Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project, Okeechobee, Highlands, Charlotte, Glades, Martin and St. Lucie Counties, Florida, 46659 [2016-16920]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 137 / Monday, July 18, 2016 / Notices committee DFO will log each request to make a comment, in the order received, and determine whether the subject matter of each comment is relevant to the panel’s mission and/or the topics to be addressed in this public meeting. A 15-minute period near the end of the meeting will be available for verbal public comments. Members of the public who have requested to make a verbal comment and whose comments have been deemed relevant under the process described in this paragraph, will be allotted no more than three (3) minutes during this period, and will be invited to speak in the order in which their requests were received by the DFO. Dated: July 13, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. [FR Doc. 2016–16931 Filed 7–15–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project, Okeechobee, Highlands, Charlotte, Glades, Martin and St. Lucie Counties, Florida Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: The Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is beginning preparation of a National Environmental Policy Act assessment for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project (LOWP). The Everglades ecosystem, including Lake Okeechobee, encompasses a system of diverse wetland landscapes that are hydrologically and ecologically connected across more than 200 miles from north to south and across 18,000 square miles of southern Florida. In 2000, the U.S. Congress authorized the Federal government, in partnership with the State of Florida, to embark upon a multi-decade, multi-billion dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to further protect and restore the remaining Everglades ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region. CERP involves modification of the existing network of drainage canals and levees that make up the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project. One of the next steps for implementation of CERP is to identify opportunities to asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Jul 15, 2016 Jkt 238001 restore the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of flows into Lake Okeechobee. The LOW Project preliminary project area, where placement of features will be considered, covers a large portion of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed north of the lake. Water inflows into Lake Okeechobee greatly exceed outflow capacity, thus many times there is too much water within Lake Okeechobee that needs to be released in order to ensure integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike. At other times, there may be too little water within Lake Okeechobee. Lake levels that are too high or too low, and inappropriate recession and ascension rates, can adversely affect native vegetation, and fish and wildlife species that depend upon the lake for foraging and reproduction. The volume and frequency of undesirable freshwater releases to the east and west lowers salinity in the estuaries, severely impacting oysters, sea grasses, and fish. Additionally, high nutrient levels adversely affect in-lake water quality, estuary habitat, and habitat throughout the Greater Everglades. The objectives of the LOW Project are to improve the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of water entering Lake Okeechobee, provide for better management of lake water levels, reduce damaging releases to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries downstream of the lake and improve system-wide operational flexibility. ADDRESSES: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Planning and Policy Division, Environmental Branch, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232–0019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Ehlinger at 904–232–1682 or email at gretchen.s.ehlinger@usace.army.mil. Additional information is also available at http://bit.ly/LakeOWatershed. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: a. Since 2000, much progress has been made on CERP projects. Construction has begun on the first generation of CERP project modifications already authorized by Congress. These include the Picayune Strand Restoration, the Indian River Lagoon South and Site 1 Impoundment Projects. Congressional authorization has been received for the second generation of CERP projects, including Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands-Phase 1, the Broward County Water Preserve Areas, the Caloosahatchee River (C–43) West Basin Storage Reservoir, and the C–111 Spreader Canal Western Project which are already under construction or are operational, and the Broward County Water Preserve Areas which is currently PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46659 being designed. The Central Everglades Planning Project is currently awaiting congressional authorization. All of these CERP projects contribute significant ecological benefits to the system and the specific regional habitats in which they are located. b. The objectives of the LOWP are to improve the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of water entering Lake Okeechobee, provide for better management of lake water levels, reduce damaging releases to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries downstream of the lake and improve system-wide operational flexibility. c. A scoping letter will be used to invite comments from Federal, State, and local agencies, affected Indian Tribes, and other interested private organizations and individuals. d. A scoping meeting will be held July 26th, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Okeechobee Auditorium, 3800 NW., 16th Boulevard, Suite A, Okeechobee, FL 34972. e. All alternative plans will be reviewed under provisions of appropriate laws and regulations, including the Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, Clean Water Act, and Farmland Protection Policy Act. f. The Draft Environmental Impact Assessment is expected to be available for public review in late 2017. Dated: July 7, 2016. Eric P. Summa, Chief, Planning and Policy Division. [FR Doc. 2016–16920 Filed 7–15–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720–58–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED–2016–ICCD–0036] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; 2017–2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Department of Education (ED), Federal Student Aid (FSA). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a revision of an existing information collection. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before August 17, 2016. ADDRESSES: To access and review all the documents related to the information SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18JYN1.SGM 18JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 137 (Monday, July 18, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Page 46659]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-16920]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers


Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Lake 
Okeechobee Watershed Project, Okeechobee, Highlands, Charlotte, Glades, 
Martin and St. Lucie Counties, Florida

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

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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SUMMARY: The Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(Corps) is beginning preparation of a National Environmental Policy Act 
assessment for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project (LOWP). The 
Everglades ecosystem, including Lake Okeechobee, encompasses a system 
of diverse wetland landscapes that are hydrologically and ecologically 
connected across more than 200 miles from north to south and across 
18,000 square miles of southern Florida. In 2000, the U.S. Congress 
authorized the Federal government, in partnership with the State of 
Florida, to embark upon a multi-decade, multi-billion dollar 
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to further protect and 
restore the remaining Everglades ecosystem while providing for other 
water-related needs of the region. CERP involves modification of the 
existing network of drainage canals and levees that make up the Central 
and Southern Florida Flood Control Project. One of the next steps for 
implementation of CERP is to identify opportunities to restore the 
quantity, quality, timing and distribution of flows into Lake 
Okeechobee. The LOW Project preliminary project area, where placement 
of features will be considered, covers a large portion of the Lake 
Okeechobee Watershed north of the lake. Water inflows into Lake 
Okeechobee greatly exceed outflow capacity, thus many times there is 
too much water within Lake Okeechobee that needs to be released in 
order to ensure integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike. At other times, 
there may be too little water within Lake Okeechobee. Lake levels that 
are too high or too low, and inappropriate recession and ascension 
rates, can adversely affect native vegetation, and fish and wildlife 
species that depend upon the lake for foraging and reproduction. The 
volume and frequency of undesirable freshwater releases to the east and 
west lowers salinity in the estuaries, severely impacting oysters, sea 
grasses, and fish. Additionally, high nutrient levels adversely affect 
in-lake water quality, estuary habitat, and habitat throughout the 
Greater Everglades. The objectives of the LOW Project are to improve 
the quality, quantity, timing and distribution of water entering Lake 
Okeechobee, provide for better management of lake water levels, reduce 
damaging releases to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries 
downstream of the lake and improve system-wide operational flexibility.

ADDRESSES: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Planning and Policy Division, 
Environmental Branch, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232-0019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Ehlinger at 904-232-1682 or 
email at gretchen.s.ehlinger@usace.army.mil. Additional information is 
also available at http://bit.ly/LakeOWatershed.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    a. Since 2000, much progress has been made on CERP projects. 
Construction has begun on the first generation of CERP project 
modifications already authorized by Congress. These include the 
Picayune Strand Restoration, the Indian River Lagoon South and Site 1 
Impoundment Projects. Congressional authorization has been received for 
the second generation of CERP projects, including Biscayne Bay Coastal 
Wetlands-Phase 1, the Broward County Water Preserve Areas, the 
Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir, and the C-111 
Spreader Canal Western Project which are already under construction or 
are operational, and the Broward County Water Preserve Areas which is 
currently being designed. The Central Everglades Planning Project is 
currently awaiting congressional authorization. All of these CERP 
projects contribute significant ecological benefits to the system and 
the specific regional habitats in which they are located.
    b. The objectives of the LOWP are to improve the quality, quantity, 
timing and distribution of water entering Lake Okeechobee, provide for 
better management of lake water levels, reduce damaging releases to the 
Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries downstream of the lake and 
improve system-wide operational flexibility.
    c. A scoping letter will be used to invite comments from Federal, 
State, and local agencies, affected Indian Tribes, and other interested 
private organizations and individuals.
    d. A scoping meeting will be held July 26th, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 
p.m. at the Okeechobee Auditorium, 3800 NW., 16th Boulevard, Suite A, 
Okeechobee, FL 34972.
    e. All alternative plans will be reviewed under provisions of 
appropriate laws and regulations, including the Endangered Species Act, 
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, Clean Water Act, and Farmland 
Protection Policy Act.
    f. The Draft Environmental Impact Assessment is expected to be 
available for public review in late 2017.

    Dated: July 7, 2016.
Eric P. Summa,
Chief, Planning and Policy Division.
[FR Doc. 2016-16920 Filed 7-15-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3720-58-P