On February 23rd, I had the opportunity to return to the Ocklawaha River to make a video. St Johns Riverkeeper and Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition Energized (FORCE) requested a short promotional video showcasing the recreational opportunities of the Ocklawaha River when the water levels are drawn down on the old river behind the Rodman Dam. For more on the drawdowns of Rodman Dam that create these conditions, check out my past projects River be dammed and Lost Springs.
It was a great day on the water filming, beginning at sunrise with Captain Karen Chadwick motoring into the Drowned Forest. Eagles, limpkins, egrets, glossy ibis and more were seen while sandhill cranes were heard calling in the distance. We visited Marion Blue Springs where early morning mist covered the springfed waters. When the sun was well-risen, we headed towards Eureka where Lars Andersen was waiting on a full group of paddlers to journey to Cannon Springs.
I had a fun, full day on the water capturing footage of paddlers, boaters and anglers enjoying a more natural river system. It’s always encouraging to see people experiencing the Ocklawaha River for the first time. There is a palatable awe. The land feels like a fairy tale, as though the passage of an epic journey still wafts on the wind.
I’m honored to share this video and to have the opportunity to work with these organizations doing such great work for our home’s most vulnerable places. Voiceover by the lovely and talented Jodi Eller.
Sadly, the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam Drawdown is over and the water will once again rise and flood the Ocklawaha's most treasured wonders – 20 springs, 16 miles of River, and thousands of acres of forest. During these scary and uncertain times, ease your mind and transport yourself to the beautiful Ocklawaha we're working – together – to restore. Experience this historic River through a glimpse of what it would look like if allowed to flow naturally and FREE. Beautiful video and production by Matt Keene. #FreeTheOcklawaha
Posted by Free the Ocklawaha on Sunday, March 22, 2020