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Posted 6/8/2018

Release no. 18-036


Contact
John Campbell
904-232-1004
John.H.Campbell@usace.army.mil

Corps releases draft environmental report on State’s EAA reservoir study
Currently accepting public comments; details for public meetings to be announced

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is accepting public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the South Florida Water Management District Section 203 Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) and Stormwater Treatment Area study. Comments will be accepted through July 24.

The Corps has prepared a Draft EIS to evaluate and document potential environmental effects of the SFWMD’s proposed plan in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The draft EIS uses information from SFWMD’s environmental analysis which has been incorporated into the study as an appendix.

“We continue to advance our environmental review of the South Florida Water Management District’s EAA storage reservoir study,” said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District Commander. “The EAA Reservoir will provide storage that creates beneficial flexibility in south Florida water management.”

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available here: www.saj.usace.army.mil/SFWMDEAAReservoir.

Comments are being accepted through July 24 and can be sent electronically to: EAAReservoir@usace.army.mil, or mailed to:
Stacie Auvenshine
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District
P.O. Box 4970
Jacksonville, FL 32232‐0019

The Corps is scheduling a series of public meetings to provide interested individuals with the opportunity to provide public comments on the environmental review of the study. It is anticipated that the meetings will be held the week of June 25. Additional information will be available once venues are confirmed.

Public participation is essential in advancing our efforts further and we encourage all interested individuals to review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and provide their input,” said Kirk.

Kirk also addressed recent Lake Okeechobee discharges today, advising the releases are necessary to reduce risk to people living and working around the lake.

"We will continue to use LORS (Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule) as our guide to manage the lake with safety as the paramount consideration," said Kirk. "We recognize the risks of the potential for a hurricane-driven 3-4 feet increase in lake stage that could occur within a week of landfall. We can't delay releases until a storm is imminent."

As part of the EAA Reservoir environmental review process, an initial scoping period was conducted to solicit public input on the Corps’ development of the EIS for the SFWMD’s EAA storage reservoir study. Public comments were accepted through April 30, 2018. A matrix of the comments received during this time is included within the Draft EIS.  Furthermore, comments received on this Draft EIS will also be incorporated within the matrix upon development of the Final EIS.

There are two ongoing concurrent processes as part of the required federal actions on the SFWMD’s Section 203 EAA southern reservoir study. There is the current environmental review of the SFWMD’s study by the Jacksonville District, and a simultaneous review by the Administration. Section 203 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 authorizes non-federal interests to undertake feasibility studies of proposed water resource development projects for submission directly to the Secretary of the Army. The SFWMD submitted their study to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works on March 30, 2018. Congressional approval of this plan will result in a Post Authorization Change Report to modify features within the Central Everglades Planning Project, which was authorized as a federal project by Congress in 2016.
 
Additional information on the SFWMD’s EAA storage reservoir study is available on their website at:
https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/cerp-project-planning/eaa-reservoir

 

 

draft EIS Draft Environmental Impact Statement EAA EIS environmental impact statement everglades Everglades Agricultural Area Jacksonville District public comment USACE