US Army Corps of Engineers
Jacksonville District Website

Corps announces opening of comment period on RECOVER Northern Estuaries Salinity Envelope Performance Measure and public webinars

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published April 28, 2020
Loxahatchee River oyster monitoring

Loxahatchee River oyster monitoring

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District announces a public and agency review and comment period on the Draft RECOVER Northern Estuaries Draft Salinity Envelope Performance Measure. Comments are due May 28, 2020. Public webinars are scheduled for Wednesday April 29 at 10 a.m. and Tuesday May 5 at 1 p.m.

The 34-page Draft RECOVER Northern Estuaries Draft Salinity Envelope Performance Measure is available at www.saj.usace.army.mil/RECOVER/ for a 30-day public and agency review period prior to final acceptance by the multi-agency RECOVER (REstoration, COordination & VERification) Executive Committee.

Webinars will be available to the public from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday April 29 and from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday May 5, 2020.

Webinar Information:
Weblink: https://usace.webex.com/meet/gretchen.s.ehlinger
Note:  it is most efficient to log into the webinar and have the webinar call you.
Dial in: 877-336-1829
Access Code: 5013574
Security code: 1234

RECOVER (REstoration COordination & VERification) is a multi-agency team of scientists, modelers, planners and resource specialists who organize and apply scientific and technical information in ways that are essential in supporting the objectives of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

The RECOVER team conducts scientific and technical evaluations and assessments for improving CERP’s ability to restore, preserve and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for the region's other water-related needs. RECOVER applies a system-wide perspective to the planning and implementation of the CERP and communicates and coordinates the results of these evaluations and assessments to managers, decision makers and the public.

“The RECOVER recommendation represents the conclusions of scientists and planners charged with researching and applying scientific information to restore and protect the Everglades,” said Angie Dunn, Jacksonville District’s Environmental Branch Chief. “Performance measures are tools to allow managers to assess and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of CERP implementation.”

The Draft Salinity Envelope PM provides biologically- and ecologically-driven guidance for establishing and maintaining salinity regimes that sustain healthy estuarine ecosystems. Salinity is the primary driver of the ecology in these systems, and Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects aim to improve the quantity, quality, and timing of freshwater inflows. Flow Envelope targets were set based on salinity tolerances of Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), shoal grass (Halodule wrightii), and tape grass (Vallisneria americana). Flow Envelopes for the St. Lucie Estuary include 14-day moving average flows in the Optimum range (150–1400 cfs), Stress range (1400–1700 cfs), and Damaging range (>1700 cfs). Flow Envelope targets for the Caloosahatchee River Estuary include 14-day moving average flows in the Optimum range (750–2100 cfs), Stress (2100–2600 cfs), and Damaging range (>2600 cfs).

The Northern Estuaries Salinity Envelope Performance Measure was last updated in 2007 and included target flow ranges for the St. Lucie Estuary of 14-day average flows of 350–2000 cfs as measured at all gauged sources of inflow, and for the Caloosahatchee River Estuary of monthly average flows of 450–2800 cfs as measured at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79).

As restoration of the Everglades progresses, it is important to be able to estimate the ecological response to restoration projects and the program as a whole. Performance measures are tools to allow managers to assess and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the CERP. The Draft RECOVER Northern Estuaries Draft Salinity Envelope Performance Measure currently available for review has been developed to establish a target Optimum Flow Envelope and identifies stress and damaging flow conditions for ecological indicator species in the St. Lucie Estuary and Caloosahatchee River Estuary. It is not a proposed operational plan and is based solely on the ecological needs of the estuaries.

Comments on the 34-page Draft RECOVER Northern Estuaries Draft Salinity Envelope Performance Measure will be accepted through May 28, 2020. Please submit comments via email to Gretchen.S.Ehlinger@usace.army.mil (recommended subject RECOVER Northern Estuaries Salinity Envelope PM Comments) and reference the line and/or page numbers to expedite the review process, if possible.

Additional information on RECOVER is available at: www.saj.usace.army.mil/RECOVER/


Contact
Erica Skolte
561-801-5734 (cell)
Erica.A.Skolte@usace.army.mil

Release no. 20-034