Ocala Star-Banner Sunday, January W9, 1995
River restoration raises
'Bottom line' depends que tions
on who figures the cost
By Lucy Beebe
OCALA Taxpayers in Marion and Putnam counties are Smith plans to introduce a bill to retain Rodman Reservoir.
either going to feel a wallop to their wallets when the The Legislature meets from March 7 through May 5.
Ocklawaha River is restored at Rodman Reservoir or just be Marion and Putnam taxpayers may feel the impact of any
minus some small change. future river and reservoir resolution. The reason the project
Dollar signs go up and down, depending on who is talking and comes under the St. Johns River Water Management District,
how much restoration would be done. with ad valorum taxing powers in part of Marion County and
"The bottom line is, if you take a $6 million partial-restora- all of Putnam County.
tion figure over five years, a person with a $75,000 home would But a tax increase might not come to pass.
have an increase in their ad valorum taxes of 60 cents a year," "There are a lot of ways to fund it," said April Harrie, DEP
said Gary Appelson, Ocklawaha coordinator for Florida De- spokeswoman in Tallahassee. "They include federal dollars
fenders of the Environment in Gainesville. and doing it in increments, and obviously the Legislature can
"A taxpayer with a $50,000 house would pay 29 cents a year do what it wantS." :
for five years," said Appelson. "Of course, we could go even alj rat...on includes breaching Rodman Dan for
lower if we spread the costs over 10 years. The amount of mon- i bO.e. t1ei bf -the old river bei restoring 16 miks of
ey to restore the river is miniscule unless you are talking to ri overflow over a period of years, draining Rodman Reservoir,
Senator George Kirkpatrick." and leaving existing locks in place.
Kirkpatrick, D-Gainesville, an avowed supporter of retain- "Our position is we are not going to do anything now,"said
ing Rodman Reservoir, predicts significantly greater costs for Dick Galantowicz, policy analyst with St. John's Divisin of
river restoration. Policy and Planning in
"We are talking about over $100 million for restoration," Palatka. "We are going to sit
said Kirkpatrick at a recent legislative delegation meeting in and wait until the Legislative
Ocala. "And that is before we go in and buy the land that the session ends; there are too
canal authority has had the right to lease." many variables out there."
After the completion of $900,000 worth of studies authorized "They could open up the
by the Legislature for different river restoration and reservoir flood gates right now, and the
retention options, the Department of Environmental Protec- first six miles of the river
tion on Jan. 17 came out in favor of partial restoration, would be restored at no cost "
An economic study delivered a wide range of possible costs. said Appelson. "It would get
Partial restoration bringing back 16 miles of river, draining the process started."
Rodman and leaving all lock structures in place has a cost Barring passage of
estimate range of $6 to $19 million. Full restoration ranges Legislative policy to the
from $8 to $29 million, contrary, DEP officials plan
By contract, retention of Rodman Reservoir runs from $8 to to proceed with obtaining
$21 million over 10 years. river restoration permits
Both Kirkpatrick and Rep. Kelley Smith, D-Palatka, took starting with the state's new
the highest partial restoration number and multiplied, fiscal year on July 1.
"Rodman is a very expensive fishing hole," said Smith at the
Legislative delegation meeting. "But the estimates are it will
cost $30 to $35 million to restore. I think you can multiply it by
three because that is what most restoration projects take."
..... .... ........... Reservoir boundaries:
6i APE Much of this will dry up,
leaving the river the
-- T width of its old course.
So:c: ,iom a C g ae Old river course
!ORANGE - -
ureka.... -_-7h Z.
aRIN reservR.oiman, te oir, b eict ou y 4
.What people are saying Historil tme lne
In favor of retaining Rodman: Ei tarotect 1935 Construction begins on Florida Ship Canalha
mn ti .from Yankeetown to Palatka.
"There are a lot of people who would like to 193 ork stopped.e
see Florida the way it used to be it ain't ource Environmental Consulting and Technoy nc Christopher SmithStar-Banner
Whagoing to happen." arSen. Charles Williams, Historical time line
D-Tallahassee instead of ships.
S"If we want to drain that reservoir and plant 1962 anal work starts ain
trees and farm that land, we wouldn't be able to a 1968 Dam completed, work begins on Rodman
Kirkpatrick, D-Gainesville m 1971 Work stopped by federal court injunction.
"If any bird lovers went out to the reservoir, i 1990 Former President George Bush signs
they would be amazed." Rep. Kelley Smith, Federal deauthorization of Cross Florida Barge
r eo 1991 Governor and Cabinet accept terms of
In favor of river restoration: federal legislation.
S"If you want to see birds, go find the garbage 1992 Former barge canal lands become Cross
Florida Greenbelt, later named Cross Florida
dump. Birds are not the whole ecosystem; Greenway. Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Cabinet
Rodman Reservoir is clearly a mistaken public recommend restoration of Ocklawaha River,
investment." Charles Lee, Florida Audubon immediate drawdown of Rodman.
"I know Putnam County will lose its fishing U 1993 Florida Legislature authorizes $900,000
hole, but this is am vironme tal mistake the study of various scenerios for Ocklawaha River and
hole but ths s an environmental mistake the Rodman Reservoir. The Canal Authority becomes
Marge Bielling, Lake Kerr resident.of Greenways and Tr
spokeswoman in Tallahassee. in the Legislature toretain Rodman.