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Manatees Of The Ocklawaha River, Florida

Manatees Of The Ocklawaha River, Florida

Author:  “Ocklawahaman” Paul Nosca with photos by Captain Erika Ritter….

Captain Erika Ritter and I had the rare opportunity to observe as many as 5 West Indian manatees at a time in the Middle Ocklawaha River near Eureka, Florida during the last couple of weeks of May 2011. They also were seen up to 25 miles upstream at Silver Springs and Silver River.

One of them was “Bertram” number 47 who has an interesting life history which you should be able to find more about by searching online.

“Bertram” is about 20 years old and has been taken out of the St. Johns River Basin at least twice for “rehab” at Sea World near Orlando. He has a twin named “Bartram”.

OCKLAWAHA RIVER WEST INDIAN MANATEE (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
I saw a group of 5 manatees (including #47 “Bertram”) in the Ocklawaha River near Eureka on 4-23-11, plus others since then. Manatees have to enter Rodman Pool via the CFBC thru Buckman Lock.

Hope that you enjoy the photos!












One Response to “Manatees Of The Ocklawaha River, Florida”

  1. "Ocklawahaman" Paul Nosca says:

    To make the “Manatees Of The Ocklawaha River, Florida” article more accurate…

    Captain Erika Ritter and I had the rare opportunity to observe as many as 5 West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) at a time in the middle Ocklawaha River near Eureka during the last couple weeks of APRIL 2011(in haste, I had written “May” 2011 in the original article to RiverBassin). The Eureka area is about 33 river miles upstream on the Ocklawaha from the St. Johns River. These manatees were also reportedly seen up to 23 miles (not “25″–another quickie error of mine, for which I apologize) further upriver at Silver Springs and the Silver River. For the past several years now, occasional manatee sightings have been reported on the middle Ocklawaha and Silver River.

    In order for them to migrate upstream on the Ocklawaha, manatees have to enter Rodman Reservoir via the Cross Florida Barge Canal through the Henry H. Buckman Lock which reopened for navigational passage in 2003. Office of Greenways and Trails (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) lock tender employees at Buckman reportedly record both “in” and “out” the amount of migrating manatee individuals during the year.

    A noted Pulitzer prize winning newspaperman and outdoors writer has been quoted as having written once that “The tiny trickle of the old Oklawaha would have barely covered the backs of some of the 13-foot, 3000 pound manatees.” This author, who sadly passed away in 2009, was a supporter of retaining Rodman Dam and Reservoir.

    “Ocklawahaman” Paul Nosca


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