The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District announces a 45-day public comment period for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project Draft Revised Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement (PIR/EIS). Comments are due April 4, 2022.
Review the Draft Revised Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement (PIR/EIS) regarding the revised recommended plan at www.saj.usace.army.mil/LOWRP.
Please submit comments via email by April 4, 2022 to OkeechobeeWatershedRestoration@usace.army.mil (recommended subject “LOWRP Draft Revised PIR/EIS Comments”). Please call 904-232-1368 if additional assistance is needed.
The LOWRP Draft Report of the Chief of Engineers, released for state and agency review in October 2020, described a Recommended Plan (previously identified as Alternative 1BWR with a Wetland Attenuation Feature (WAF), 80 Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells, and two wetland restoration areas. Concerns related to acceptability and cost of Alternative 1BWR received during state, agency, and tribal review of the Draft Report of the Chief of Engineers, resulted in an agency decision to refine the Recommended Plan by removing the WAF and its 25 co-located ASR wells.
The revised Recommended Plan (identified as Alternative ASR) consists of 55 watershed ASR wells with a maximum storage volume of approximately 308,00 acre-feet per year and two wetland restoration sites, Paradise Run (approximately 4,700 acres) and Kissimmee River Center (approximately 1,200 acres), to restore wetland areas. Implementation of the Proposed Action will improve the quantity, timing and distribution of water entering Lake Okeechobee, provide for better management of lake water levels, reduce undesirable regulatory releases to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, improve system-wide operational flexibility, and will restore portions of the historic Kissimmee River channel and floodplain. The Proposed Action is located within Okeechobee, Highlands, Hendry, Lee, Glades, Martin, and St. Lucie counties, Florida.
A printed copy of the report is also available at the following libraries:
Okeechobee County Public Library
206 S.W. 16th Street
Okeechobee, FL 34974
2351 SE Monterey Road
Stuart, FL 34996
Fort Myers Regional Library
2450 First Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901
The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project is an Everglades restoration planning effort that will improve water levels in Lake Okeechobee; improve the quantity and timing of discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries; restore degraded habitat for fish and wildlife throughout the study area; and increase the spatial extent and functionality of wetlands.
The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP) is one part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).
For more information on the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project, including project documents, visit: www.saj.usace.army.mil/LOWRP/.