Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Modification of the Kissimmee Basin Structure Operating Criteria, 44584-44585 [05-15295]

Download as PDF 44584 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 3, 2005 / Notices CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES: RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES: Information is provided by the record subject or subject’s family members. EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM: None. [FR Doc. 05–15354 Filed 8–2–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Modification of the Kissimmee Basin Structure Operating Criteria Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, intends to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Modification of the Kissimmee Basin (KB) Structure Operating Criteria. This project involves the establishment of a coordinated schedule of water level drawdowns throughout the seventeen lakes comprising the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, in the Kissimmee Upper Basin (KUB), and the possible effects on the Kissimmee Lower Basin (KLB). The ultimate purpose of the action is to facilitate environmental restoration throughout those water bodies. The local sponsor is the South Florida Water Management District. This Notice of Intent (NOI) constitutes a re-issue of the NOI titled: Intent to Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Portion of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, and published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2005 (70 FR 28923). The re-issue is due to the work undergoing a change in both title and scope, to now include the entire basin (KB) of the Kissimmee River. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Esteban Jimenez, 904–232–2551, Special Projects Section, Environmental Branch, Planning Division, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232–0019. VerDate jul<14>2003 15:22 Aug 02, 2005 Jkt 205001 The authority to conduct this comprehensive analysis is granted under Section 206 of the 1996 Water Resources Development Act. The Kissimmee River Basin flood control works were authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1954 as an addition to the Central & South Florida Flood Control Project. The primary project purposes are restoration of natural flooding in the historic floodplain in order to reestablish wetland conditions while maintaining the existing protection against flood damages within the Kissimmee Basin, and to improve the environmental setting of the KB area. The proposed action on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes includes: Lake Hart, Lake Mary Jane, East Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Myrtle, Lake Preston, Lake Conlin, Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Gentry, Lake Russell, Cypress Lake, Lake Marion, Lake Hatchinehea, Lake Pierce, Lake Rosalie, Tiger Lake, Lake Jackson, Lake Marian, and Lake Weohykapka. The lakes are all located in the Kissimmee River Upper Basin (KUB), and covers both Osceola and Polk Counties in Florida. The action is also expected to have effects on the Kissimmee Lower Basin (KLB). The objective of the study is to evaluate the possibility of implementing revised regulation schedules for the Upper Kissimmee Chain Of Lakes. This is so that common and coordinated regulation schedules can be enacted for the Chain of Lakes, in order to facilitate ecosystem restoration throughout the KB. Flora and Fauna—The 35,000 acres of wetlands that existed in the Kissimmee River Flood Plain prior to canalization are estimated to have declined to about 14,000 acres in the existing condition. Existing conditions of flora and fauna in the KB are addressed below. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The DLA rules for accessing records, for contesting contents, and appealing initial agency determinations are contained in 32 CFR part 323, or may be obtained from the Privacy Act Officer, Headquarters, Defense Logistics Agency, ATTN: DP, 8725 John J. Kingman Road, Stop 2533, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060–6221. Type Total Wetland Forested Cypress ......................... Wetland Prairie Rhynchospora ............... Aquatic Grass ............... Maidencance ................ Wetland Shrub Buttonbush .................... Primrose Willow ............ Willow ........................... Broadleaf ..................... Switchgrass ................. Tussock ....................... Total ....................... Percent 262 1.9 1005 2359 2743 7.2 16.8 19.5 803 693 1639 3447 471 630 5.7 4.9 11.7 24.4 3.4 4.5 14052 100 The lakes are generally surrounded by pine flatwoods, dry and wet prairies, and cypress domes. PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Wildlife in the Kissimmee River Lower Basin (KLB) consists of deer, small mammals, alligators and small reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, wading birds, and ducks. Because of the large expanse of area involved, the following Federally-listed threatened or endangered species could occur in both the KUB and KLB: bald eagle, snail kite, indigo snake, Audubon’s crested caracara, wood stork, and grasshopper sparrow. Endangered and threatened species in the KB include: —Endangered: bald eagle, snail kite, wood stork, whooping crane, and Audubon’s crested caracara, and Florida grasshopper sparrow. —Threatened: indigo snake. —State listed as threatened species: Sandhill crane. —Species of special concern: American alligator, snowy egret, gopher tortoise, osprey, burrowing owl, limpkin, little blue heron, least tern, and tricolored heron. Fluctuating water levels of the lake littoral zones are important for over wintering waterfowl that utilize these lakes during migrational periods. Wading birds use the littoral zone as an important feeding habitat. Alternatives: The various scheduling alternatives will be developed upon modeling based on the determination of the existing environment and the goals to be attained. The no action alternative will be considered. Issues: The proposed action is to modify the regulation schedules for the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, to include periodic extreme low water stages for the purposes of enhancing the lake’s environmental resources and improving the physical and chemical characteristics of these lakes. This habitat enhancement technique involves lowering lakes to consolidate bottom sediments and expand desirable aquatic plant communities. The extreme drawdown of these areas mimic low water conditions prior to flood control (activities which result in more stable water levels than would occur naturally). Low water levels historically occurred about every seven to ten years. The drawdown will be coordinated with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Habitat enhancement activities would be carried out by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or others acting under it. The FWC would obtain all necessary permits. Enhancement activities may include much removal, burning, discing and herbicide application to reduce dense E:\FR\FM\03AUN1.SGM 03AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 3, 2005 / Notices vegetation, tussock formation and organic build-up on lake bottoms. Scoping: Scoping public and agency comments on this work will take place from June 2005 to August 2006, by means of a scoping letter. In addition, all parties are invited to participate in the scoping process by identifying any additional concerns on issues, studies needed, alternatives, procedures, and other matters related to the scoping process. At this time, there are no plans for a public scoping meeting. Public Involvement. We invite the participation of affected Federal, state and local agencies, affected Indian tribes, and other interested private organizations and parties. Coordination: The proposed action is being coordinated with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under Section 7 of the Endangered Species act, and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and with the State Historic preservation Officer. Other Environmental Review and Consultation: The proposed action would involve evaluation for compliance with guidelines pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act; application to the State of Florida for Water Quality Certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act; and certification of state lands, easements, and rights of way. Agency Role: As non-Federal sponsor and leading local expert; the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) will provide extensive information and assistance on the resources to be impacted, mitigation measures, and alternatives. DESIS Preparation: It is estimated that the DEIS will be available to the public on or about November 2006. Dated: July 11, 2005. Susan S. Lucas, Acting Chief, Planning Division. [FR Doc. 05–15295 Filed 8–2–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710–AJ–M DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule Study of the Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes, Lake Okeechobee, FL Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: VerDate jul<14>2003 15:22 Aug 02, 2005 Jkt 205001 SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Jacksonville District, intends to prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule Study (LORSS), Lake Okeechobee, FL. The DSEIS will supplement the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule Study prepared in 2000. The DSEIS will address additional alternatives to the current regulation schedule in order to optimize environmental benefits at minimal or no impact to the competing project purposes, primarily flood control and water supply. This study will consider operational changes to water management structures that discharge water from the lake as well as criteria used to determine those operations. Any operational changes will also consider current and planned water management activities within the Kissimmee River Basin. No new structural features will be considered except those already embedded within the South Florida Water Management Model. DATES: Comments and recommendations on this notice should be received by September 30, 2005. ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to Ms. Yvonne Haberer, Biologist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Planning Division, Environmental Branch, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Yvonne L. Haberer, at the address above, by electronic mail at Yvonne.l.haberer@saj02.usace.army.mil or telephone at (904) 232–1701. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: a. Authorization: Authority for this action is the Flood Control Act of 1948. It authorized the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project, which is a multipurpose project that provides flood control, water supply for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses; prevention of salt water intrusion; water supply for Everglades National Park; and protection of fish and wildlife resources. b. Study Area: The study area considered to be most affected by the regulation schedule is Lake Okeechobee, particularly within the littoral and marsh areas of the lake, the St. Lucie Estuary, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), and the Water Conservation Areas south of Lake Okeechobee. Lake Okeechobee lies 30 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean and 60 miles east of the Gulf of Mexico, in south central Florida. Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in Florida covering PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 44585 approximately 730 square miles with an average depth of 10 feet. c. Need or Purpose. There have been various regulation schedules since authorization of the C&SF project in 1948. The current regulation schedule, Water Supply and Environment (WSE), was the preferred alternative in the LORSS FEIS and approved in July 2000 for the regulation of Lake Okeechobee. the WSE regulation schedule and the Operational Guidelines Decision Trees incorporate tributary hydrologic conditions and climate forecasts into guidelines for managing Lake Okeechobee discharges and water levels. This logic-driven regulation schedule balances the various purposes of flood storage, water supply, fish and wildlife resources, and water delivery to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The unusual range of weather conditions occurring since implementation of the WSE regulation schedule and the lessons learned as a result, have indicated that modifications to the WSE are needed. The regulation schedule would benefit from greater flexibility in achieving optimal lake levels and optimal discharges to various downstream parts of the C&SF system. d. Scoping Process. The scoping process as outlined by the Council on Environmental Quality would be utilized to involve Federal, State, and local agencies, affected Indian tribes, and other interested persons and organizations. A scoping letter will be sent to the appropriate parties requesting their comments and concerns. Any persons or organizations requesting to participate in the scoping process should contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (see ADDRESSES). e. Alternatives. The DSEIS will analyze reasonable alternatives, including the ‘‘no action’’ alternative to regulating lake levels and downstream discharges to various parts of the system. f. Issues. The work being performed for this study will consist of identifying the impacts (both beneficial and adverse) associated with alternative Lake Okeechobee regulation schedules and the approved regulation schedule currently in place, WSE. Studies and investigations will be conducted to provide the basis for determining the environmental and socio-economic impacts of any proposed modifications to the WSE regulation schedule. Significant issues anticipated include concern for: Water supply, continued flood control, agriculture, protection of the lake’s environmental resources and its downstream estuaries, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, endangered and threatened species, and any issues E:\FR\FM\03AUN1.SGM 03AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 148 (Wednesday, August 3, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44584-44585]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-15295]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers


Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the 
Modification of the Kissimmee Basin Structure Operating Criteria

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
intends to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for 
the Modification of the Kissimmee Basin (KB) Structure Operating 
Criteria.
    This project involves the establishment of a coordinated schedule 
of water level drawdowns throughout the seventeen lakes comprising the 
Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, in the Kissimmee Upper Basin (KUB), and the 
possible effects on the Kissimmee Lower Basin (KLB). The ultimate 
purpose of the action is to facilitate environmental restoration 
throughout those water bodies. The local sponsor is the South Florida 
Water Management District.
    This Notice of Intent (NOI) constitutes a re-issue of the NOI 
titled: Intent to Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Portion of the Kissimmee River Restoration 
Project, and published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2005 (70 FR 
28923). The re-issue is due to the work undergoing a change in both 
title and scope, to now include the entire basin (KB) of the Kissimmee 
River.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Esteban Jimenez, 904-232-2551, 
Special Projects Section, Environmental Branch, Planning Division, P.O. 
Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232-0019.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The authority to conduct this comprehensive 
analysis is granted under Section 206 of the 1996 Water Resources 
Development Act. The Kissimmee River Basin flood control works were 
authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1954 as an addition to the 
Central & South Florida Flood Control Project. The primary project 
purposes are restoration of natural flooding in the historic floodplain 
in order to reestablish wetland conditions while maintaining the 
existing protection against flood damages within the Kissimmee Basin, 
and to improve the environmental setting of the KB area.
    The proposed action on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes includes: Lake 
Hart, Lake Mary Jane, East Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Myrtle, Lake 
Preston, Lake Conlin, Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Gentry, Lake Russell, 
Cypress Lake, Lake Marion, Lake Hatchinehea, Lake Pierce, Lake Rosalie, 
Tiger Lake, Lake Jackson, Lake Marian, and Lake Weohykapka. The lakes 
are all located in the Kissimmee River Upper Basin (KUB), and covers 
both Osceola and Polk Counties in Florida. The action is also expected 
to have effects on the Kissimmee Lower Basin (KLB).
    The objective of the study is to evaluate the possibility of 
implementing revised regulation schedules for the Upper Kissimmee Chain 
Of Lakes. This is so that common and coordinated regulation schedules 
can be enacted for the Chain of Lakes, in order to facilitate ecosystem 
restoration throughout the KB.
    Flora and Fauna--The 35,000 acres of wetlands that existed in the 
Kissimmee River Flood Plain prior to canalization are estimated to have 
declined to about 14,000 acres in the existing condition. Existing 
conditions of flora and fauna in the KB are addressed below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Type                            Total    Percent
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Wetland Forested
Cypress.............................................       262       1.9
                   Wetland Prairie
Rhynchospora........................................      1005       7.2
Aquatic Grass.......................................      2359      16.8
Maidencance.........................................      2743      19.5
                    Wetland Shrub
Buttonbush..........................................       803       5.7
Primrose Willow.....................................       693       4.9
Willow..............................................      1639      11.7
Broadleaf...........................................      3447      24.4
Switchgrass.........................................       471       3.4
Tussock.............................................       630       4.5
                                                     -----------
    Total...........................................     14052       100
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The lakes are generally surrounded by pine flatwoods, dry and wet 
prairies, and cypress domes.
    Wildlife in the Kissimmee River Lower Basin (KLB) consists of deer, 
small mammals, alligators and small reptiles, amphibians, 
invertebrates, wading birds, and ducks. Because of the large expanse of 
area involved, the following Federally-listed threatened or endangered 
species could occur in both the KUB and KLB: bald eagle, snail kite, 
indigo snake, Audubon's crested caracara, wood stork, and grasshopper 
sparrow.
    Endangered and threatened species in the KB include:

--Endangered: bald eagle, snail kite, wood stork, whooping crane, and 
Audubon's crested caracara, and Florida grasshopper sparrow.
--Threatened: indigo snake.
--State listed as threatened species: Sandhill crane.
--Species of special concern: American alligator, snowy egret, gopher 
tortoise, osprey, burrowing owl, limpkin, little blue heron, least 
tern, and tricolored heron.

    Fluctuating water levels of the lake littoral zones are important 
for over wintering waterfowl that utilize these lakes during 
migrational periods. Wading birds use the littoral zone as an important 
feeding habitat.
    Alternatives: The various scheduling alternatives will be developed 
upon modeling based on the determination of the existing environment 
and the goals to be attained. The no action alternative will be 
considered.
    Issues: The proposed action is to modify the regulation schedules 
for the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, to include periodic extreme low 
water stages for the purposes of enhancing the lake's environmental 
resources and improving the physical and chemical characteristics of 
these lakes. This habitat enhancement technique involves lowering lakes 
to consolidate bottom sediments and expand desirable aquatic plant 
communities. The extreme drawdown of these areas mimic low water 
conditions prior to flood control (activities which result in more 
stable water levels than would occur naturally). Low water levels 
historically occurred about every seven to ten years. The drawdown will 
be coordinated with the South Florida Water Management District 
(SFWMD).
    Habitat enhancement activities would be carried out by the Florida 
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or others acting under 
it. The FWC would obtain all necessary permits.
    Enhancement activities may include much removal, burning, discing 
and herbicide application to reduce dense

[[Page 44585]]

vegetation, tussock formation and organic build-up on lake bottoms.
    Scoping: Scoping public and agency comments on this work will take 
place from June 2005 to August 2006, by means of a scoping letter. In 
addition, all parties are invited to participate in the scoping process 
by identifying any additional concerns on issues, studies needed, 
alternatives, procedures, and other matters related to the scoping 
process. At this time, there are no plans for a public scoping meeting.
    Public Involvement. We invite the participation of affected 
Federal, state and local agencies, affected Indian tribes, and other 
interested private organizations and parties.
    Coordination: The proposed action is being coordinated with the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under Section 7 of the Endangered 
Species act, and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and with the 
State Historic preservation Officer.
    Other Environmental Review and Consultation: The proposed action 
would involve evaluation for compliance with guidelines pursuant to 
Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act; application to the State of 
Florida for Water Quality Certification pursuant to Section 401 of the 
Clean Water Act; and certification of state lands, easements, and 
rights of way.
    Agency Role: As non-Federal sponsor and leading local expert; the 
South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) will provide extensive 
information and assistance on the resources to be impacted, mitigation 
measures, and alternatives.
    DESIS Preparation: It is estimated that the DEIS will be available 
to the public on or about November 2006.

    Dated: July 11, 2005.
Susan S. Lucas,
Acting Chief, Planning Division.
[FR Doc. 05-15295 Filed 8-2-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3710-AJ-M