Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Corps To Revisit Lake Plans After Public Complaints

Public Comments Cause Corp of Engineers To Reconsider

Clewiston, Florida -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
Jacksonville District is revising its draft Environmental Impact
Statement that supports the Lake Okeechobee Water Control Plan.
The original process drafted by the Corps anticipated adoption of a
new regulation schedule in January 2007. However, new
information and comments gathered during the public comment
period have resulted in changes that warrant development of a second
draft of the EIS.

This draft will be made available for
public review in March 2007. Based on this schedule, is
anticipated that implementation of the new regulation schedule will
begin in July 2007. A second public review and comment period
will begin in March and will be open for 45 days. The original
process drafted by the Corps anticipated adoption of a new
regulation schedule in January 2007. Following a
series of public meetings last September, Jacksonville District
Commander Col. Paul Grosskruger asked the interagency study team revisit the proposed draft regulation schedule and fine-tune
it to minimize impacts on the coastal estuaries.

"Public involvement is a very important part of our process, and we are listening to the public's concerns. In our
desire to deliver the overall most effective plan possible, we're
taking the additional time needed to address those concerns. The
public wants to see more water moving south. Of course, that's
what we all want to see, and what the Everglades restoration
program will ultimately provide," said Pete Milam, project
manager. "In the meantime,& we're moving water south,
though we are constrained by the amount of water can move
until water storage and treatment components start coming on line."

As Everglades projects come to
fruition, the Corps will use them to route more water
south. In the interim, the proposed plan provides for
higher level of safety to lake communities and improves Lake
Okeechobee environmental conditions by managing the lake at lower
elevations. Once the proposed regulation schedule is implemented
next summer, water managers will immediately begin developing a
new schedule that will take into account Comprehensive Everglades
Restoration Plan projects, inclunding Acceler8 project
components. This schedule is planned for early 2010

For further information on the Lake Okeechobee Regulation
Schedule Study and Environmental Impact Statement, visit
the Jacksonville District web site at href=""></
or call Susan Jackson, the Corporate Communication Office at 904-232-1953.

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