Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Bottom Line On Rodman Reservoir

You shouldn't be able to see any of the open vistas below from the location of the photographer (me).
The pictures show Rodman Reservoir in the midst of a serious drawdown. Drawdowns are generally good for impoundments, they allow muck deposits to oxidize and new plant growth to colonize the bottom.
When the impoundment is reflooded, fish populations generally rebound dramatically for a time until things stabilize again.


If you support keeping Rodman as a 9,000 acre lake, then the scene above should be underwater.
If you support removing the dam and restoring this section of the Oklawaha River to river floodplain, then the scene above should be bristling with young cypress, maple, and gum trees on either side of the original river channel.


You can probably guess where I stand on the issue. I'm not insensitive to fishing guides and bait shop owners who generally support keeping the reservoir, but there are bigger issues here and fishing will not end when the dam is removed.

A lot of people have worked for a very long time to protect and restore this river. A good timeline on the issue is found here.


On a cold, windy day recently, these bundled fishermen were working the river channel that snakes through a devastated river floodplain exposed by low lake levels.


Ever adaptable, the fisherfolk now must drive far past the reservoir boatramp to reach the river channel.
I am standing at the top of the reservoir boatramp where boats are launched at full lake level.


I hope someday to stand here and see nothing but growing trees, not stumps of former giants.

In the meantime, I did tromp out there to explore a bit.

Yes, it was cold, wet, and muddy ...

... but that's another post.

12 comments:

dani813 said...

I think alot of people have your same wish.It would be a wonderful sight indeed.

Thunder Dave said...

Pretty cool to see some reforestation in progress! Although some damns, especially hydroelectric ones, have been pretty beneficial to us Homosapiens too.

Mark said...

What is the purpose of this impoundment? Upriver from us there is a dam and lake that provide some water for human use, and some hydro power, but not much. Apparently one of the main reasons for our dam was flood control. Since it was built there have been no riverboats on Broad Street in our home town. And no one has been able to paddle a boat along 5th Avenue from the site of my late father's home to downtown, which he did as a boy. Not that both of those things wouldn't be pretty cool.

Floridacracker said...

Dani,
Yes, I think it will happen eventually and the area supports a huge largemouth bass fishery anyway with the St. Johns, Lake George, etc so close.

ThunderD,
No reforestation yet, this is a temp drawdown.
Dams are a mixed blessing with a limited lifespan.
There's a sorta big one where you are going.

Mark,
The purpose was to supply steady water levels to the Cross Florida Barge Canal ... a now defunct project.
Hence there is no purpose for this dam today.

The Troll said...

Pretty good accurate timeline on that grotesque boondoggle although Chiles got WAY more credit than he deserved and others were slighted.

Amazing how often a tiny number of motivated scoundrels can thwart the will of a less motivated majority.

I know you're not that interested in South Florida but you should do a post on the Glades. And how ONE Sugar-Baron family and ONE scumbag Congressman Bob Wexler have managed to totally screw things up with their greed and mendacity.

It's like the Cross-Canal Scandal only worse.

Floridacracker said...

Troll,
It's not that I'm not interested in South Florida, I just don't get there much ... (and never unarmed).
Our Florida politicians must be the most greedy and corrupt in the nation.
Stupid too ... did I mention stupid?
Voting for early primary elections for example ...

Deb said...

I did my graduate school work on Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir in the middle of South Dakota. I always thought it was strange to have a chinook salmon fishery there, and I'm sure there was a very diverse riverine fishery before the dam.

Floridacracker said...

Deb,
That does seem strange.Salmon in SD?

Craig said...

The tree huggers want the reservoir to go away, I don't. The area is a sanctuary to several species of wildlife and somewhat prosperous to the area in the draw it has for sportsman like myself. I went up for an overnight stay and dropped $1000 into the local economy. I say Rodman should stay.

Anonymous said...

Rodman is a wild life sanctury and should be saved at all costs! It is home to a wide variety of fish, reptiles, eagles, and too many other aquatic waterfowl and various animal species to list here. It helps clean up the Ocklawaha before entering the St.Johns also. The overwhelming majority of people in the counties surrounding her want to keep her. Any where else this kind of habitat was trying to be destroyed people would be up in arms! Its a beautiful vibrant eco-system and should be saved!

Anonymous said...

do you think it is right to destroy one eco system just to save anthor i do not think so just leave rodman alone

Anonymous said...

Rodman was a mistake that is still costing us. If drained the area would support just as diverse a habitat. Stripper and mullet could run the river from the sea as they used to. Several crystal clear springs are underwater. The area used to produce great hunting historically. I am a sportsman from Florida and rodman serves no purpose to me.