The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, announces public comment on the Final Integrated Project Implementation Report (PIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Chief's Report for the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project, part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). Public comments are due March 9.
The purposes of the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project are to restore and sustain the flow of freshwater to the federally designated “National Wild and Scenic” Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River (NWFLR), and to provide flows to enhance hydroperiods in Loxahatchee Slough; increase connectivity of hydrology, flora, and fauna between natural areas; and improve seasonal timing and distribution of water to improve hydropatterns in drained areas throughout the historic headwaters for the river.
The project is located in south Florida in Martin and Palm Beach Counties. The Final PIR/EIS provides additional design details regarding seepage effects, water quality effects, and the cost-benefit of the recommended plan. Alternative 5R, the recommended plan, includes a surface storage reservoir, aquifer storage and recovery wells, and other structures to capture and store water that is currently lost to tide. Captured water will be redistributed to increase volume and improve timing of water deliveries to the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River and achieve 91 percent of the dry season and 98 percent of the wet season restoration target flows. The recommended plan will also restore approximately 17,000 acres of former wetlands that had been converted to agriculture and an additional 10,000 acres of existing but disturbed wetlands.
Implementation of the project will provide multiple benefits by helping to restore more natural water deliveries, promoting improved health and functionality of wetland and upland areas, and increasing the quantity and quality of habitat available for native wildlife and vegetation.
The report was updated to address comments received during a 45-day public review Draft PIR/EIS that ended May 7, 2019.
The Final Integrated Project Implementation Report (PIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project is available at: www.saj.usace.army.mil/LRWRP.
The document is also available for review at two additional locations:
2351 SE Monterey Road
Stuart, Florida 34996
Gardens Branch Library
11303 Campus Drive
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410
Please submit public comments to LoxRiverComments@usace.army.mil by Monday, March 9, 2020.
Written comments can be mailed to:
Dr. Ann Hodgson
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 4970
Jacksonville, FL 32232-0019
The project area includes approximately 753 square miles located in central and northern Palm Beach County and southern Martin County. Within that area are Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Pal Mar East/Cypress Creek, Dupuis Wildlife and Environmental Management Areas, J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, Grassy Waters Preserve, Loxahatchee Slough, the last remaining riverine cypress stands in southeast Florida in the Loxahatchee River, and the Loxahatchee River Estuary.
For additional information on the Loxahatchee River Watershed Restoration Project, visit: www.saj.usace.army.mil/LRWRP