Categorized | River Stories

Hello Fellow Bass Anglers!

Hello Fellow Bass Anglers!

Author: Paul R. Nosca

Nature blessed the “Real Florida” with some 7000 natural lakes but only about 50 rivers.  And very few of those original streams were swift-flowing “spring rivers” such as the Silver-Ocklawaha.  Man in Florida with his bulldozers plus other heavy equipment has created many still-water artificial canals, lakes, Disney World, and the high rises of Miami Beach.  BUT I can’t seem to think of any man-made rivers that he has constructed ever–except, perhaps, for the Deepwater Horizon oily ugly fiasco!  Florida’s gushing springs and spring-fed rivers are REAL priceless gifts from God.  And they provide excellent habitat for several species of bass and other desirable fish along with their forage-base.

“Ocklawahaman”, this old “basser”, reckons that it is about time to set things a-right again!  The Silver-Ocklawaha, from Silver Springs to the St. Johns, should be restored to 56 stream miles of swift and free-flowing river again. Dams are being removed in many parts of the United States to restore historical spawning runs of striped bass, American shad, catfish, and other migratory fish.  Florida is actively proceeding with the restoration of a free-flowing Kissimmee River and removing the man-made C-38 canal segment structures that have been in place there since 1970.  The C-38 and the Cross Florida Barge Canal, both, would NEVER have been permitted to be constructed from the 1970′s on; because of precious wetland ecosystem damage.

“Ocklawahaman” almost always uses ARTIFICIAL LURES for “bassing” but prefers to “bass” a REAL river rather than a DAM BACKWATER any day!  That’s why I support the Ocklawaha River restoration work of the Putnam County Environmental Council (PCEC).  Future generations of Floridians deserve as much of the natural “Real Florida” to still exist as is in our human wisdom to preserve, protect, and restore.  FREE THE SILVER-OCKLAWAHA RIVER!  Our mission and honorable duty should be to right this “right-able” wrong.

Sincerely,

“Ocklawahaman” Paul Nosca

2 Responses to “Hello Fellow Bass Anglers!”

  1. eaglestrike09 says:

    I am with you on this Paul. We need to restore as many rivers that we can!!!!!

  2. "Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca says:

    Twenty Reasons Why Saving Rodman Reservoir Is The Silver, Ocklawaha And St. Johns Rivers’ Loss!

    SILVER RIVER and MIDDLE OCKLAWAHA RIVER (Silver Springs downstream to Eureka)

    Loss of FISH and WILDLIFE since completion of Rodman Dam:

    1.) Loss of the historic St. Johns River to Silver Springs unimpeded riverine connection for various migratory aquatic, estuary and marine species.

    2.) Loss of endemic STRIPED BASS (Morone saxatilis) normal migration, back and forth, from the St. Johns River which destroyed the ability of “STRIPERS” to successfully reproduce naturally–this was the only suitable spawning area (requires about 50 stream miles of swift current) in the entire St. Johns River Basin. Hatchery raised “stripers” are stocked into the St. Johns River downstream of Rodman Dam ONLY. Very seldom, if at all, are striped bass present anymore in the Ocklawaha River of Marion County upriver from Rodman Dam or Buckman Lock. Striped bass are an important riverine freshwater recreational fish species.

    3.) Loss of CHANNEL CATFISH (Ictalurus punctatus) and WHITE CATFISH (Ameiurus catus) normal migration, back and forth, from the St. Johns River–catfish and mullet formerly were the dominant fish species in Silver Springs but have been replaced by gizzard shad. Catfish are important freshwater commercial and recreational fish species.

    4.) Loss of Striped Mullet (Mugil cephalus) normal migration, back and forth, from the St. Johns River–catfish and mullet formerly were the dominant fish species in Silver Springs but have been replaced by gizzard shad. Mullet help clean water environments by removing detritus and microalgae. Striped mullet are an important catadromous commercial and recreational fish species.

    5.) Loss of AMERICAN EEL (Anguilla rostrata) normal migration, back and forth, from the St. Johns River. American eel are an important catadromous commercial fish species.

    6.) Loss of GIANT RIVER PRAWN (Macrobrachium carcinus) normal migration, back and forth, from the St. Johns River. These extremely large crustaceans require access to brackish water for successful reproduction and were historically extant in Silver Springs but no longer appear to be present there.

    7.) Loss of MANATEE (Trichechus manatus latirostris) normal migration, back and forth, from the St. Johns River. These “gentle giants” navigate rivers for feeding or for entering springs during cold-weather.

    Loss of OTHER RECREATION since completion of Rodman Dam:

    8.) Loss of traditional St. Johns River to Silver Springs unimpeded navigation for recreational boating.

    RODMAN RESERVOIR (Eureka downstream to Rodman Dam)

    Loss of FISH and WILDLIFE since completion of Rodman Dam:

    9.) Loss of 21 river miles of free-flowing riverine ecosystem. Peninsular Florida is blessed with thousands of lakes but very few swift-flowing streams of any length. The pre-Rodman Dam strong-flowing 56-mile long Silver River/Ocklawaha River was unique in this state by virtue of having a 1st Magnitude artesian spring group headwater, with unimpeded access for fish and other aquatic life, located more than 50 miles above tidewater.

    10.) Loss of dissolved oxygen levels in the water causes major fish kills periodically. Among the causes are elevated summer water temperatures in Rodman Pool which are the result of damming a naturally cool, spring-fed stream into a sluggish, sun-baked “backwater”. Higher summertime water temperatures usually mean less dissolved oxygen and more blue-green algae.

    11.) Loss of the ability of Florida LARGEMOUTH BASS (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) in Rodman Pool to feed on the St. Johns River expanded menu of estuary prey species such as shrimp and small crabs or brackish-water/marine fish. Possibly because of this better forage supply, bigger largemouth bass (up to 18-lb 13-oz) have been caught from the St. Johns River since the 1968 creation of Rodman Pool. The heaviest largemouth ever reportedly taken in Rodman was 17-lb 2-oz and ranks near the bottom of the list of the all-time top 25 largemouth bass ever caught in Florida. Rodman Dam–which has strangled the Ocklawaha River for over 40 years and has ended the natural spawning success of our native St. Johns Basin STRIPED BASS–has never produced a World Record or Florida State Record largemouth bass!

    12.) Loss of a continuous wildlife corridor connection for black bear or other large species from the Ocala National Forest north to the Osceola National Forest and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

    Loss of FLOODPLAIN FOREST since completion of Rodman Dam:

    13.) Loss of 7500 acres, already destroyed, of floodplain mixed hardwood/cypress swamp forest–valuable for utilizing nutrients from the river to grow trees and as wildlife habitat/recreational hunting lands.

    14.) Loss of perhaps an additional 3000 acres, slowly “drowning” to death, of floodplain mixed hardwood/cypress swamp forest– valuable for utilizing nutrients from the river to grow trees and as wildlife habitat/recreational hunting lands.

    Loss of MONEY $$$ since completion of Rodman Dam:

    15.) Loss of $$$ for annual dam, lock and spillway maintenance costs of a man manipulated reservoir system whereas a free-flowing river maintains itself naturally.

    16.) Loss of $$$ for annual management costs to control run-away exotic aquatic plant growth. Hydrilla, water hyacinth and water lettuce is thriving where mixed hardwood-cypress forest should be growing!

    Loss of OTHER RECREATION since completion of Rodman Dam:

    17.) Loss of use of some 20 artesian springs (some with “spring runs”) for divers and swimmers.

    18.) Loss of use of summertime recreation areas (river channel and sandbars) for divers and swimmers.

    LOWER OCKLAWAHA RIVER and ST. JOHNS RIVER (Rodman Dam downstream to St. Johns River)

    Loss of WATER/WATER QUALITY since completion of Rodman Dam:

    19.) Loss of a huge amount of the Ocklawaha River Basin’s water discharge into the St. Johns River because of evapotranspiration in Rodman Pool. During some drought “water years” less water in cubic feet per second (CFS) is discharged below Rodman Dam than is recorded as CFS of water entering the reservoir at the USGS gage station 21 miles upriver of Rodman Dam at Eureka!

    20.) Loss of water quality in the Lower Ocklawaha River because of elevated summertime water temperatures below the dam. Summer water temperature usually ranges from 85 to 87 F. Before Rodman Dam, it rarely exceeded 82 F there. Warmer water usually means less dissolved oxygen and more blue-green algae for the Lower Ocklawaha River downstream into the St. Johns River.
    END.

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