Wetlands restoration planned north of lake

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District is accepting comments on the Draft Integrated Project Implementation Report (PIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP).

A public meeting about the project will be held Aug. 2 at Indian River State College, 2229 N.W. Ninth Avenue in Okeechobee, from 6 to 8 p.m.

USACE proposes an above-ground wetland attenuation feature (WAF) and several aquifer storage & recovery (ASR) wells in an area north of the lake.  The proposed plan also calls for restoration of 5,300 acres of wetlands in the area.  The draft document was released for review July 6.  USACE will accept comments through August 20.

“This plan provides additional flexibility for managing water north of the lake in a manner consistent with Everglades’ restoration goals,” said Lisa Aley, Planning Technical Lead for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project.  “We look forward to hearing from people living and working in the area on this proposed plan.”

The draft report is available at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/Lake-Okeechobee-Watershed-Project/.  Those interested in submitting comments may do so electronically at OkeechobeeWatershedRestoration@usace.army.mil.  Written comments can be mailed to: Dr. Gretchen Ehlinger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL  32232-0019

Jacksonville District staff are scheduling a series of public meetings to provide those interested with another forum to submit their comments on the study.

The LOWRP study began during the summer of 2016 with a goal to identify opportunities to improve the water storage capacity in the Lake Okeechobee watershed in a manner that would improve lake stage levels for environmental and water supply purposes while reducing undesirable discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, and restoring wetlands along Kissimmee River.

More information on Jacksonville District’s ecosystem restoration efforts is available at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Ecosystem-Restoration/.

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