[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 232 (Friday, December 2, 2011)]
[Page 75539]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-31010]



Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers

Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the 
Central Everglades Planning Project, Okeechobee, Glades, Martin, Palm 
Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, FL

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

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The Everglades ecosystem 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.
    Since 2000, much progress has been made. 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. Project 
Implementation Reports have been completed, or are nearing completion, 
for the second generation of CERP projects for Congressional 
authorization, 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. All of these CERP projects utilize lands that were acquired by 
the State and Federal government to meet CERP goals of increasing the 
extent of wetlands, reducing damaging freshwater discharges to the 
coastal estuaries, and reducing seepage losses from the natural system. 
These projects contribute significant ecological benefits to the system 
and the specific regional habitats in which they are located. These 
initial CERP projects were intended to provide initial and immediate 
ecological benefits and set the conditions along the margins of the 
system that help ensure increased water flows to the interior of the 
system will not cause adverse effects.
    The next step for implementation of CERP is to redirect water that 
is currently discharged to the east and west coast estuaries from Lake 
Okeechobee and restore water flow to the south, allowing for 
restoration of natural habitat conditions and water flow in the central 
Everglades and re-connecting the ecosystem from Lake Okeechobee to 
Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. The Central Everglades 
Planning Project will develop the initial increment of project features 
that provide for storage, treatment and conveyance south of Lake 
Okeechobee, removal of canals and levees within Water Conservation Area 
3 and seepage management features to retain water within the natural 
system. The CERP projects identified to accomplish this include the 
Everglades Agricultural Storage Reservoirs, Water Conservation Area 3 
Decompartmentalization and Sheetflow Enhancement, Everglades National 
Park (ENP) Seepage Management, and Everglades Rain-Driven Operations. 
These projects make up the heart of CERP aimed at restoring more 
natural quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water flows to 
the remaining portions of the river of grass. An integrated study 
effort on these projects is needed to set the direction for the next 
decade of CERP implementation.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Gina Ralph at (904) 232-2336 or 
email at Gina.P.Ralph@usace.army.mil.

    a. The goal of the Central Everglades Planning Project effort would 
be to develop an integrated, comprehensive technical plan, including 
the first increment of projects, for delivering the right quantity, 
quality, timing and distribution of water needed to restore and 
reconnect the central Everglades ecosystem.
    b. 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.
    c. A scoping meeting will be held December 14, 2011 from 6:30 to 9 
p.m. at the Sheraton Suites Plantation, Plantation I/II Room, 311 North 
University Drive, Plantation, Florida and December 15, 2011 from 6:30 
to 9 p.m. at the John Boy Auditorium, 1200 South W.C. Owen Avenue, 
Clewiston, FL. Assistance for individuals with special needs or 
language translation will be available as needed by calling (904) 232-
    d. 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.
    e. The Draft Environmental Impact Assessment is expected to be 
available for public review in the 1st quarter of 2013.

Brenda S. Bowen,
Army Federal Register Liaison Officer.
[FR Doc. 2011-31010 Filed 12-1-11; 8:45 am]