JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District will host two public meetings to present and discuss an environmental assessment (EA) covering the removal or replacement of federal culverts as part of the Herbert Hoover Dike Major Rehabilitation Project. These culverts are water control structures that provide irrigation and drainage to adjacent lands.
Replacement or removal of dike culverts located in Glades, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties, will reduce risks to south Florida communities. The Corps EA for the culvert replacement or removal proposes a “finding of no significant impact.”
The Corps invites the public to attend one of two meetings that will start at 7 p.m.:
March 8 (Tuesday): Okeechobee County Health Department auditorium, 1728 Northwest 9th Ave., Okeechobee, Fla.
March 10 (Thursday): John Boy Auditorium, 1200 South W.C. Owen Ave, Clewiston, Fla.
The Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) rehabilitation team will provide a presentation on the project status and the EA, followed by an open comment period. Attendees are welcome to ask questions also. Interested attendees can call (561) 683-1577 for Spanish translation or other special services.
The HHD EA is also available for public review online at www.saj.usace.arm.mil, under Popular Pages at right, click Herbert Hoover Dike. The Corps will accept written comments through Mar. 18, 2011.
The HHD encircles Lake Okeechobee, a 730-square-mile lake in south-central Florida, for the purpose of flood risk management and other water management benefits. Major renovations to the HHD are necessary to prevent dike failure and consequent significant effects on public safety, infrastructure and natural resources in south Florida. The HHD culverts pose a risk of failure due to the loss of embankment material into and along the culverts. Local, national and international experts endorsed the removal or replacement of the culverts as part of the HHD rehabilitation program.
The Corps is committed to ensuring continued drainage and irrigation capabilities provided to permitted users of the culverts. A systematic investigation of culvert usage is currently underway with participation from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), adjacent 298 districts, and SFWMD permitted users.
Providing meaningful opportunities for public input is an important part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.