Hurricane Matthew is coming -- How is man's manipulation of Nature's rainfall working for us?
Oct 6, 2016 — With the coming of HURRICANE MATTHEW -- How is man's manipulation of Nature's rainfall working for us?
Remember the catastrophic flooding in the South and the Midwest of these last couple of years or so and then think of how many of these watersheds and their historic natural floodplains have been altered by man with dams and other water control structures so that Nature's rainfall can be MANIPULATED for building construction, hydroelectric power, irrigation, potable water, and navigation. And are at least some of these circumstances and purposes no longer necessary enough to be worth the costs of flood-damaged human lives and property and destroyed natural ecosystems? Are algal blooms and fish kills part of the price for man's water management of Nature's blessed freshwater rainfall?
Let's examine the manipulation of Rodman Dam spillway during the last really extreme rainfall event in the Ocklawaha River valley back during the hurricanes of August and September 2004.
The MIDDLE Ocklawaha River Fish Kill of 2004:
The September 2004 fish kill in the middle Ocklawaha River (20-30 river miles upstream [south] of Rodman Dam) between Eureka and Gores Landing resulted in the suffocation deaths of up to a thousand sizeable largemouth bass due to low levels of dissolved oxygen. About 300 dead bass were counted just around the Eureka boat ramp. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2004-09-16/sports/0409160136_1_ocklawaha-river-fish-kills-rodman-reservoir
This fish kill, which seems to be the only one ever reported from this free-flowing segment of the Ocklawaha that involved native game fish species, was apparently caused by a combination of natural and man-made factors.
Hurricanes "Charley", "Frances", and "Jeanne" blew through central Florida within 2 months of each other causing high water levels not seen since "Cleo" in 1964. Eureka and Rodman dams were not constructed till after 1967 so they were not in place during earlier hurricanes to constrict and slow-down the Ocklawaha's surging floodwaters, as they would in 2004. The natural floodplain at Eureka Dam is 3/4-mile (3960 feet) wide while 21 miles downriver at Rodman Dam the natural floodplain is over 1-mile (5280 feet) wide. Along comes September 2004 with a raging, swollen Ocklawaha forced by man to flow "strangled" to the St. Johns through the much smaller gaps of 400 feet along the west side of the never completed Eureka Dam and then only 160 feet wide at Rodman Dam Spillway though four 40-foot wide gates.
The managers of Rodman's spillway, probably in an effort to save newer public-use recreational structures at the Rodman tailrace that were built somewhat below 10-foot elevation, apparently never allowed the lower Ocklawaha River to fully inundate the historic floodplain in that area -- created by Mother Nature during 17,000 years of the river's existence -- which naturally extends up to 10 feet above sea level. The management officials -- by manipulating the spillway -- only allowed the river's crest below Rodman Dam to reach a maximum of about 8.21 feet. According to United States Geological Survey (USGS) data, high water events during the years of 1950, 1959, 1960, 1964, 1970, 1979, and 1982 had all flooded that part of the valley to beyond 9-foot elevation above sea level.
The USGS Eureka stream-flow gage, some 21 miles upstream of Rodman Dam, recorded a maximum river elevation of 25.61 feet while the upper extent of the natural floodplain there is quite a bit less than 25 feet above sea level (the "taking line" for Rodman Reservoir there is 23 feet) . 18 miles above Eureka, the USGS Conner stream-flow gage recorded a maximum river elevation of 40.22 feet while the natural floodplain there is less than 40 feet above sea level. Water was backed-up un-naturally from Eureka upstream in the middle Ocklawaha River and inundated normally dry ground areas for many days. Add many cloudy days to this mix, lots of oxidizing dead terrestrial organic material, plus the highest water temperatures of the year along with the instinct of largemouth bass to cruise any new shoreline for non-aquatic prey and the conditions were ripe for the fish kill that occurred.
Hopefully Florida's managers of the Rodman (Kirkpatrick) Dam's floodgates today have learned the lesson of the 2004 hurricanes -- let the Ocklawaha River's water flow onto the St. Johns as Mother Nature had intended and don't back it up flooding uplands above the natural floodplain!
OCKLAWAHA RIVER ELEVATION ABOVE SEA LEVEL
The River's elevation above sea level at different sites in the Ocklawaha Basin can be determined by exploring online the USGS Florida "Real-time Streamflow" gages. The 6 gages (and their Datum) that I normally monitor for river level data:
USGS 02238500 Ocklawaha River at Moss Bluff, FL (Datum = 0.0 feet);
USGS 02239500 Silver Springs near Ocala, FL (Datum = 38.6 feet);
USGS 02240000 Ocklawaha River near Conner, FL (Datum = 31.79 feet);
USGS 02240500 Ocklawaha River at Eureka, FL (Datum = 0.0 feet);
USGS 02243959 Ocklawaha R above Rodman Dam near Orange Springs, FL (Datum = 0.0 feet);
USGS 02243960 Ocklawaha R at Rodman Dam near Orange Springs, FL (Datum = 0.0 feet).
The simple formula is Gage Height + Datum = Elevation in feet above mean sea level.
Example 1: If the Conner Gage Height is listed at 3.71 feet then add 3.71 to the Conner Datum of 31.79 feet = river elevation at Conner gage of 35.5 feet above sea level.
Example 2: If the Eureka Gage Height is listed at 19.55 feet then add 19.55 to the Eureka Datum of 0.0 feet = river elevation at Eureka gage of 19.55 feet above sea level.
THE PHOTO: An Ocklawaha River largemouth bass 23.5 inches in total length, 16 inches in girth, 6 pounds 12 ounces in weight; caught on a spinnerbait by me from my man-powered canoe Tuesday 10/4/16 at 1155 hrs EDT (moon rise was 1024 hrs EDT). This bass was released after measurements and photos were completed -- as are almost all of the 17-inch and over largemouth bass that I catch. I worked very closely with the FWC to create the new (since 7/1/16) black bass daily bag and size limit regulations. Note the clear river water had a temperature of 76 degrees F (striped bass "friendly"). No rhesus macaque monkeys were observed during my 10/4/16 expedition but I did see about 20 of them on Monday 10/3/16 -- it's a jungle out there! And yes, I still have my old faithful G.I. bandana made out of an Army-issue olive drab (O.D.) triangular muslin bandage. Some of my field gear is from the 1970's and 1980's. I admire equipment that never fails!
"Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca's bass fishing began in Florida more than 50 years ago (1965)!
"Let us leave no bit of useful information uncollected, unstudied, or unused in our shared work for the restoration to free-flowing again of Florida's 56-mile Silver and Ocklawaha River system" - "Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca.
The SJRWMD "Technical Publication SJ2016-1" by John Hendrickson contains the data -- about DISSOLVED SILICA, NITROGEN, and PHOSPHORUS (and their combined effects on possible [downstream] St. Johns River harmful algal blooms) -- best supporting that the restoration of the Ocklawaha River will be beneficial for the entire St. Johns River basin.
FOLKS, we are continuing to add more FOR-FREE $$$ signatures supporting the "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" (https://www.change.org/p/st-johns-river-water-management-district-free-the-ocklawaha-river-by-the-breaching-of-rodman-dam) online petition.
This is possibly the most important petition in the history of the Ocklawaha River issue since those that were sent to President Lyndon Johnson and later President Richard Nixon asking that the Cross Florida Barge Canal (CFBC) be stopped. Remember that it was the Republican President Nixon (1/19/1971) that halted the CFBC.
"Lest we forget" all that has been accomplished for Ocklawaha River restoration and the breaching of Rodman Dam by the various non-governmental watchdog "bureaucracies" since 1971. Has it amounted to "a spit in the river?" "Ocklawahaman" is willing to believe that you might have a sincere opinion about that question. "Ocklawahaman" is of the honest opinion that you should consider the following while you still can: PLEASE SIGN -- FOR-FREE $$$ -- THIS PETITION!
It currently has 2,049 supporters as of 1600 hrs EST 2/23/17. At some point beyond the 2,000 signature baseline "Ocklawahaman" shall contact SJRWMD to arrange for a hearing(s) with certain staff and/or management where "Ocklawahaman" and Captain Erika Ritter will do their best to represent the will of this petition's signatories -- who "do hereby respectfully petition the SJRWMD and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL DEP) to earnestly begin, move forward with, and finally carry out the process of restoring to free-and-swift-flowing-again the Ocklawaha River -- 'Source to the Sea' -- from its Silver Springs supreme headwaters to its St. Johns River estuary. This restoration process would require the breaching of the earthen Kirkpatrick (Rodman) Dam at the location where the historic Ocklawaha River channel flowed through it prior to September 30, 1968."
It may be the MOST IMPORTANT THING that YOU can do (or have ever done) to assist SJRWMD and FL DEP to determine that the best interests of the greater St. Johns River basin are enhanced by the restoration of a free-and-swift flowing-again "Source to the Sea" 56-mainstream-mile "Real-Florida-By-God" Silver Springs-Silver River-Ocklawaha River system. Where else can you get "this much bang for the $$$ buck?"
"Ocklawahaman" NEEDS YOUR FOR-FREE $$$ HELP!
This "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" online petition is being actively promoted by "Ocklawahaman" via private email and on "Change.org", "Facebook", "Linkedin", "Naymz", "Poll-Maker.com", "Sites.Google.com", "Twitter", "Youtube", and "Vimeo" social media. "Ocklawahaman" thanks all of those social media sites for their help with this honorable endeavor to restore a free-flowing-again "Source to the Sea" Silver Springs-Silver River-Ocklawaha River system.
Show your support for the free migration -- St. Johns River to Silver Springs -- of the Florida manatee, channel catfish, and Atlantic-race STRIPED BASS. Note that the native Atlantic-race STRIPED BASS lost its only suitable spawning habitat of the entire St. Johns River basin (and the most southern in the U.S.) when Rodman (Kirkpatrick) Dam was closed across the Ocklawaha River on September 30, 1968.
Riverine LARGEMOUTH BASS have been native to the Ocklawaha River for thousands of years -- they don't need Rodman Dam or Rodman Reservoir for their survival!
Thank you to all that have already signed this petition FOR-FREE $$$ https://www.change.org/p/st-johns-river-water-management-district-free-the-ocklawaha-river-by-the-breaching-of-rodman-dam and desire a free-and-swift-flowing-again "Source to the Sea" 56-mainstream-mile "Real-Florida-By-God" Silver Springs-Silver River-Ocklawaha River system!
Currently (as of 1600 hrs EST 2/23/17) there are 2,049 public signatures supporting the breaching of Rodman Dam. What does this number represent? "Ocklawahaman" reckons it means that 2,049 INDIVIDUALS so far have been willing to BOLDLY and PUBLICLY add their name (sort-of like "John Hancock" did in 1776) FOR-FREE $$$ -- following their own sincere whims, wishes, wants, or purposes (whatever) -- to this outdoorsman-single-citizen-created "Declaration of Independence from Rodman Dam" proclamation that is officially known to SJRWMD and FL DEP as the "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" online petition.
Read this 7/11/16 email from SJRWMD's contact person to "Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca:
"Paul, So long as everyone is aware that we are housing the petitions, and so long as everyone knows we will not be sending receipts to petitioners, I think we are fine. You will always have an open dialogue available with me, and I may even recommend you come to our board meeting tomorrow to tell our board that you have over 1,000 signatures; which is an impressive feat!"
When "Ocklawahaman" meets in the future with staff and/or management of the SJRWMD in Palatka wouldn't it be impressive to have many more than 2,000 such "votes" of individual citizens supporting restoration that "Ocklawahaman" represents? Encourage others and spouses and/or significant others to support this grassroots petition! ONE problem that "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" has now is that an individual person signs it BUT THEIR SPOUSE OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER DOES NOT! So instead of TWO signatures the petition only gets ONE! Remember that in the "Rough and Tumble" of politics, TWO (or THREE) "votes" beats ONE! Both "Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca and Captain Erika Ritter have signed FOR-FREE $$$ this petition. Are WE (including YOU) serious about getting Ocklawaha restoration started in earnest? Or are WE (including YOU) just talking TRASH?
IMPORTANT NOTE: "Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca is a private retired citizen (a member of NO environmental organization) and does not seek $$$ and does not accept any $$$ contributions for the administration and promotion of his individually-created petition! The State of Florida and the United States governments that own almost all of the Ocklawaha River's water and its submerged and corridor lands collect taxes from MOST all of us. Lets FOR-FREE $$$ encourage Florida and the U.S.A. to wisely follow the principals of ecology and FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM!
Sign the petition FOR-FREE $$$! And keep in mind that the last available online data -- that "Ocklawahaman" has been able to uncover -- about the Save Rodman Reservoir, Inc. not-for-profit group shows that they have about 1,700 contributing $$$ members! Are we serious about getting Ocklawaha restoration started in earnest? Or are we just talking TRASH?
Please be aware that many active public employees of the Federal and/or State of Florida governments who agree with this "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" petition will be very reluctant to sign it publicly because of social media policies that may apply to them -- they have their careers, retirements, and families to consider! "Ocklawahaman" understands their situation because "Ocklawahaman" himself was a dedicated, loyal, and patriotic U.S. and Florida governmental employee before retirement. For these government employees that aren't allowed to sign the petition publicly, "Ocklawahaman" has created a SECRET VOTE "Do You Favor the Breaching of Rodman Dam to Restore a Free-Flowing Ocklawaha River?" online poll at http://www.poll-maker.com/poll790342x4Bd4496B-32. As of 1600 hrs EST on 2/23/17 the results of this SECRET VOTE online poll are 203 "Yes" for breaching Rodman Dam and only 19 "No" (against breaching Rodman Dam).
"Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca, who strives for accuracy and honesty, worships zealously a more natural Ocklawaha River valley that includes the restoration of the 56 mainstream river miles from Silver Springs to the St. Johns as a free-and-swift-flowing stream again. A private, retired citizen and U.S. Army veteran, he is a member of NO environmental organization but volunteers his Ocklawaha River experience, observations, research, and sources to individuals or groups that share his zeal for this old "crooked river." "Ocklawahaman" has canoed, explored, fished, hiked, and lawfully hunted the Florida outdoors since 1962 (and still does). UNLIKE ALMOST EVERYBODY ELSE INVOLVED WITH THIS ISSUE, more of his life's outdoor time has actually been spent in the Ocklawaha River basin (canoeing its waters and swamp-stomping or hammock-humping its jungle-like swamps and hammocks) than anywhere else. And "Ocklawahaman" has actively advocated for Ocklawaha River restoration since 2006.
ALL PROBABLY SHOULD KNOW THE FOLLOWING FACT: "Ocklawahaman" already has bass-fishing, canoeing, hunting, and exploration access to the best, coolest-watered, and most natural remaining part of the Ocklawaha River and its splendidly-forested wilderness corridor (i.e., the middle Ocklawaha River from the Silver River inflow/SR-40 Bridge to the Eureka/CR-316 Bridge). Along with Captain Erika Ritter, "Ocklawahaman" owns property at Eureka that borders the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway and the Ocklawaha. "Ocklawahaman" can request the FWC to stock more striped bass and channel catfish into those 18 river miles. And "Ocklawahaman" can go back to being happily retired! But for now until somewhat more than 2,000 supporting signatures have been obtained, "Ocklawahaman" is going to try to do a selfless thing as JOB #ONE -- promote and administrate this "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" online petition so that WE, while daring greatly for a worthy cause, can finally make a difference!
This "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" online petition is being actively promoted by "Ocklawahaman" via private email and on "Change.org", "Facebook", "Linkedin", "Naymz", "Poll-Maker.com", "Sites.Google.com", "Twitter", "Youtube", and "Vimeo" social media. "Ocklawahaman" thanks all of those social media sites for their help with this honorable endeavor to restore a free-flowing-again "Source to the Sea" Silver Springs-Silver River- Ocklawaha River system.
During the first half of 2017, "Ocklawahaman" will be hoping to negotiate his best possible hearing(s) with staff and/or management of the SJRWMD -- the more public signatures that he represents, the louder shall be the "voice" of "Ocklawahaman" for breaching Rodman Dam! Captain Erika Ritter was once told by a high-ranking official of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease!" Help "Ocklawahaman" if possible FOR-FREE -- sign the petition (if you haven't already) which currently (as of 1600 hrs EST 2/23/17) has 2,049 signatures.
Thank you very much to all of you for your time reading this webpage and for any positive consideration that you might have towards signing the "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" petition and/or encouraging others to do so!
And know that I am in favor of a free-and-swift-flowing-again "Source to the Sea" 56-mainstream-mile "Real-Florida-By-God" Silver Springs-Silver River-Ocklawaha River system! How about YOU?
"Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca.
THE SONG "Ocklawaha, Set Her Free" videos at:
"There are lake fishermen, and there are river fishermen, and seldom do the twain agree!" - The original author’s name is unknown to me.
PETITION SIGNERS, again, YOU may also want to email SJRWMD & FL DEP directly!
The "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" online petition at https://www.change.org/p/st-johns-river-water-management-district-free-the-ocklawaha-river-by-the-breaching-of-rodman-dam now has more than 2,000 SIGNATURES of individual folks that are in favor of a free-and-swift-flowing-again "Source to the Sea" Silver Springs-Silver River-Ocklawaha River 56-mainstream-mile system by breaching Rodman (Kirkpatrick) Dam.
Again, YOU may also want to email your comments -- after your FOR-FREE $$$ SIGNATURE has been added to this petition -- to SJRWMD & FL DEP directly!
You then should eventually (if not right away) get a reply email to your own email address from SJRWMD & FL DEP -- logging in your name AND COMMENT as a FLORIDA PUBLIC RECORD.
My Mom's ONE email to all 3 SJRWMD & FL DEP addresses can serve as an example for you -- IMPORTANT, PLEASE INSERT YOUR OWN NAME AND YOUR OWN COMMENT though!
Hello SJRWMD and FL DEP:
Regarding the "FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER BY THE BREACHING OF RODMAN DAM" petition at:
I have signed the petition.
I stand with my late friend Gwen Parramore Ritter (Capt. Erika's Mom) and my son Paul.
FREE THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER!
Jennie Nosca, Saint Petersburg, FL
I realize that signing this petition FOR-FREE $$$ is causing you some use of your time and possibly some extra unwanted emails in your in-box.
And I also realize that I may be testing the patience -- with my seemingly endless "guest" postings advertising this petition -- of many good folks that administrate a "Facebook" page for a well-intentioned group.
I hope that you believe as I do that this effort is for a worthy cause -- A free-and-swift-flowing-again "Source to the Sea" (from its Silver Springs supreme headwaters to its St. Johns River estuary) 56-mainstream-mile "Real-Florida-By-God" Silver Springs-Silver River-Ocklawaha River system.
For the free migration of Florida-native (for thousands of years): manatees, striped bass, American eels, American shad, channel catfish, riverine LARGEMOUTH BASS, black bears, Florida panther, etc.
"Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca