The South Florida Operations Office of the Corps of Engineers has environmental stewardship responsibility for more than 451,000 acres of water and 50,000 acres of land along Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway. Program areas include habitat management, fire management, shoreline management, cultural resources protection, wildlife, fisheries, aquatic plant, and endangered and protected species management.
The goal of environmental stewardship is to consider benefits and impacts to the natural environment in all management functions by applying environmentally friendly design consistent with ecosystem management principles, protecting listed species, limiting environmental impacts, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, minimizing threat to wildlife in facilities, controlling/eradicating exotic species, and considering wetland functions. The management of natural resources by using a stewardship concept ensures the conservation, preservation, or protection of Corps land and water resources. All stewardship programs will follow the guidance of the Environmental Operating Principles.
The South Florida Operations Office works closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Forestry, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service to partner and work together to accomplish the stewardship mission.
The purpose of the environmental compliance program is to assure that all facilities and associated lands meet environmental standards contained in relevant Federal, Department of Defense, Department of the Army, state and local laws and regulations. Environmental compliance coordinators perform annual environmental compliance assessments to identify, maintain, and monitor compliance in order to support and promote pollution prevention while continually improving stewardship of natural and cultural resources.
Fish and Wildlife Management
The South Florida Operations Office maintains a close liaison with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They coordinate adjustment of lake levels during the fish spawning season and maintenance of boat trails in the lake. A major aspect of this program is the management of invasive species management programs to the benefit of fish and wildlife populations.
The goals of the fish and wildlife management program are:
To preserve, enhance and maintain a suitable habitat condition necessary for optimum fish and wildlife populations while maintaining an appropriate ecological balance
To provide increased recreation opportunities through both consumptive and non-consumptive use of fish and wildlife resources
To protect native fish and wildlife populations from excessive exploitation, over-harvesting and/or environmental degradation
To manage the fish and wildlife resources to obtain maximum benefits appropriate to the primary functions of water supply and navigation
To coordinate the fish and wildlife enhancement plan with other activities such as forest management, aquatic plant management, recreation area development and interpretive programs
The Corps works cooperatively with other agencies in carrying out management activities such as installing additional artificial reefs, improving habitats, improving water quality and providing manatee safeguards at lock and water control structures.