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Okeechobee Waterway Master Plan Update - Public Workshop and Comment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District released the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Proposed Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for updating the 1986 Okeechobee Waterway (OWW) and Lake Okeechobee (LO) Master Plan.


A public workshop is scheduled in LaBelle and public comment will be accepted through September 21, 2018.

 

Okeechobee Waterway Master Plan Update documents for review:

OWW Draft Master Plan
Appendix A - CZMA
Appendix B - Public Coordination and Pertinent Correspondence
Appendix C - Standard Protection Measures
Appendix D - Recreational Carrying Capacity Study
Appendix E - Map Book
Notice of Availability (NOA)
OWW Master Plan Update Map

Public Workshop
Monday, August 13, 2018
6 to 8 p.m.
LaBelle Civic Center (behind City Hall)
481 W. Hickpochee  Avenue (State Road 80)
LaBelle, Florida 33935

Public Comment

The Corps will accept public comments on the Master Plan update during the 60-day period from July 23, 2018 through September 21, 2018.

 

Please submit comments by September 21, 2018 to OWWMasterPlan@usace.army.mil or via mail to:

Stacie Auvenshine

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jacksonville District

701 San Marco Blvd.

Jacksonville, Florida 32207-8915

The 60-day public comment period will be from July 23, 2018 through September 21, 2018.


 Background

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District released the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Proposed Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for updating the 1986 Okeechobee Waterway (OWW) and Lake Okeechobee (LO) Master Plan. A public workshop is scheduled in LaBelle and public comment will be accepted through September 21, 2018.

 

A Master Plan is required for each civil works project for which the Corps has administrative responsibility. It serves as a planning document that anticipates what could and should happen at a Corps project, but is flexible enough to address changing conditions. The primary goals of this Master Plan are to update the overall land and water management plan, resource objectives, and associated design and management concepts, which:

  1.  provide the best possible combination of responses to regional needs

  2. contribute toward providing a high degree of recreation diversity within the region

  3. emphasize the particular qualities, characteristics, and potentials of the project; and

  4. exhibit consistency and compatibility with national objectives and other state and regional goals and programs.

     

    This master plan update includes current and projected future land use and recreational sites adjacent to the OWW and LO Project. The project is located in south central Florida within Glades, Hendry, Lee, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties.

    This update of the OWW and LO Master Plan does not include operations of Lake Okeechobee or components of Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation. Items related to those projects are or will be covered under separate studies and future NEPA assessments.

    Features being considered for replacement from the current Master Plan are:

    a.         Conversion of the abandoned campground at Moore Haven West to a Wildlife Management Area with access to the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail and day use area. This area could potentially include a new canoe/kayak launching facility and repair or upgrading of the existing boat ramp.

    b.         Closure of the WP Franklin swim beach, while maintaining the picnic and fishing areas. Closing the beach would entail removing buoys and swimming signs, and discontinuing sand renourishment, due to safety concerns. This site could include a canoe/kayak launch.

     
    “Public health and safety were our primary considerations for the change at W.P. Franklin,” said Natural Resources Program Manager Nelson R. Colón. “We have had ongoing concerns regarding wildlife, water quality and proximity to boat traffic.”

    The draft document and information regarding the public workshop and how to submit comments are available at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/OWWMasterPlanUpdate/

     

    The Corps invites interested parties to join us at a public workshop on Monday, August 13, 2018, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the LaBelle Civic Center (behind City Hall), 481 W. Hickpochee Avenue (State Road 80), LaBelle, Florida 33935.

     

    The Corps will accept public comments on the Master Plan update during the 60-day period from July 23, 2018 through September 21, 2018.

     

    Please submit comments by September 21, 2018 to OWWMasterPlan@usace.army.mil or via mail to:

    Stacie Auvenshine

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Jacksonville District

    701 San Marco Blvd.

    Jacksonville, Florida 32207-8915

     

    The Corps invites the participation of federal and state agencies, Native American Tribes, local agencies, interested parties, and individuals interested in providing comments and identifying any issues or concerns.
    OWW Master Plan Update Map

Recreation Overview

Recreation rotating imagesEach year, more than 6 million people travel to South Florida to visit  Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway. Whether you like to camp, fish, bike, or relax and enjoy nature's beauty, the lake and waterway have something for everyone. Recreation facilities are easily accessible from Interstate 95 or Interstate 75. Here's your opportunity to learn more about the "Heartland of South Florida."

  • "Okeechobee" is derived from the Seminole Indian words meaning "big water."
  • Lake Okeechobee covering 730 square miles, is the largest Florida lake and the second largest freshwater lake within United States borders.
  • 110 miles of the Herbert Hoover Dike are the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) and are part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
  • The Corps manages eight recreation areas: W. P. Franklin Lock & Dam North and South Recreation Areas, Ortona Lock & Dam North and South Recreation Areas, Port Mayaca Lock & Dam Recreation Areas North and South, and St. Lucie Lock & Dam North and South Recreation Areas.
  • There are three Corps managed campgrounds with 109 campsites (including 16 boat-in sites) at W. P. Franklin North, Ortona South and St. Lucie South.
  • Project-wide, there are 22 recreation areas managed by other agencies located at: Pahokee City Park, Jaycee Park in Okeechobee, Okeetantie near Buckhead Ridge, Clewiston City Park, Torry Island in Belle Glade, Nubbin Slough, Harney Pond Canal, Henry Creek, Bare Beach (Dyess Ditch Canal) near Lakeport, Fisheating Creek, Rardin Park near Belle Glade, South Bay, LaBelle, Phipps County Park near St. Lucie Lock & Dam, Barron Park in LaBelle, Alva, Liberty Point (Uncle Joe's Fish Camp), Indiantown Marina, Buckhead Ridge, Clewiston Marina, Chancy Bay and Moore Haven.
  • There are five Corps managed boat ramps at W. P. Franklin North and South recreation areas, Port Mayaca, Ortona North recreation area and St. Lucie South recreation area.
  • The Corps has two visitor centers: W. P. Franklin Lock & Dam Recreation Area, St. Lucie Lock & Dam Recreation Area. Visitor information is also available at the South Florida Operations Office.

Did You Know?

  • The Army Corps of Engineers hosts 250 million visits annually to its recreation areas.
  • Corps-managed waters provide 18 percent of all U.S. freshwater fishing.
  • 45,000 volunteers work 1.5 million hours annually at Corps projects-- providing $36.75 million in value of service.
  • Seven of the top 10 migratory bird flyways in the U.S. crossover Corps-managed waters.
  • The Corps manages 12 million acres of public lands and waters nationwide.
  • A visitor to Corps recreation areas can find 55,000 milies of shoreline; 7,800 miles of trails; 93,000 campsites and 3,700 boat launch ramps nationally.

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News & Events

Corps of Engineers campgrounds and recreation areas along Okeechobee Waterway are open. For more information regarding camp sites, call:

St. Lucie South Campground in Stuart (772-287-1382)

Ortona South Campground near Moore Haven (863-675-8400)

W.P. Franklin Campground North in Alva (239-694-8770)

 

Contact Info