The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District requests public scoping comments on the proposed temporary deviation to the current Lake Kissimmee, Hatchineha and Cypress Interim regulation schedule. Scoping comments are due October 7.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District (USACE) is preparing a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment for the Headwaters Revitalization Schedule Increment 1 (Increment 1), a planned temporary deviation from the 1981 Lake Kissimmee, Hatchineha and Cypress (KHC) Interim Regulation Schedule.
The Corps is currently gathering information to define issues and concerns that will be addressed in an analysis to be prepared in compliance with the NEPA and used to evaluate the proposed Increment 1.
The authorized project purposes within the Kissimmee River Basin include providing flows for the restoration of the Kissimmee River ecosystem, littoral wetland restoration, and maintenance of the existing level of flood risk management within the Kissimmee River Basin. These are expected to be fully achieved with full implementation of the Headwaters Revitalization Schedule (HRS).
The current Lake Kissimmee, Hatchineha and Cypress regulation schedule (interim schedule) maintains an upper elevation of 52.5 feet NGVD29 from November to February with lowering to 49.0 feet NGVD29 by June 1. The goal of Increment 1 is to obtain benefits for the Kissimmee River Restoration for the following objectives:
1. Schedule modifications to approximate historical stage characteristics to increase seasonal storage within lakes Kissimmee, Hatchineha, and Cypress which allows for increased ability to restore pre-development inundation of the restored Kissimmee River floodplain and improve the ability to meet riverine flow targets.
2. Allow for the beginning of hydrologic restoration of these lakes by approximating the historic pattern of floodplain inundation to rehydrate littoral wetlands, which would increase the quantity of wetland habitat and benefit fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species.
"We celebrated the completion of construction on the Kissimmee River Restoration Project in July of 2021. That completed the first step in the restoration process, the physical restoration of the river. We can now move forward and begin taking the second step by providing necessary flows for the hydrologic restoration of the Kissimmee River ecosystem, while we continue to maintain the existing level of flood risk management within the Kissimmee River Basin," said Tim Gysan, Resilience Senior Project Manager. "Good scoping is really important to the process. We hope to receive comments with detailed information from stakeholders, including members of the public who live in the area and have local knowledge, regarding their perspective on the issues, their concerns, and vision on how to best meet the objective of beginning restoration of the Kissimmee River Basin hydrology and potentially benefitting all of the basins in this highly connected system. Increment 1 is the first step to get to the full Headwaters Regulation Schedule, and the first opportunity to provide feedback on how these operations will be implemented.”
USACE invites the participation of Federal and State agencies, Native American Tribes, local agencies, interested parties and individuals in providing comments and identifying any issues or concerns with Increment 1.
Please submit scoping comments to Richard.A.Skinker@usace.army.mil at your earliest convenience, and not later than October 7, 2022, and include “HRS Deviation Comments” in the subject line of emailed comments.
Additional information on the Kissimmee River Restoration Project is available at: www.saj.usace.army.mil/KRR
Kissimmee River Restoration Fact Sheet: https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/utils/getfile/collection/p16021coll11/id/5452
USACE celebrates the completion of construction for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project: https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/2712959/usace-celebrates-the-completion-of-construction-for-the-kissimmee-river-restora/