer a cooling canopy.
River restoration creates a stronger wildlife corridor for people, too.
Wildlife viewing is a $5.8 billion dollar industry in Florida. This project is strategically located alongside the Ocala National Forest and the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. The Florida National Scenic Trail runs right over the Ocklawaha historic river channel next to the Rodman Reservoir.