News and Announcements

Ocklawaha among 10 Most Endangered Rivers

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Monday, April 20th, 2020 @ 8:37pm

  • From Florida Springs Council

    American Rivers named the Ocklawaha River among America’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers.

    The Ocklawaha was unnecessarily devastated in 1968, when Rodman Dam was built for a canal that, thankfully, was never completed. It still waits to be restored. 

    Here at the Florida Springs Council we look forward to the day, and we feel certain that that day 
    will come, when the river runs free, the drowned springs shine blue, and manatees, fish, and other wildlife can once again travel freely on their natural paths. 

    The announcement that this river is on the list of "Top 10 most endangered rivers" may not seem like something to celebrate, but it finally brings national attention to a wrong that has waited over 50 years to be made right. Now it's up to the people of Florida to make it clear that freeing the Ocklawaha needs to happen now.

    Join us in supporting the breaching of Rodman Dam to restore life back to the
     Ocklawaha River. The best way to do that is to visit now and sign up while you're there for email alerts so that you can become a part of this growing movement. 

Action Alert from FWF

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Thursday, March 12th, 2020 @ 8:37am

  • M-CORES Hearings - Toll Roads

    The Legislature has directed that three new massive toll roads be built in what remains of the rural areas of the Florida Peninsula. These unnecessary roads were not requested by state transportation experts and will obliterate natural areas, spread unsustainable sprawl and end small town life. 

    Make your voice heard at the following events:

    March 12 - Monticello

    March 26 - Chiefland

    March 26 - Sebring

    May 5 - Wildwood

    May 7 - Ocala

    June 4 - Lecanto

    June 4 - Moore Haven

    June 11 - Trenton

    June 25 - North Fort Myers

    View the full M-CORES calendar of events.

Action Alert from Florida Wildlife Federation

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Monday, November 25th, 2019 @ 1:50pm


    The 2020 Legislative Session Starts in January. Now is the Time to Get Involved.

    Tell our elected leaders not to waste money on three unneeded massive toll roads proposed to be built through the last remaining rural parts of the Florida Peninsula. These toll roads will bring sprawl and further degrade water quality and habitats.


    Senate President Bill Galvano, 850 487-5021, 

    Senate President-Elect Wilton Simpson, 850 487-5010,

    House Speaker Jose Oliva, 850 717-5110,

    House Speaker-Elect Chris Sprowls, 850 717-5065,

    Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, 850 487-5833,

Help us celebrate on April 7

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Thursday, March 28th, 2019 @ 8:19am

  • Join us to honor and celebrate the life and work of Roy Robert "Robin" Lewis, III.
       Robin was a PCEC officer, board member, and Ocklawaha Committee Chairman for many years and he will be greatly missed, but April 7, 2019, 2-5 PM, we will celebrate his work, his friendship, and his dedication to restoring the Ocklawaha River. 
       This will be a casual affair in the air-conditioned recreation hall at Gold Head Branch State Park with no formal program. Refreshments will be served. Come and go as you wish and bring your family and friends.
       This celebration was organized by Cynthia Sapp, Robin's fiance. 

PCEC member publishes guide to Wildflowers of the Water Works EEC

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 @ 2:43pm

  • Sandra Kokernoot, a founder of PCEC and the Water Works Committee, has published Wildflowers of the Water Works Environmental Education Center with assistance from Carol MacDonald, member of PCEC and active volunteer at the Water Works EEC.  Click on this link to view or download the publication and view a wealth of information about the Water Works EEC:  Become a volunteer at this valuable community asset.

Thursday, April 19 - Riverkeeper to speak

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Monday, April 16th, 2018 @ 1:52pm

  • Please join us at PCEC's next meeting.

    Date: April 19, Thursday, 6:00 pm

    Location: Edgar Johnson Senior Center, 1215 Westover Dr., Palatka, FL 32177.

    Help us welcome 
    Kelly Patton, St. John's Riverkeeper's new Outreach Director.  She will give a special presentation Harmful Algal Blooms 101: River Friendly Living.

    The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

You're invited Thursday, March 15

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 @ 9:03pm

  • 5:30 PM Thursday March 15, 2018
    Monica Ross of Sea to Shore Alliance will give a presentation on the
    “Winter Manatee Count in the St. John’s, Ocklawaha and Silver Rivers”Edgar Johnson Senior Center, 1215 Westover Dr., Palatka, FL 32177.  The public is invited.

Economic study confirms advantage of restoration

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 @ 8:55am

  • An Economic Evaluation of Ocklawaha/Silver River Restoration: 

    University of Florida Study Finds Free-Flowing Ocklawaha River Nearly Doubles Economic Opportunity

    To view the full UF report, click here.

FDE, Kaster, and Little suing USFS to restore Ocklawaha

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Thursday, October 5th, 2017 @ 4:16pm

  • GAINESVILLE – Florida Defenders of the Environment, Bruce Kaster and Joe Little are suing the United States Forest Service to obtain an order to breach the Rodman Dam and restore the free-flowing Ocklawaha River. This action was stimulated by the Forest Service’s perfunctory denial of a Petition for Rulemaking filed by FDE members Bruce Kaster and Joe Little earlier this year. The underlying Petition sought to enforce the terms of Rodman Dam’s Special Use Permit that has long since expired.

    Contact: Jim Gross, 352.278.7150 
    Jane West, 904.471.0505
    Location: Civic Media Center
    433 South Main St.
    Gainesville, FL 32601
    Date: October 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.


    GAINESVILLE – Florida Defenders of the Environment, Bruce Kaster and Joe Little are suing the United States Forest Service to obtain an order to breach the Rodman Dam and restore the free-flowing Ocklawaha River. This action was stimulated by the Forest Service’s perfunctory denial of a Petition for Rulemaking filed by FDE members Bruce Kaster and Joe Little earlier this year. The underlying Petition sought to enforce the terms of Rodman Dam’s Special Use Permit that has long since expired.
    The lawsuit alleges that the agency has failed to manage their lands, specifically the Ocala National Forest, in a manner that furthers the conditions, goals and objectives listed in the Florida Plan for National Forests in Florida by allowing the continued, unpermitted use of Rodman Dam. The suit is being filed in federal court by the law firm of Jane West Law, an environmental and land use law litigation firm based in St. Augustine, on behalf of Florida Defenders of the Environment, Bruce Kaster and Joe Little.

    The Special Use Permit that authorizes Rodman Dam (the Kirkpatrick Dam) was issued on January 21, 1994 and expired in 1998 but was twice extended to allow the State of Florida sufficient time to apply for a new occupancy permit that would properly describe their management intentions and provide environmental analysis to support the permit. FDEP refused to adhere to the proposed schedule and eventually, the US Forest Service directed FDEP to renew the permit in 2010 in order to allow for coordinated maintenance of the federal lands that are being occupied by the State. The Order went unheeded and to this day, no permit exists authorizing the continued occupation of federal land.

    FDE Board member, Bruce Kaster, was one of the underlying petitioners and the decision to move forward with federal action was deemed necessary. “We regret that we have been left no alternative but to proceed with this lawsuit to force the US Forest Service to restore the Ocklawaha River. However, after waiting patiently for over a decade for the forest service to move forward on restoration of the river our patience has run out. We are aware that the US Forest Service committed to restore the river over 10 years ago and has recently reconfirmed that commitment, but no serious progress has been made to make good on their commitment. In consideration of the history of the Cross Florida Barge Canal being halted by President Nixon in 1971 and deauthorized by a bill sponsored by Lawton Chiles and Buddy MacKay in Congress in 1983, there is no excuse for further delay in restoring this unique beautiful river. We are committed to ensure that there is no adverse financial impact on Putnam county as a result of the restoration of the river. To the contrary our analysis shows that river access will actually result in increased revenue to the local community.”

    Filing the underlying rulemaking petition was deemed necessary to move forward in a timely manner to ensure compliance with the National Forest Management Act. “What has developed over the decades with Rodman is a culture of inaction. Enough is enough. The permit expired. The terms are clear – when the permit expires the State was required to remove the structures and improvements authorized by the permit to allow for partial restoration of the Ocklawaha River.” declared Jane West.

    Copies of the Complaint will be provided at the press conference.


Posted by PCECwebmaster, Saturday, September 30th, 2017 @ 6:54pm

  • On August 19 PCEC board member Karen Chadwick visited the Kenwood boat ramp on the north side of the Rodman Reservoir off County Road 315. This popular spot, with a two-lane boat ramp and picnic facilities, is the site of frequent fishing tournaments. However, access to the reservoir had been almost completely blocked due to water lettuce. During temporary drawdowns of the Rodman Reservoir the natural flow of the Ocklawaha River typically keeps these blockages from occurring, but during “normal” reservoir levels water lettuce grows prolifically in the stagnant or slow-moving water. This creates a hindrance and inconvenience to fisherman and blocks access to Putnam Lock. And on August 19, Karen saw that the state’s solution to this problem was a heavy application of chemical spray.  To read more go to Fall 2017 Green Gazette.

Join us 3/29/17 5:30 PM

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Monday, March 13th, 2017 @ 2:19pm

  • Troubled Waters
    Screening and Panel Discussion

    Wednesday, March 29, 5:30 PM
    Beef O'Brady's in Palatka, Florida

    This event will be hosted by St. Johns RiverkeeperPutnam County Environmental Council and Bartram Trail in Putnam County. The documentary video, Troubled Waters, was funded by St. Johns Riverkeeper and produced by Ray Hays and PRC Digital Media.

    Despite their importance, Florida’s waterways are suffering from significant pollution problems such as fertilizer runoff, poorly treated municipal and industrial wastewater, and failing septic tanks. Combined with the impacts from a rapidly growing population we have a potential recipe for disaster.

    The film will be shown (48 minutes) and then followed by a panel discussion moderated by Karen Chadwick, Putnam County Environmental Council. Invited panelists include the following:

    Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper
    Robert Burke, Aquatic Biologist
    Sam Carr, Bartram Trail in Putnam County
    Chip Laibl, Putnam County Commissioner

    Public questions will be encouraged during the panel discussion. The panel discussion will address steps that we can take to protect Florida’s waters.

    5:30 - 6:30 Social hour with the panelists (Food and drink will be available for purchase.)
    6:30 - 7:15 Troubled Waters 
    7:15 - 8:00 Panel discussion

Rodman Dam’s Special Use Permit Under Fire in Petition for Rulemaking

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Friday, December 9th, 2016 @ 5:48pm

  • Two Florida attorneys, Bruce Kaster and Joseph Little, are petitioning the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service to (1) issue and implement rules to enforce the terms of the special use permit issued by the Forest Service to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and (2) issue rules to redress the continuing failure of the Forest Service to manage the Ocala National Forest in a manner that furthers the desired future conditions, goals, and objectives of the Forest Plan for National Forests in Florida. Kaster is a practicing lawyer and a member of the Board of Trustees for Florida Defenders of the Environment (“FDE”). Little has been a member of FDE for nearly 50 years, and has served as a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law since 1967.

    The petition is being filed by Jane West Law, a public interest environmental and land-use law firm based in St. Augustine, FL.

    A petition for rulemaking is the mechanism by which individuals, public interest groups, and private enterprise can argue to compel changes in existing rules or new rules for an agency that are necessary to remedy failures of agencies to fulfill their duties and purposes as provided by law.

    The legal authority for such a petition is contained in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §553(e), which states that, “Each agency shall give an interested person the right to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule.” 

    To read the complete petition or press release click on Restoring Our Rivers above.

Rodman article in July Audubon magazine

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 @ 10:54am

PCEC's fish report now available

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

  • The Putnam County Environmental Council (PCEC) is proud to announce the availability of its report, "Management and Restoration of the Fish Populations of Silver Springs and the Middle and Lower Ocklawaha River, Florida, USA" by Roy R. Lewis III, M.A., P.W.S., Director of Science Policy for PCEC. The report can be downloaded from this website.  Just click on the "Restoring Our Rivers" tab and then click on "Fish report..." under Ocklawaha River.

    The report, three years in preparation, and funded in part by a grant from the Felburn Foundation, concludes that all the predictions of the demise of fish, fish populations and fishing opportunities by those who oppose restoration of the Ocklawaha River are not based upon good science. The report reviews 49 scientific documents including the  most recent work on Silver Springs and the Silver River which documented a 92% decline in fish biomass from the original studies of Howard Odum published in 1957. This documented decline included a 60% decline in the biomass of largemouth bass. Blockage of historical migratory routes from the St. Johns River by the construction of the Kirkpatrick Dam and Rodman Pool are the cause of much of the decline in species and biomass of fish such as the channel catfish, striped mullet and striped bass in the Ocklawaha River and Silver Springs.

    The Lewis report concludes that "...there is no credible scientific basis to predict any permanent decline in fish resources following restoration, nor a specific decline in sports fishing opportunities over the short or long biomass will likely remain the same or increase over specific areas such as the Silver River, the reconnected springs and spring runs, a significant increase in fish populations can be expected...[S]ports fishing opportunities for species like the striped bass will increase with restoration."

    Hard copies and electronic copies of the report can be requested from Mr. Lewis.

    Roy R. "Robin" Lewis III, Professional Wetland Scientist #725
    Certified Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America
    Board Certified Environmental Professional #1161
    Director of Science Policy, Putnam County Environmental Council


WUFT documentary about River Roads CD wins prestigious award

Posted by PCECwebmaster, Friday, April 13th, 2012 @ 9:04am

  • WUFT wins Murrow Award for Donna Green-Townsend interview with Karen Ahlers about PCEC's River Roads CD.  Go to River Roads CD tab and click on link to hear program.


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