USACE Jacksonville District issues NEPA Scoping Letter for a Combined Operational Plan Deviation for Water Conservation Area 3A

USACE Jacksonville
Published May 28, 2024

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (May 28, 2024) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District is preparing a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment to support a multi-year planned temporary deviation to the Water Conservation Area 3A (WCA 3A) Regulation Schedule. This regulation schedule is part of the 2020 Combined Operational Plan (COP) Water Control Plan, the current operating plan for the Water Conservation Areas (WCAs), Everglades National Park (ENP) and South Dade Conveyance System. The 2020 COP Water Control Plan defines operations for the constructed features of the Modified Water Deliveries and Canal 111 (C-111) South Dade project components. The map, which can be viewed with the signed document at the link below, shows these features. Under the 2020 COP Water Control Plan, operations of the S-12A, S-12B, S-343A, and S-343B include seasonal closures for the federally listed Cape Sable seaside sparrow. The Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision was completed on August 28, 2020.

Related to this action, an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact was completed on November 16, 2023 in support of a planned temporary deviation from the 2020 COP Water Control Plan to provide high water relief for WCA 3A resulting from above average wet season rainfall (2023) and forecasted above average dry season rainfall (2023-2024) associated with El Niño conditions. The planned temporary deviation, initiated at the request of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, allowed for the operation of S-12A, S-12B, S-343A, and S-343B through December 31, 2023 or until the WCA 3A stage receded below Zone A of the WCA 3A Regulation Schedule. Additionally, the planned temporary deviation allowed for the flexibility to operate S-12A, S-12B, S-343A, and S-343B for up to an additional 90 days from January 1 through July 14, 2024 if El Niño conditions were forecasted to continue to occur that would raise water levels back above Zone A. The planned temporary deviation concluded on March 31, 2024. Since the deviation’s conclusion, the USACE has received multiple letters of support to continue to evaluate operations of these structures to allow flexibility under the current water management system.

Therefore, the USACE has identified the need to pursue a multi-year planned temporary deviation to provide operational flexibility to manage any future high-water conditions experienced in WCA 3A. This deviation will assist with the transition to conditions-based operations of the S-12A, S-12B, S-343A, and S-343B structures currently being considered for the Central Everglades Planning Project Operational Plan initiated in April of 2023. As part of the multi-year planned temporary deviation, the USACE will evaluate alternatives that would keep the above listed structures open when water levels in WCA 3A are above Zone A of the Regulation Schedule (regardless of calendar date) while continuing to prioritize ENP inflows east to west per the 2020 COP Water Control Plan. The USACE is also evaluating the potential benefits of minimal flows through these structures when water levels in WCA 3A are in Zone B of the Regulation Schedule. The existing 2020 COP Water Control Plan operational capacity constraint for the combined operation of S-333 and S-333N of 1,500 cubic feet per second will also be evaluated as a mechanism to increase WCA 3A release capacity. Changes to operations of the remaining water control structures in the 2020 COP Water Control Plan are outside of the scope of this planned temporary deviation and therefore will not be evaluated. 

We invite the participation of Federal and State agencies, Native American Tribes, local agencies, interested parties and individuals to provide comments and to identify any issues or concerns. Please share this notice with any interested party. Public scoping meetings will be held virtually at the following dates:


NEPA Public Scoping Meetings (Virtual Only)

June 10, 2024, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Via Webex:

1-669-234-1177 US Toll

1-844-800-2712 US Toll Free

Meeting Number (Access Code) 2830 231 2562


June 10, 2024, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Via Webex:

1-669-234-1177 US Toll

1-844-800-2712 US Toll Free

Meeting Number (Access Code) 2819 225 9060


The signed NEPA Scoping Letter for the COP WCA 3A Deviation is available at:

under Dade County, row 43 (bottom row).


Your comments may be transmitted electronically to or to the attention of Melissa Nasuti, Project Biologist, at the below address no later than June 26, 2024. All comments will be summarized, addressed, and used to inform the NEPA document.


Comments may be submitted to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District

Attn: Melissa Nasuti, Project Biologist

701 San Marco Blvd.

Jacksonville, FL 32207-8915

or email


For more information on the planned temporary deviation, including up to date meeting information, please go to the project website:




Jacksonville District Public Affairs

Release no. 24-034