Corps Invites Public Input on Okeechobee

Photo courtesy of B A Bowen Photography

New Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites the public to provide scoping input on the development of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). A series of public scoping meetings were held throughout south Florida in February, and public comments will be accepted until March 31.

“At this point in the process, it is critical we hear about concerns and priorities from the public,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Deputy Commander for South Florida. “What issues are important to you? What study outcomes do you want to see? How would you measure success? What solutions would you like us to consider? These are some of the important questions we need to explore, and we want to hear your thoughts.”

The Corps is beginning preparation of a NEPA assessment for the LOSOM. The purpose is to reevaluate and define operations for the Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule, which takes into account infrastructure that will soon be operational. That infrastructure includes Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation, Kissimmee River Restoration Project and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan reservoirs.

This effort will result in a System Operating Manual that will include a new lake regulation schedule that addresses flood risk management, water supply, navigation, fish and wildlife and recreation. Information gained during recent extreme high and low water levels and harmful algal blooms will also be considered. The intent of the new lake regulation schedule is to balance the impacts from operations and achieve multiple authorized project purposes.

Scoping comments via email should be sent to [email protected] Mail comments to Dr. Ann Hodgson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232-0019.

For more information, see www.saj.usace.army.mil/LOSOM.

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