Change is in the air. This fall the Silver Springs Attraction will be back in the hands of the State of Florida for management, and the Springs will become a part of the Silver River State Park. Efforts are being made to preserve the head spring, and to protect the water, flora, fauna and wildlife.
As you journey along the Silver River it amazes all that this River has remained virtually uncompromised by modern expansion. There are no developments, condos, or concrete. Just the River, the Springs, and the wildlife. “Florida as it used to be ” and “The true Florida we came to see” are both comments often voiced by those who come to see this gem of Mother Nature.
There is always something new or different to enjoy. This time of year we start looking to see if the manatees will return. Just this week a manatee was spotted several times along the Silver River. Posed for a few pictures as it enjoyed the constant 72 degree water temperature. This is the third consecutive year that these rare aquatic mammals have been sighted, and we are grateful for their return. Use extreme caution while maneuvering where manatees are present.
Boaters beware of the multiple snags along the River. Recent storms and accompanying winds have created more than the norm, and several will be difficult for larger boats to navigate around.
In the spring of 2011, we spotted Florida Manatees on both the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers. This was the first time in several decades that the Manatees had made it into these bodies of water. As we are approaching the months in which they were sighted last year, we hope to see them back again.
Rodman Dam was constructed in 1968 as part of the Cross Florida Barge Canal. When the Dam and Buckman Lock became operational, the normal migration patterns of the Mantees that used the Ocklawaha River were interrupted.
The manatees move in the winter months to warmer waters such as those found around Silver Springs and other natural springs. Somehow the Manatees found their way here last year, and enjoyed the constant water temperature around the many springs of the Silver River. The extremely cold winter of 2011 that we experienced may have motivated their appearance.
The survival of the Florida Manatee is one of the reasons that environmentalists hope to see the removal of Rodman Dam and Buckman Lock. What to do with Rodman Dam has always been a controversial issue, as the pros and cons involved affect many interests, human and natural.
In the interest of the Manatee, their existence has been found as far back as 8500 B.C.. Paleo-Indians, the first inhabitants of Florida, hunted the Manatee. The English declared Florida a Manatee Sanctuary in the 1700’s, and Florida enacted the first protection laws in 1893.
Those of us who spend time on the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers are anxious to see if the Manatees return this year. Please take the time to post a comment by clicking on the link below if any 2012 sightings occur.
Low water levels on the Rivers continue to be a concern, as well as the high winds the area has received recently. Keep an eye out for downed trees and limbs as you navigate both the Silver amd Ocklawaha.
These pictures weren’t taken on the Silver or Ocklawaha River but they’re neat away. They were taken by Captain Nick when he was on a fishing trip to the Hotwater Discharge Canal near Crystal River, Florida.
April was an active month on the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers. The wildlife is keeping us fascinated while we watch the mature birds, gators, and other residents feed their young.
April also brought several new guests to the Rivers. Manatees were spotted on a couple of different occasions, and on one trip we sited a new bird, a Yellow Crowned Night Heron. It’s questionable if either will be seen again. Keep us posted if anyone sites the Night Heron or the Manatees.
While the Bass are biting early in the morning, this is a great time of year to go fishing and go on a river tour, something to keep in mind as you make your plans to beat the heat!
May will bring even more boaters out on both the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers. Early morning departures always give you the best opportunity to have the Rivers practically to yourself.