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January 2020 Membership Meeting

Our first membership meeting of 2020 was a full success. A lot of Friends attended the meeting and listened to our guest speaker Karen Chadwick who told us about the drawdown of the Rodman Reservoir.

Since 1968 the flow of the Ocklawaha River has been blocked when it became the target of a massive engineering project called the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Environmental activists led by Marjorie Harris Carr (and now her granddaughter) opposed the construction. The project was halted in 1971 but not before the Rodman (now the Kirkpatric) Dam was built across the Ocklawaha, flooding 9,000 acres and 16 miles of wetland forest creating the Rodman Pool. The dam bars upstream access for migratory species like the striped bass and manatee. Its dams and gates are now damaged. Its floodplain flooded with a loss for wildlife habitat and thousands of acres of forests killed.

The reservoir behind the dam is drawn down by the State every 3 to 5 years to remove invasive plants that flourish and choke the waterways. During the drawdown, the “lost springs” and many more ecological and historical fascinations reemerge.

The drawdown began in early October. Water levels reached the lowest point Mid-November and will be maintained at that level until March 1, 2020.  

Using film and a series of before and after photos, Karen Chadwick focused on the historical significance of the River as well as the increased tourism and other commercial, recreational and environmental benefits of removing the Rodman Dam to restore the 13,000 acres of floodplain within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Karen is the owner of North Star Charters and tireless advocate for the protection and restoration of the Ocklawaha River. She currently serves on the Board of the Silver Springs Alliance and the Executive Committee of the Florida Defenders of the Environment. She has won many awards for her advocacy, including the Conservationist of the Year by the Santa Fe Audubon Society.

Please plan on attending future FSSSP meetings for more interesting presentations on topics of interest to all of us in the Ocala community and to get updates on current and future plans and projects.  Meetings are held every 2nd Thursday of the month in the Park’s beautiful Paradise Ballroom starting with snacks and social hour at 5:30 pm.

About us

Friends of Silver Springs State Park is a Citizen Support Organization (CSO), a non-profit volunteer organization, dedicated to preserving and enhancing Silver Springs State Park. We support Silver Springs State Park by providing volunteers, educating visitors, hosting events and raising funds for specific park projects.

Become a member

Check out our Membership Page and join the Friends of Silver Springs State Park in its mission to enhance and preserve this natural treasure.  Member Meetings will be announced.

Contact us


1425 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL, 34470

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