Florida Defenders of the Environment (FDE) initiated the beginning of the second phase of a public engagement strategy for defining the future of the Ocklawaha River. The first phase consisted of five Listening Sessions which were conducted during the fall of 2017. The second phase consists of an American Assembly process which began with a Public Information Session tonight, June 28, 2018 in Palatka. Tonight’s public session will be followed tomorrow by a one-day American Assembly with limited participation, focused on producing a policy document guiding future actions and alternatives.
Florida Defenders of the Environment has received a $10,000 grant from the Felburn Foundation to launch the Public Engagement Project, headed up by Terry Clarke.
A recent article in the Gainesville Sun, “Ocklawaha River Future Debated,” explains the long history of Rodman Dam and the accompanying controversy. Although many or all environmental groups encourage the demise of the dam for environmental reasons, Florida Defenders of The Environment, headed by Jim Gross, has been the most active.
It is difficult to find a good reason to retain the blockage on the river, but there are many reasons to free the river as nature intended.
The meeting was well attended, but some were a bit confused, thinking that the future was to be discussed, since the title uses the word “future, ” and the agenda included “Next steps.”
Many water and anti-phosphate mine leaders were seen in the audience, including Karen Chadwick, Kate Ellison, Kate Gallagher, Tracy Marinello, Dr. Paul and Cathy Still, and others.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-