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, 44585-44586 [05-15296]

Download as PDF 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 44586 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 3, 2005 / Notices identified through scoping and public involvement. Lake Okeechobee is one of the most critical components of the C&SF project and achieving the right balance among the many, oftentimes competing demands on the lake, remains a difficult challenge. The proposed action will be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, with the NMFS concerning Essential Fish Habitat, and with the State Historic Preservation Officer concerning historic and cultural resources. g. Agency Role. The Corps is the lead agency for this action. However, the non-Federal sponsor,and leading local expert, the South Florida Water Management District will provide extensive information and assistance on the resources to be impacted, mitigation measures, and alternatives. h. Draft Environmental Impact Statement Availability. The DSEIS would be available on or about June 2006. Dated: July 21, 2005. Susan Scott Lucas, Acting Chief, Planning Division. [FR Doc. 05–15296 Filed 8–2–05; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System, Louisiana Project, Including Flat Lake Management Unit, Beau Bayou Management Unit and Cocodrie Swamp Management Unit, and Possible Modifications or Additions to the Buffalo Cove Management Unit, Located in St. Martin, St. Mary, Iberville, and Iberia Parishes, LA Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District (CEMVN), intends to evaluate water management features for the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway, System, Louisiana Project, excluding the Henderson Lake Management Unit, to improve water quality and interior water circulation, remove barriers to reestablish north to south water flow; provide input of oxygenated low 15:22 Aug 02, 2005 The Corps of Engineers is initiating this DSEIS under the authority of the Flood Control Act of May 15, 1928 (Pub. L. 391, 70th Congress), as amended and supplemented. Construction of two pilot management units (Buffalo Cove and Henderson Lake) was authorized by the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1985 (Pub. L. 99–88) and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 (Pub. L. 99–662), with construction of three conditionally authorized management units—Flat Lake Management Unit, Beau Bayou Management Unit, and Cocodrie Swamp Management Unit to take place upon approval of the Chief of Engineers after evaluation of the operational success of the pilot management units. (Hereafter, the three conditionally authorized management units will be collectively referred to as ‘‘conditionally authorized management units’’.) Section 601(a) of WRDA 1986 authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out the recommended plan for management units as described in the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System, Louisiana Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement of January 1982, as approved by the Chief of Engineers Report dated February 28, 1983. The Engineering Documentation Report (EDR), Buffalo Cove Pilot SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: BILLING CODE 3710–AJ–M VerDate jul<14>2003 temperature water; and reduce or manage sediment input into the interior swamp. The action is necessary due to the existing poor water quality resulting from the lack of internal circulation and oxygenated water inputs, and increased sedimentation. In addition if action is not taken, both deep-water and shallow water habitat utilized by fish and wildlife resources will continue to be lost, reduced, or degraded. The intended result of the proposed work is to prolong the life expectancy of the productive habitat (primarily aquatic and cypress tupelo habitats) that would become scarce over time by restricting or redirecting sediments, while simultaneously achieving a healthy water circulation pattern that would maintain or restore water quality and reestablish north to south water movement. This is a modification of the notice of intent posted in the Federal Register on July 16, 2004 (69 FR 42696). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions concerning the DSEIS should be addressed to Mr. Larry Hartzog at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, PM-RP, P.O. Box 60267, New Orleans, LA 70160–0267, phone (504) 862–2524, fax number (504) 862–2572 or by E-mail at Larry.M.Hartzog@ mvn02.usace.army.mil. Jkt 205001 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Management Unit (BCMU) and supporting Environmental Assessment (EA) No. 366 and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on July 15, 2004, satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the referenced pilot water management unit impacts. The expected results of these improvements, while beneficially effective alone, will continue to contribute to the entire comprehensive BCMU improvements in water quality and habitat that will be expanded as additional possible elements are added in the future. Because the BCMU constitutes a ‘‘pilot’’ management unit, both the EDR and EA No. 366 clearly identify the possibility that additional future work may be recommended in the BCMU if the analysis of the operational monitoring data supports a finding that the present EDR elements do not fully accomplish the goals and objectives of the authorized management unit project. The preparation of the DSEIS addressed by this NOI will commence and continue concurrently with the monitored construction and operation, data collection and analysis of the BCMU water circulation improvements and sediment management initiatives (as described in EA No. 366), as well as analysis and solicitation of public and resource agency input. Monitoring of the 10 elements and the elements constructed for the Bayou Eugene Prototype Model Test Modification (‘‘Bayou Eugene’’), comprising the water circulation and sediment management initiatives (described in EA No. 366) will continue for a period of 5 years following the construction of the last of the elements described in EA No. 366. If data collected during and prior to the end of the 5 year monitoring period indicates that modifications or relocations of elements within the bounds of the original project rights-ofway or areas of influence are needed to achieve the goals and objectives for fish and wildlife enhancement, a report will be prepared and submitted for approval. The DSEIS will be prepared following the incorporation and analysis of the data from the completed construction monitoring of the 10 elements as described in the approved EDR and EA No. 366. Construction monitoring described in the approved EDR is scheduled for completion 5 years after the construction of the last of the 10 elements is completed. Based on this completion date, construction monitoring and the concurrent DSEIS are currently estimated to be completed in 2012. The DSEIS will utilize the monitoring data to evaluate the E:\FR\FM\03AUN1.SGM 03AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 148 (Wednesday, August 3, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44585-44586]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-15296]


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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

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

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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

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 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

[[Page 44586]]

identified through scoping and public involvement. Lake Okeechobee is 
one of the most critical components of the C&SF project and achieving 
the right balance among the many, oftentimes competing demands on the 
lake, remains a difficult challenge.
    The proposed action will be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 
pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, with the NMFS 
concerning Essential Fish Habitat, and with the State Historic 
Preservation Officer concerning historic and cultural resources.
    g. Agency Role. The Corps is the lead agency for this action. 
However, the non-Federal sponsor,and leading local expert, the South 
Florida Water Management District will provide extensive information 
and assistance on the resources to be impacted, mitigation measures, 
and alternatives.
    h. Draft Environmental Impact Statement Availability. The DSEIS 
would be available on or about June 2006.

    Dated: July 21, 2005.
Susan Scott Lucas,
Acting Chief, Planning Division.
[FR Doc. 05-15296 Filed 8-2-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3710-AJ-M