ECONOMIC IMPACTS

The fight to save Rodman has been a long and hard battle. The 1995, 1996, 1997, and the 1998 Florida legislatures refused to appropriate any money for the destruction of Rodman Reservoir. In fact, the 1999 legislature appropriated $500,000 for repairs to the facilities, including restrooms and boat ramps.

No funds for destruction have been allowed since then and improvements to boat ramps, fishing piers, restrooms, and camping facilities have continued. Channel day markers were installed in 2002.

The supporters of Rodman Reservoir have only asked that the fate of Rodman Reservoir be guided by facts and reason, the following findings of the 1995 scientific reports are provided

Florida DEP estimates that Rodman Reservoir supported 307,217 visitor days in 1993, more visits than all but 10 of Florida’s 129 state parks. In 1992, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated there were 376,609 visitor days, more visits than all but 12 of Florida’s 129 parks. Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (GFC) documented the total recreational use of Rodman Reservoir (343,840 person-hours) was 3 times greater than the use of the Ocklawaha River (113,859 person-hours).

Florida GFC and Florida DEP estimated that between 55% and 58% of the total angling effort at Rodman Reservoir is attributable to largemouth bass fishing. Over 40% of the anglers are targeting other fish. Between 4% and 6% of the anglers are subsistence anglers, who catch 2.7-2.8 meals/week from the reservoir and tailrace, respectively.

Florida GFC also documented that Rodman Reservoir supported 32,059 person-hours of recreational swimming, 13,934 person-hours of recreational boating, 6,839 person-hours of canoeing, and 1,195 person-hours of hunting. Rodman Reservoir provided more non-fishing recreational use (62,229 person-hours) than the Ocklawaha River (51,650 person-hours). Florida DEP estimated a loss of 55% of the total recreational use if the Ocklawaha River is restored. Florida GFC concluded the loss of Rodman Reservoir will result in a 63% decrease in recreational use. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 2-40, 3-37, 3-41 & 3-55; (Fl. GFC Recreational Use and Fisheries Report, pages 5,9, & 15)

Florida DEP estimated the visitors to Rodman Reservoir in 1993 provided $6,206,439 of the direct expenditures to Putnam County and $6,903,499 in direct expenditures to Marion County.

Florida DEP also estimated the presence of Rodman Reservoir resulted in the employment of 45 individuals in Putnam County and 57 individuals in Marion County. Florida DEP states the Full Retention Alternative will provide additional positive impacts for the economies of Putnam and Marion counties. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 7-26, 7-30)

Based on comparisons of quantifiable benefits and costs, Florida DEP concluded that the Full Retention Alternative and the Status Quo Alternative produce higher quantifiable net economic benefits over the next 20 years than either Full Restoration or Partial Restoration.

The difference between economic benefits and costs for Full Retention of Rodman Reservoir was estimated to be $19,943,842 after 10 years and $29,181,578 after 20 years. The difference between economic benefits and costs for maintaining the Status Quo at Rodman Reservoir was estimated to be $18,060,235 after 10 years and $26,438,663 after 20 years. Compared to the Partial Restoration Alternative, the least expensive restoration alternative, the economic benefits of the reservoir exceed those of restoration by 225%. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume1-pages 6-9, 6-10 & 6-16).

Based on opportunity cost analysis, Florida DEP concluded that Partial and Full Restoration of the Ocklawaha River produces negative net economic benefits over the next 20 years. Depending upon how restoration is implemented and how long it takes, Florida DEP estimated Partial Restoration will result in economic losses ranging from -$3,895,646 to -$5,175,972. Economic losses for Full Restoration were estimated to range from -$15,257,983 to-$18,295,500. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 6-12, 6-13, 6-14, 6-15 and 6-16)
Florida DEP states that one continuous flaw in previous economic analyses of the costs of retaining Rodman Reservoir versus the costs of Restoring the Ocklawaha River is that once the de-construction costs were completed there would be zero costs allocated for maintaining the area as a refuge or recreation area. Florida DEP estimates the annual land management costs for a restored river will be $550,526. Florida DEP estimates the users of a restored river would only be willing to pay $511,672 per year for use of the river. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1 pages 2-20, 2-39)

Florida DEP estimated users of Rodman Reservoir would be willing to pay $985,752 for the Status Quo Alternative and $1,160,680 for Full Retention Alternative.

Florida DEP estimated an annual expenditure of $435,480 is needed to continue full lock and dam operations at Rodman Reservoir. Land management costs, which include upkeep and maintenance of the lands and recreational facilities within the Rodman Reservoir complex are estimated at $349,156 for the Status Quo Alternative and $617,487 for the Full Retention Alternative.

Total annual costs for maintaining Rodman Reservoir, therefore, range from $784,636(Status Quo) to $1,052,967(Full Retention). DEP, however, acknowledges that some costs are inflated and that costs could be lower depending on how the Rodman Reservoir complex is operated. (Fl. DEP Socio-economic Study, Volume 1-pages 2-28, 2-29, 2-38, 2-39, 5-30, and 5-31)

Florida DEP states the State of Florida is currently obligated to pay back to the counties, which funded the original Cross Florida Shipping Channel and Barge Canal through ad valor taxes, $25,732,580 in non-construction costs. If the Legislature decides to restore the Ocklawaha River, Florida DEP estimated it may take up to two years and cost at least $180,000 to obtain all necessary state and federal permits. The U.S. Congress must also deauthorize Buckman Lock.

Restoration costs are estimated to range from $13,926,520 (minimum restoration) to $34,609,920 (full restoration). Because it has long been argued that restoration is needed to restore the natural floodplain functioning of the Ocklawaha River, full restoration will undoubtedly become the alternative demanded by activists once the dam is removed. Florida DEP further acknowledged that there may be unknown court and land purchase costs. There are 17 easements (7,600 acres of flooded easement land) within the Rodman Reservoir taking line. If the courts rule that “inverse condemnation” applies, the State of Florida will have to purchase these lands in order to maintain the present boundaries of the Cross Florida Greenway. (FDEP Socio-economic Study, Volume1-pages 2-18,2-19, 2-46 and 4-9)

Dr. Dan Canfield compiled these “Economic Impacts”

For more information on these issues or others that may concern you. He can be reached at:

Dr. Daniel E. Canfield Jr.
Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32653
Phone: (352) 392-9617 ext. 246