The Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is extending the comment period for a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and proposed Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for a proposed deviation to the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS) 2008. The new deadline for comments is Sept. 5, 2019, providing the public an additional 15 days to review and comment on the proposed deviation that will provide the agency additional water management flexibility at Lake Okeechobee to help address harmful algae blooms (HABs).
Due to the urgency of these potential operational changes, an expedited draft EA and proposed FONSI was prepared to assess environmental impacts associated with the proposed deviation. During the first week of the comment period, the Corps received a few requests for an extension of the initial 15 day comment period.
The draft EA and proposed FONSI are currently available on the Jacksonville District website at https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Deviations/. Comments will be accepted by mail at Jacksonville District Corps of Engineers, 701 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32207-8175. Comments will also be accepted by email at Melissa.email@example.com.
The proposed deviation would allow the Corps more flexibility during periods when HABs are present on Lake Okeechobee. The Corps could release less than LORS guidance when blooms are present, in exchange for releasing more than LORS guidance during times when blooms aren’t present. The goal is to release the same net amount of water as would have been released following LORS guidance, but to better time releases in an attempt to minimize potential HAB impacts.
Release no. 19-054