rIc n ... ^-- -- r....... ,,,
By MELANIE FRIDL ROSS
Tribune Staff Writer / ,- 2. .
OCALA There will be a lot more
water over Rodman Dam before state Rs
officials decide its future.
Rodman has been at the heart of
months of debate about how planners
will carve a 110-mile cross-state green-
way for recreation and conservation .-
from former barge canal lands. A-w
A 21-member advisory committee
"ended its tenure Thursday without vot- w. : or o
ing whether to keep the dam or re-
store the free flow of the Ocklawaha Kn J
River. t i i
The advisory committee called for
a 3-year study to be conducted by the
St. Johns River Water Management
District under the auspices of its Sur- i
face Water Improvement and Manage- %e.oen
ment (SWIM) program.
John Hankinson, a committee _4.1A
member and planning director for the
water district, said its governing board
has tentatively approved $165,000 for
preliminary research and has identi-
fied a project manager.
Thursday's meeting left some offi-
cials speculating members buckled un-.
der a last-minute wave of political
pressure to postpone the decision.
During a workshop Wednesday, the Tribune photograph by STEPHEN M. DOWELL
group received copies of a report is- The locks of Rodman Dam holds back the Ocklawaha River near
sued by a University of Florida profes- Palatka. A proposal to remove the dam has been delayed.
sor arguing the merits of Rodman Res-
ervoir a study funded in part by the decision calling it "a delay tac- maintaining the weed-choked reser-
$3,000 in contributions from Putnam tic." voir it created.
County citizens and raised with the In 1971, President Nixon halted But many area fishermen and
help of Sen. George Kirkpatrick, D- construction of the barge canal, which some Putnam County officials say the
Gainesville, a longtime advocate of was to have created a shortcut for ves- reservoir is a prime fishing spot re-
the dam. sels traveling between the Gulf of sponsible for a multimillion dollar in-
Many members said they did not Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. dustry.
have enough information to decide At a minimum, the greenway will The management plan, prepared
Rodman's fate. be 300 yards wide; in some places it by a UF planning team, estimated re-
"We felt like that was a compro- will be much more. The park will moving the dam could cost $4.5 mil-
mise considering the argument about stretch from the confluence of the lion to $8.5 million.
information there's been an awful Ocklawaha and St. Johns rivers to the
lot of information that is question- Withlacoochee River. It will provide But even maintaining the status
able," said Fred Ayer, assistant execu- many recreational options includ- quo costs money. A study of locks and
tive director of the Florida Canal Au- ing hiking, biking and horse trails as dams along former barge canal lands
thority and a member of the Canal well as fishing areas while preserv- showed some structures are in deplor-
Lands Advisory Committee. "We want ing environmentally valuable areas, able condition and could cost $10.3
to do the right thing when the time Opponents have called Rodman an million to repair.
comes." elaborate, expensive and ultimately Next, Gov. Lawton Chiles and the
Marjorie Carr, founder of Florida futile exercise in large-scale aquarium Cabinet will review the management
Defenders of the Environment and a management. Ardent environmental- plan and the committee's recommen-
leader in the fight to stop the barge ists say removing the dam would cost dations. The Legislature will vote on a
canal, said she was not surprised by the state less in the long run than final version during the 1993 session.