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U.S. Forest Service may be sued over Kirkpatrick Dam

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Three well-known environmental groups have announced plans to sue the U.S. Forest Service if the agency doesn’t move forward with removing the 44 year old Kirkpatrick Dam.  Earth Justice, Florida Wildlife Federation and the Florida Defenders of the Environment representatives filed the intention to sue documents in Tallahassee yesterday.  The Kirkpatrick Dam (formerly the Rodman Dam) was constructed as part of the now de-authorized Cross Florida Barge Canal Project.  The dam impounds nine-thousand acres of floodplain forest and now holds a popular fishing spot called the Rodman Reservoir.  Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Donna Green-Townsend talked with representatives of all sides of this issue including the President of the Board of Florida Defenders of the Environment, Steve Robitaille and the Executive Director of the organization, Erin Condon:

[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/FPdeplawsuitPT1.mp3]

Florida Defenders of the Environment Board President, Steve Robitaille and Executive Director Erin Condon.  Meanwhile the U.S. Forest Service says it supports at least partial removal of the Kirkpatrick Dam.  Spokesperson Denise Rains told Donna Green-Townsend the agency won’t comment on the possible lawsuit, but does want to move forward with restoration efforts of the Ocklawaha River:

[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/FPDeniseRainsshort.mp3]

The people who say they would be most affected by partial removal of the Kirkpatrick Dam are the owners of various fishing businesses.  Stacy Weeks runs the Buck-N-Bass Sports Center & Outfitters in Salt Springs.  He wants the dam to stay just the way it is:

[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/FPstacyWeeksshortQA.mp3]

Another outspoken bait and tackle shop owner is Bumpy Needham of Fish Tales in Ocala.  He too says removal of the Kirkpatrick Dam is not the right direction to go:

[audio:http://www.wuft.org/media/audio/FPbumpyneedhamQAshortest.mp3]

No matter when restoration could begin, no one knows exactly where the funds for the effort will come from.

About Donna Green-Townsend

Donna is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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