(7.2) WATER DATA - Florida's Dam Spillways: Ocklawaha River and its upper basin

Florida's Dam Spillways

Ocklawaha River (mainstream):

The Rodman Dam (a.k.a. Kirkpatrick Dam) Spillway

Eureka Dam, Lock & Spillway

Moss Bluff Dam, Lock & Spillway

Upper Ocklawaha River Basin:

Burrell Dam, Lock & Spillway (Haynes Creek)

Apopka Lock & Spillway (Apopka-Beauclair Canal)

Information & Photos

Compiled by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca

With the assistance of Captain Erika Ritter

Created: 24 June 2013

Last Revised: 29 May 2015

NOTE: Click-on individual photos to enlarge them!

The 30 September 1968 completion of Rodman Dam caused the loss of 21 river miles of free-flowing riverine ecosystem. Florida's peninsula was blessed by the Creator with thousands of lakes but very few swift-flowing streams of any considerable length. The pre-Rodman Dam 56-mile long "Silver-Ocklawaha River" was unique in this state by virtue of having one of the world's greatest-flow 1st magnitude artesian spring groups (73 degree F Silver Springs) as its supreme headwaters with unimpeded access for fish, manatees, & other aquatic life--located more than 50 miles above tidewater influence.

Largemouth bass exist and naturally reproduce in all of Florida's 67 counties. In almost all of this state (except where maybe it's too salty) you can dig a pond on your own property (if permitted and of suitable depth/size) that stocked largemouth bass will probably be able to successfully spawn and survive in. There is nothing unique about finding native largemouth bass in Florida. Trophy largemouth bass (10-lbs and over) are caught from time to time statewide.

Striped bass, however, have a completely different life history. Back in 1961 fishery biologists determined that only two waterway systems in Florida--the Apalachicola River (the Chipola River is its only long-length, spring-fed, swift-flowing tributary stream) and the St. Johns River (the Ocklawaha River is its only long-length, spring-fed, swift-flowing tributary stream)--contained naturally reproducing stocks of native striped bass.

Stripers in Florida are riverine fish which require about 50 miles of cool, free and swift-flowing large streams for successful spawning. Adult striped bass, which can weigh beyond 30 lbs, also require close-by access to aquatic refuge zones with summertime water temperatures no greater than 80 F (such as artesian springs and canopied tributary streams). Rodman Dam reduced the spring-fed, swift-flowing Ocklawaha River upstream from the tidal St. Johns River estuary to a length unsuitable for striper spawning. Since 1970 the St. Johns River basin has been stocked with hatchery produced striped bass. No other tributary streams of the St. Johns River meet the stripers' strict spawning requirements.

"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."

Mainstream of the Ocklawaha River:

Rodman Dam Spillway


Kirkpatrick Dam Spillway

(at about Ocklawaha River mile 12).

Rodman structure controls the elevation of Lake Ocklawaha (Rodman Reservoir).

Upstream is Lake Ocklawaha a.k.a. Rodman Reservoir or Rodman Pool

(13,000 acre pool at elevation 20 feet).

Downstream is the "Lower" Ocklawaha River (tailrace elevation 3 to 6 feet).

Fall (head) at the dam averages 16 feet.





Ocala, Florida, Monday, September 30, 1968

(Photo by Ray Price)

Last View Of The Old Channel

The above view shows the old channel of the Ocklawaha River at the Rodman Pool. The U.S. Corps of Engineers said that the river will be filled today closing the Ocklawaha to boat traffic for a period of time. Note the mound of dirt at the right of picture. It will be bulldozed into the channel.



Eureka Dam, Lock and Spillway

(at about Ocklawaha River mile 33).

All further construction of the Cross Florida Barge Canal (CFBC) project was halted in 1971 by

President Richard M. Nixon.

Eureka structure was never closed--a 400-foot gap allows the river to flow freely through it.

USGS streamflow gage at CR-316 Eureka Bridge (about 0.5 mile upstream from Eureka Dam:


Moss Bluff Dam, Lock and Spillway

(at about Ocklawaha River mile 64).

Moss Bluff Dam, Lock and Spillway

Water discharging from the "minimum flow gates" (installed in 2008)

that are located on the left (east) side of the main spillway's two floodgates.

Moss Bluff structure controls the elevation of Lake Griffin.

Upstream is Lake Griffin (16,505 acre pool at elevation 59 feet) plus 13 miles of the original

"Upper" Ocklawaha River (now channelized basically into a canal).

Downstream is the "Upper" Ocklawaha River (tailrace elevation 34 to 45 feet).

Fall (head) at the dam averages 21 feet and up into the 1950′s

was used for hydroelectric power generation.



Upper Ocklawaha River Basin:

Burrell Dam, Lock and Spillway

(on Haynes Creek).

Burrell structure controls the elevation of Lake Eustis, Lake Harris, Lake Dora, and Lake Beauclair.

Target elevation for these lakes is 63 feet.



Apopka Dam, Lock and Spillway

(on Apopka-Beauclair Canal).

Apopka structure controls the elevation of Lake Apopka.

Target elevation for Lake Apopka is 66 feet.



REFERENCE AS: Nosca, P. 2015. "Florida's dam spillways: Ocklawaha River and its upper basin" webpage report. "Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca reports" website. Paul Nosca, Eureka, FL.


Email: ocklawahaman1@gmail.com