Rodman Reservoir

Facts

Table of Contents
"To Be or Not To Be", The Rodman Controversy
Environmental Impacts
Economic Impacts
Reservoir, Dam & Lock Statistics
Drawdown History
Drawdown Statistics
The Water Story (Canal's Effect on Florida's Water Supply)

ENVIRONMENT: A Piece of paradise!

Environmental Impacts

FINDINGS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION'S 1995 ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES OF RODMAN RESERVOIR & THE OKLAWAHA RIVER

...... The 1993 Florida Legislature appropriated $900,000 to study the efficacy, both economic and environmental, of the complete restoration of the Ocklawaha River, partial restoration of the river, partial retention of the reservoir, and total retention of Rodman Reservoir. These studies were ordered because hearings before the House of Representatives and the Senate raised serious concerns about the "facts" that were being used to justify restoration of the Ocklawaha River............................... ...... ........................ ...... Proponents of restoration are now stating that the 1995 scientific studies, both economic and environmental, support restoration, but once again there is a campaign of misinformation! Because the supporters of Rodman Reservoir have only asked that the fate of Rodman Reservoir be guided by facts and reason, the following findings of the 1995 scientific reports are provided:

Rodman Reservoir is not a dying, weed-choked reservoir; it is a complex ecosystem that supports a wide variety of native plants and wildlife, including many species that are currently threatened in Florida.

St. Johns River Water Management District documented over 12 different habitat types within the Rodman Reservoir Complex, more habitats than the Oklawaha River, The Rodman Reservoir Complex includes over a mile of river and flood plain swamp and there is now a greater number of species inhabiting the Rodman Reservoir area than before impoundment. St. Johns River Water Management District also found that it is highly unlikely that sediment inflows are a significant problem in retaining Rodman reservoir. It is estimated that it would take about 8,000 years to fill in the reservoir. (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman reservoir and The Oklawaha River, Volume 20 - Pages 17,18,19,77,94 & Appendix A; Volume 1O Page 137)

Rodman Reservoir supports over twice as many bird species and greater densities of birds then the Oklawaha River.

St. Johns River Water Management District documented 115 bird species at the Rodman Reservoir Complex versus 45 bird species on the Oklawaha River. Of the 45 species found along the river only 8 species had a higher relative abundance on the river then the reservoir complex and only 4 species were found only on the Oklawaha River. Of the 115 species found at the Rodman reservoir Complex, 74 species were observed only at the Rodman Reservoir Complex. (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman Reservoir and The Oklawaha River Volume a 1 0 - Pages 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, & 38)

Removal of Rodman Reservoir will cause a decline In bird species richness and adversely affects more Species of Concern.

St. Johns River Water Management District found that restoration of the Oklawaha River will not benefit any threatened or endangered species but that several species of special concern, including three species of herons and the Limpkin will be negatively impacted, St. Johns River Water Management District documented that Bald Eagles were regularly present at Rodman reservoir and conclude that restoration will lead to the loss of most eagles form the study area. Overall bird species richness would also decrease if the Oklawaha River were restored, (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman Reservoir and The Oklawaha River, Volume I 9 - Pages ES-2, 58, 73 & 77)

Rodman Reservoir supports more fish and better fishing than Oklawaha River and many natural lakes.

Routine sampling of Rodman reservoir from 1992 to 1994 collected 38 species of fish versus 35 species of collected form the Oklawaha River. Based on biomass estimates (the appropriate analysis) provided by the St. Johns River Water Management District over 60% of Rodman Reservoir's fish population is currently sport fish. There has been no statistically significant shifts to non-game fish since reservoir formation. Although direct comparisons were not made it was recognized that Rodman reservoir's fish population is orders of magnitude higher than the population that can be supported by a restored Oklawaha River. St. Johns River Water Management District also states that 13 fish species known or "expected": to have been present in the Oklawaha River and associated tributaries in the area currently occupied by Rodman Reservoir are now absent in the reservoir. Of the 13 species listed, the only species that has probably been eliminated from the watershed is the bluenose shiner, but this species has not been collected from the Oklawaha River main channel or its tributaries since 1949. Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission documented the sport-fishing use of the Rodman Reservoir (281,611 person hours 4-5 times greater than the use of the Oklawaha River (62,209 person hours) Florida GFC documented that the sport fishery of Rodman Reservoir is better than most natural lakes for which data was available and the angler catch harvest and success is better in Rodman Reservoir than the Oklawaha River. (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman Reservoir and The Oklawaha River, Volume 15- Pages 14, 15, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 39, 40, & 52 Florida GFC Recreational Use and Fisheries Report, Pages 15, 16, 17,& 18)

Rodman Reservoir does not block the movement of fishes and the Oklawaha River Is not a major spawning area for migratory fish.

Migratory fish such as striped bass, eels and mullet are found upstream of Rodman Reservoir. Although the dam impedes movement fish move through Buckman Lock. The Oklawaha River is not used for spawning by fish such as mullet and eels. St. Johns River Water Management District states it has been "suspected" that the collapse of the St. Johns River population of striped bass "may be" related to the construction of Rodman Dam because the Oklawaha was "probably" a major spawning ground, The District incorrectly cites the 1955 study of McClane's, because McClane never stated the Oklawaha was a major spawning ground for striped bass, McClane stated local abundance fluctuates considerably form year to year, (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman Reservoir and The Oklawaha River Volume 14- Pages 4, 5, 12, & 13- Florida GFC Recreational Use and Fisheries Report, Page 16 & 21)

Removal of Rodman reservoir will not provide large amounts of habitat for the Florida black bear of the Florida panther.

St. Johns River Water Management District found that the reservoir does not inhibit the north/south movement of bears. The Oklawaha River and the Ocala National Forest are not considered by the Florida GFC as a potential reintroduction area for Florida panthers due to the density of human development. The existing Rodman Reservoir Complex, however, could act as a wildlife corridor for panthers if they should ever enter the area. If restoration is undertaken, the Rodman reservoir would provide habitat for less than 2 bears and habitat for less than 1 panther. (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman Reservoir and The Oklawaha River, Volume 18 - pages 33, 34,& 39)

Rodman Reservoir does not block the upstream movement of manatees and could be used more safely by manatees than a restored Oklawaha River.

St. Johns River Water Management District documented in 1994 the upstream and downstream movement of manatees through Buckman Lock studies have repeatedly reported upstream and downstream movement of manatees through the locks, but a bubble device is now used in the lock to discourage manatee use. Rodman Reservoir with its aquatic plants offers manatees excellent habitat, but some are concerned that the lock and dam pose unacceptable risk, Since 1976 there have been 1 0 manatee mortalities recorded in the Rodman area but only 7 of the deaths were attributed to the operation of either Rodman Dam or Buckman Lock. In contrast boats in Florida killed 51 manatees in 1989. Restoration of the Oklawaha River will place manatees at greater risk because motorized boats and manatees will be using a much smaller water area. (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman Reservoir and The Oklawaha River Volume 18 Pages 25, 26, 27, 28, & 31)

Restoration of the Oklawaha River will require the replanting of vegetation.

St. Johns River Water Management District's seedback studies demonstrated that after 4 months of germination and growth no tree -species were identified for samples taken from 21 stations, The majority of seedlings that emerged were aquatic woods, Models that were used to simulate re-vegetation indicated that no new trees would germinate in constantly mandated areas, thus under the partial restoration alternative terms would have to be reached to preclude permanent inundation of areas. (St. Johns River Water Management District Environmental Studies Concerning Four Alternatives for Rodman Reservoir and The Oklawaha River Volume 7- Pages EX -3 EX-4, 4-5, 4-6, 4-7 & 4-8; Volume 20- Page 65)

Dr. Dan Canfield compiled these "Environmental Impacts". He can be reached at: Dr. Daniel E. Canfield Jr., Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32653. Phone (352)392-9617 ext. 246 for more information on these issues or others that may concern you.

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Economic Impacts

FINDINGS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION'S 1995 ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES OF RODMAN RESERVOIR & THE OKLAWAHA RIVER

...... The 1993 Florida Legislature appropriated $900,000 to study the efficacy, both economic and environmental, of the complete restoration of the Ocklawaha River, partial restoration of the river, partial retention of the reservoir, and total retention of Rodman Reservoir. These studies were ordered because hearings before the House of Representatives and the Senate raised serious concerns about the "facts" that were being used to justify restoration of the Ocklawaha River............................................................. .... Proponents of restoration are now stating that the 1995 scientific studies, both economic and environmental, support restoration, but once again there is a campaign of misinformation! Because the supporters of Rodman Reservoir have only asked that the fate of Rodman Reservoir be guided by facts and reason, the following findings of the 1995 scientific reports are provided:

Although the "cost" figures were the best available at the time this study was prepared, the cost of maintenance has since been determined to be much less then originally thought. A recent audit of Eastern Greenway expenses shows Rodman only costs $250,000 annually to operate and maintain and The Florida Department of Environmental Protection estimates the restored Lower Ocklawaha River and it's facilities will cost $259,000 annually. There is NO maintenance cost saving by restoring the Ocklawaha River. (see "Greenways audit" in "Time Line" ). Also, the cost of restoration has been more firmly fixed. In August 1997 Post, Buckley, Schuh and Jernigan, Inc. estimated that partially restoring, the Lower Ocklawaha River with no replanting, would cost $13,096,951.45.

Rodman Reservoir has more visitors than all but 12 of Florida's State Parks, supports over 3 times the recreational use of the Oklawaha River, and will support over 50% more recreation than a restored river.

Florida DEP estimates that Rodman Reservoir supported 307,217 visitor days in 1993, more visits than all but 10 of Florida's 129 state parks. In 1992, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated there were 376,609 visitor days, more visits than all but 12 of Florida's 129 parks. Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (GFC) documented the total recreational use of Rodman Reservoir (343,840 person-hours) was 3 times greater than the use of the Ocklawaha River (113,859 person-hours). Florida GFC and Florida DEP estimated that between 55% and 58% of the total angling effort at Rodman Reservoir is attributable to largemouth bass fishing. Over 40% of the anglers are targeting other fish. Between 4% and 6% of the anglers are subsistence anglers, who catch 2.7-2.8 meals/week from the reservoir and tailrace, respectively. Florida GFC also documented that Rodman Reservoir supported 32,059 person-hours of recreational swimming, 13,934 person-hours of recreational boating, 6,839 person-hours of canoeing, and 1,195 person-hours of hunting. Rodman Reservoir provided more non-fishing recreational use (62,229 person-hours) than the Ocklawaha River (51,650 person-hours). Florida DEP estimated a loss of 55% of the total recreational use if the Ocklawaha River is restored. Florida GFC concluded the loss of Rodman Reservoir will result in a 63% decrease in recreational use. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 2-40, 3-37, 3-41 & 3-55; (Fl. GFC Recreational Use and Fisheries Report, pages 5,9, & 15)

Rodman Reservoir provides between $6,000,000 and $7,000,000 per year to the economies of Putnam County and Marion County.

Florida DEP estimated the visitors to Rodman Reservoir in 1993 provided $6,206,439 of the direct expenditures to Putnam County and $6,903,499 in direct expenditures to Marion County. Florida DEP also estimated the presence of Rodman Reservoir resulted in the employment of 45 individuals in Putnam County and 57 individuals in Marion County. Florida DEP states the Full Retention Alternative will provide additional positive impacts for the economies of Putnam and Marion counties. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 7-26, 7-30)

Rodman Reservoir, after operational costs, provides at least $18,000,000 in positive economic benefits over the next 20 years and these benefits exceed those of any Oklawaha River restoration alternative by more than 225%.

Based on comparisons of quantifiable benefits and costs, Florida DEP concluded that the Full Retention Alternative and the Status Quo Alternative produce higher quantifiable net economic benefits over the next 20 years than either Full Restoration or Partial Restoration. The difference between economic benefits and costs for Full Retention of Rodman Reservoir was estimated to be $19,943,842 after 10 years and $29,181,578 after 20 years. The difference between economic benefits and costs for maintaining the Status Quo at Rodman Reservoir was estimated to be $18,060,235 after 10 years and $26,438,663 after 20 years. Compared to the Partial Restoration Alternative, the least expensive restoration alternative, the economic benefits of the reservoir exceed those of restoration by 225%. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume1-pages 6-9, 6-10 & 6-16).

Removal of Rodman Reservoir produces negative net economic benefits over the next 20 years ranging from -$3,895,646 to -$18,295,500 depending on the restoration alternative chosen.

Based on opportunity cost analysis, Florida DEP concluded that Partial and Full Restoration of the Ocklawaha River produces negative net economic benefits over the next 20 years. Depending upon how restoration is implemented and how long it takes, Florida DEP estimated Partial Restoration will result in economic losses ranging from -$3,895,646 to -$5,175,972. Economic losses for Full Restoration were estimated to range from -$15,257,983 to-$18,295,500. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 6-12, 6-13, 6-14, 6-15 and 6-16)

A restored Oklawaha River is not a free Oklawaha River. Land management costs will be at least $550,526 per year.

Florida DEP states that one continuous flaw in previous economic analyses of the costs of retaining Rodman Reservoir versus the costs of Restoring the Ocklawaha River is that once the de-construction costs were completed there would be zero costs allocated for maintaining the area as a refuge or recreation area. Florida DEP estimates the annual land management costs for a restored river will be $550,526. Florida DEP estimates the users of a restored river would only be willing to pay $511,672 per year for use of the river. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1 pages 2-20, 2-39)

Users of Rodman Reservoir are willing to pay $985,752 to $1,160,680 for Rodman Reservoir, thus paying for annual operating and maintenance costs.

Florida DEP estimated users of Rodman Reservoir would be willing to pay $985,752 for the Status Quo Alternative and $1,160,680 for Full Retention Alternative. Florida DEP estimated an annual expenditure of $435,480 is needed to continue full lock and dam operations at Rodman Reservoir. Land management costs, which include upkeep and maintenance of the lands and recreational facilities within the Rodman Reservoir complex are estimated at $349,156 for the Status Quo Alternative and $617,487 for the Full Retention Alternative. Total annual costs for maintaining Rodman Reservoir, therefore, range from $784,636(Status Quo) to $1,052,967(Full Retention). DEP, however, acknowledges that some costs are inflated and that costs could be lower depending on how the Rodman Reservoir complex is operated. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 2-28, 2-29, 2-38, 2-39, 5-30, and 5-31)

Removal of Rodman Reservoir has unknown costs and threatens the boundaries of the Cross Florida Greenway.

Florida DEP states the State of Florida is currently obligated to pay back to the counties, which funded the original Cross Florida Shipping Channel and Barge Canal through ad valor taxes, $25,732,580 in non-construction costs. If the Legislature decides to restore the Ocklawaha River, Florida DEP estimated it may take up to two years and cost at least $180,000 to obtain all necessary state and federal permits. The U.S. Congress must also deauthorize Buckman Lock. Restoration costs are estimated to range from $13,926,520 (minimum restoration) to $34,609,920 (full restoration). Because it has long been argued that restoration is needed to restore the natural floodplain functioning of the Ocklawaha River, full restoration will undoubtedly become the alternative demanded by activists once the dam is removed. Florida DEP further acknowledged that there may be unknown court and land purchase costs. There are 17 easements (7,600 acres of flooded easement land) within the Rodman Reservoir taking line. If the courts rule that "inverse condemnation" applies, the State of Florida will have to purchase these lands in order to maintain the present boundaries of the Cross Florida Greenway. (FDEP Socio-economic Study, Volume1-pages 2-18,2-19, 2-46 and 4-9)

Dr. Dan Canfield compiled these "Economic Impacts". He can be reached at: Dr. Daniel E. Canfield Jr., Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32653. Phone (352)392-9617 ext. 246 for more information on these issues or others that may concern you.

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STATISTICS

Eureka Lock and Dam,

Rodman Reservoir,

& Buckman Lock

While attending the pre-drawdown meeting in Palatka we picked up a "fact sheet" prepared by the office of Greenways and Trails that had some interesting stuff in it. There is plenty of published data available on Rodman, but not on the water control structures. We thought our readers might be interested so here is a reprint of the data.

 

Eureka Lock and Dam

Eureka Lock and dam were constructed from 1965 through 1970. The structures are complete but the earthen dam was never closed and the structures have never been operational. The area is currently being leased to Marion County as a road substation.

Rodman Reservoir

Reservoir Size: Rodman Reservoir covers some 9,600 acres, and it is about 15 miles long and up to 2 miles wide near the dam.

How it was Created: A 7,200 foot-long earth fill dam was built across the Ocklawaha River, just west of the Buckman Lock to impound water for the reservoir. A four-gate spillway, built into the dam, controls the water elevation in the reservoir.

Current Water Depth: Water in the reservoir near Rodman Dam is maintained at about 18 feet above mean sea level. Natural terrain slopes upward toward the upstream (Eureka) end of the pool. When maintained at 18 feet above sea level the backwater effect of the reservoir ends about 2 miles downstream of Eureka Lock.

Height of Dam: 22 feet above natural ground elevation, with a base 300 feet wide and a crown 30 feet wide.

Cost of Rodman Dam: $2.9 million. In addition, clearing the reservoir cost $1.4 million. Closure of the final gap in the dam across the Ocklawaha River was made on September 30, 1968.

Reservoir Clearing: The reservoir was only partially cleared. In the area where the 12 foot deep canal was to be dug through the pool, trees were cleared away entirely along a 400 foot wide reach throughout the length of the pool. In other areas, trees were selectively cleared or left standing for fishery habitat. In all, 5,500 acres were totally cleared. The remaining forest was partially cleared or left standing.

H. H.. Buckman Lock

Lock Size: 600 feet long and 84 feet wide, and 14 feet over gates sills. The top edge of the concrete gate sill on the upstream side is 6 feet above sea level. Cost: $5.5 million. In addition, some 7 miles of 12 foot-deep canal on either side of the lock have been completed at a cost of $1.5 million.

Purpose of Lock: To lift boats and barges from the level of the St. Johns River to the level of the Rodman Reservoir, about 18 feet above the mean sea level.

Type Gates: Miter gates, which resemble large barn doors. The gates seal at an angle so that water pressure on the upstream side keeps them sealed.

Weight, Size of Gates: Each leaf of the downstream (easterly) gates is 48 feet wide and 41 feet high and about 4 feet thick. The upstream (westerly) gates are 48 feet wide, 19 1/2 feet high and 4 feet thick. Each leaf in the upstream gates weighs 80,640 pounds, while the leaves in the downstream gates weigh 158,449 pounds each.

Type Lock: Concrete with reinforced steel, constructed on wooden poles driven into the ground to a solid foundation.

Number of Pilings: Some 2,141,000 pilings (wooden poles) were used as a foundation for the lock. If placed end to end the wooden poles would stretch about 40 miles.

Gallons of Water: Some 8,501,170 gallons of water are used in each lockage when the elevation of the reservoir is at 20 feet above sea level.

Transit Time: Normally it takes 15-20 minutes to lock a craft through the lock. This may vary slightly with the number of vessels going through at one time. Closing the gates takes about 2 minutes.

Filling and Emptying: Filling and emptying the lock chamber is by gravity. When filling the lock chamber, large valves are opened on the upstream side to allow water from Rodman Reservoir to flow into the lock chamber, via a 10 foot-square tunnel and 17 ports on either side of the walls. When emptying the lock chamber the water is discharged via the 17 ports, tunnels and downstream valves to the downstream side of the lock chamber.

Water Level Gauges: Water level gauges inside the lock chamber and immediately beyond each end of the lock chamber show depths of water above the bottom.

Construction Time: Construction of the Buckman Lock was started in November 1964. The Lock opened on December 14, 1968.

Construction Method: A 50 foot-deep hole was excavated to the dimensions of the Lock structure and was dewatered, and construction took place in the dry. When the concrete and steel lock chamber had been completed, dirt was pushed up to the sides of the lock and plugs of earth between the excavated sections of the canal were removed to allow water to flow into, and out of the lock, to connect the St. Johns River with Rodman Reservoir.

Safety Features:

1) The Lock Tender can only operate the miter gates from the control house located at each gate to assure proper miter and clearance of vessels and people.

2) Lock operators give special instructions to boat operators as needed during locking operations.

3) Pull-chain installed at each end of lock long wing-wall for use by small boats not equipped with signal devices or for boats too small to be observed by the lock operator or for signaling the lock operator.

4) Floating mooring bits for boats and barges to tie-up to in the lock chamber rise and fall with water level in the lock.

5) Standby generator will provide power for operation of the entire lock even when commercial power fails.

6) Lock gates automatically slow down and stop near the full close and full open positions.

7) Special procedures are followed when manatees (endangered aquatic mammals) are in the Lock or approach areas.

Who Operates the Locks: Operations and maintenance activities at the locks are performed by state employees under the direction of the Office of Greenways and Trails, Department of Environmental Protection.

Date of Opening: December 14, 1968

Location of Lock: Eight miles southwest of Palatka in Putnam County. It is located just off of State Road 19.

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Downdraw History

Rodman Reservoir

Initial Flooding - 1968

Dates MSL Change Comment
1 Aug. 72 to Mar. 73 18' to 13' court- ordered drawdown to save wetland trees: court-ordered return to 18' msl
2 Jan. 75 to Mar. 76 18' to 15' first drawdown to include a surcharge before and after - with surcharge to 20.5'
3 Aug. 79 to Nov. 79 18' to 14' 6 week experimental aquatic plant management drawdown
4 Jan. 80 to Feb. 80 18' to 14' 4 week experimental aquatic plant management drawdown
5 Sept.80 to Mar. 81 18' to 13' 24 week experimental aquatic plant management drawdown
6 Sept. 81 to Feb. 82 18' to 13' 22 week experimental aquatic plant management drawdown
7 Dec. 85 to Mar. 86 18' to 13' extensive fish kill in August 1985 preceded drawdown - with surcharge to 19'
8 Dec. 88 to Mar. 89 18' to 13' extensive fish kill in August - Sept. 1989 preceded drawdown
9 Nov. 91 to Aug. 92 18' to 13' included surcharge to 19'
10 Nov. 95 to Mar. 96 18' to 13' included surcharge to 20'
11 Dec. 98 to April 99 18' to 11' included surcharge to 20'
12 Nov 04 to April 05 18' to 11' included surcharge to 20'
13 Nov 07 to April 08 18' to 11' included surcharge to 20'

Downdraw statistics

for various levels of Rodman Reservoir

 

Elevation

(msl) NGVD

Water Area

(Acres)

Dewater Area

(Acres)

Dewatered

(%)

Water Volume

(Acre ft.)

18 ft. 9,200 0 0 -
17 ft. 8,300 900 9.8 9,000
16 ft. 7,500 1,700 18.5 8,000
15 ft. 6,500 2,700 29.3 7,000
14 ft. 5,750 3,450 37.5 6,000
13 ft. 5,150 4,050 44 6,000
12 ft. 4,600 4,600 50 4,500
11 ft. 4,300 4,900 53.3 -

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Save Rodman Reservoir, Inc.
P. O. Box 2
Palatka, Florida 32178
Phone: (386) 326 1112
Fax: (386) 326 1117


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