Florida Tournament Report

Rodman Reservoir at Risk…Again

Rodman Dam

By Nate Monroe, www.jacksonville.com

An improbable partnering among Jacksonville business leaders, city officials and environmentalists in the contentious debate over a project to dredge the St. Johns River offers long-sought benefits for the waterway’s health as well as significant economic gains for the region.

The agreement — hammered out in months-long, intense negotiations that continued late into last week among groups with vastly different interests — will be unveiled Monday, but a draft copy of the document provided to the Times-Union shows an effort aimed at boosting the dredging project while giving river advocates and watchdogs a major victory of their own.

In a move sought by environmentalists and regulators for decades, the linchpin of the agreement commits the JAX Chamber, City Hall and the Jacksonville Port Authority to finding money and permission to breach the Rodman Dam in Putnam County, which would restore the Ocklawaha River and its forested floodplains and infuse millions of gallons of fresh water into the St. Johns River.

In exchange, the St. Johns Riverkeeper would agree to drop its plans to challenge the river-dredging project in federal court, removing a potentially time-consuming roadblock as JaxPort scrambles to keep up with other ports along the East Coast in deepening its shipping channel to prepare for the future of mega-cargo ships.

You can find the story in it’s entirety here.

This isn’t the first time the dam has been under attack. Bassmaster ran a story, penned by Robert Montgomery, in 2012 on the issue. You can find that article here.

Photo: Will.Dickey@Jacksonville.com