US Federal forestry officials have asked the state of Florida to start work this year on restoring the Ocklawaha river by removing the Kirkpatrick dam impounding the Rodman reservoir, which covers 3885ha upstream of the dam.

The reservoir was created in the 1960s by a 6.7m high, 2194.6m long earthfill dam was built across the Ocklawaha river. A four-gate spillway, built into the dam, controls the water elevation in the reservoir. The reservoir was a part of a Cross Florida Barge canal scheme that was to be built to improve navigation. However, the canal was never built due to objections by environmentalists.

Although the dam belongs to the state, the US Forest Service owns 242.8ha inundated by the reservoir. The agency would like to see that land converted back to dry land by 2006, as part of the Ocala National Forest. The federal agency also owns some of the land under the dam.

Environmental groups, which have been lobbying to rip out the dam ever since it was built in 1968, hailed the restoration plans.