Three Rivers, Fifty Springs, One Solution: Restore the Great Florida Riverway
The Great Florida Riverway is one of Florida’s environmental and economic treasures — and it needs your help.
This vast, 217-mile river system reaches from the Green Swamp in Central Florida all the way to the Atlantic Ocean via the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers. The Great Florida Riverway is home to 50 freshwater springs: 25 at historic Silver Springs, 20 on the Ocklawaha River, and five in the Harris Chain of Lakes. Like the Everglades to the South, restoring the Great Florida Riverway is vital to improving the ecosystem and economic health of North and Central Florida.
The Ocklawaha, the heart of the Great Florida Riverway, was dammed in 1968. Constructed for a canal that was never completed, the dam flooded over 7,500 acres of forested wetlands, 20 springs, and 16 miles of the Ocklawaha River. The continued decline of water quality, spring flow, wetland forests, fish, wildlife and recreation has led American Rivers to designate the Ocklawaha River as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2020.
Restoring the Great Florida Riverway by breaching this dam will re-establish access to essential habitat for manatees, bring back migratory fish, connect three river ecosystems, historic Silver Springs, and restore a lost riverway for anglers and paddlers from Ocklawaha’s Harris Chain of Lakes to the Atlantic. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has prioritized protecting and improving the state’s waterways, creating a historic opportunity to save the Great Florida Riverway.
Please join us in urging Governor DeSantis to restore the Great Florida Riverway. It is time to save the Ocklawaha, Silver, and St. Johns Rivers, as well as historic Silver Springs.