The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District (USACE) announces a hybrid public meeting on October 26 and and opens public comment on the on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the North of Lake Okeechobee Storage Reservoir Section 203 Study, also known as the Lake Okeechobee Component A Storage Reservoir (LOCAR) Section 203 Study being conducted by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Comments are due Thursday, December 7, 2023.
LOCAR PUBLIC MEETING INFORMATION:
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Public Meeting for the North of Lake Okeechobee Component A Reservoir (LOCAR) Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Thursday, October 26, 2023 at 1:00pm
Indian River State College Dixon Hendry Campus, 2229 NW 9th Ave., Room C-115, Okeechobee, FL 34972
Zoom Registration Link
Agenda for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Public Meeting for the North of Lake Okeechobee Component A Reservoir (LOCAR) Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The purpose of the draft EIS is to support the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works [ASA(CW)] review of and decision on a Feasibility Study prepared by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to evaluate aboveground storage north of Lake Okeechobee pursuant to Section 203 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986, as amended. The draft EIS evaluates alternatives that are designed to provide aboveground storage north of Lake Okeechobee. The draft EIS considers alternatives and evaluates anticipated improvements to the quantity, timing, and distribution of water flows to help manage Lake Okeechobee levels, improve lake ecology by detaining water during wet periods for later use in the dry periods, and enhance water supply reliability to realize the benefits envisioned in the CERP Component A.
The draft Environmental Impact Statement (draft EIS) evaluating the LOCAR Section 203 Study is available for public review and comment at: www.saj.usace.army.mil/LOCAR. Comments are due Thursday, December 7, 2023.
A paper copy of the draft EIS and its appendices will be available for in-person review at the Lake Placid Memorial Library, 205 West Interlake Blvd, Lake Placid, FL 33852. Please call the library at 863-699-3705 for hours and directions.
Please submit written public comments to LOCAR@usace.army.mil (recommended subject line: “LOCAR Public Comments”) by Thursday, December 7, 2023.
All comments will be summarized, addressed, and used to inform the Final EIS and ASA (CW)’s final decision on the SFWMD Lake Okeechobee Component A Storage Reservoir Section 203 Study.
To clarify, Lake Okeechobee Component A Reservoir (LOCAR) Section 203 Study and Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP) are two separate proposed projects.
The LOCAR Section 203 Study is focused on identifying above ground storage north of the Lake and is conducted by the South Florida Water Management District.
The LOWRP is still expected to consist of wetland components and Aquifer Storage and Recovery wells (ASR) previously identified in the June 2022 Third Revised Draft Project Information report and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, but the Jacksonville District is coordinating approval of additional time and money from the USACE Headquarters and Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.
Although the LOCAR and LOWRP study areas overlap, LOCAR will have no direct impact to LOWRP as the objectives for both projects are different. The LOWRP is still proceeding on its own under CERP planning with SFWMD as the non-federal sponsor. A LOWRP Project Delivery Team Meeting will be scheduled in the next couple of months to provide a status update and discuss next steps.
For more information on the proposed project, please go to the following website: www.sfwmd.gov/LOCAR
Instructions on how to provide public comments to USACE can be found at www.saj.usace.army.mil/LOCAR