The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is reexamining Lake Okeechobee operations, currently outlined in the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS) and developing a new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) that take will take into account additional infrastructure to be completed by 2022, including the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation, Kissimmee River Restoration Project, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir and C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area.
The Corps hosted a series of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) public scoping meetings throughout south Florida during February and March 2019. Additional meetings will include public workshops and Project Delivery Team (PDT) meetings. The PDT meetings give representatives from different government agencies an opportunity to provide input, comments and concerns as the LOSOM plan is developed. Members of the public are invited to attend the PDT meetings and provide comment during designated periods.
The Corps has developed six sub-teams to facilitate planning and stakeholder engagement throughout the LOSOM process. Those sub teams include Ecological, Engineering, Economics, Water Supply, Water Quality/HAB and Modeling and Plan Formulation. Each sub team is tasked with evaluating modeled lake management strategy alternatives that will be proposed during the LOSOM process.
Following this multi-year process consisting of public meetings and input, planning, development and evaluation, a new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) will be adopted.
Martin County's Efforts
Martin County is actively engaged in the LOSOM review and evaluation process and has assembled a team of subject matter experts to conduct research, evaluate options, provide input and develop strategies to advocate on behalf of our residents, visitors and environment. This team of experts includes a variety of scientists, climatologists, hydrogeologists, engineers and environmental legal specialists who are active on each of the sub teams, providing input, comments and concerns.
In the end, many stakeholders, like Martin County, will provide input, but the final management schedule is not our decision. That belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Martin County will continue to make elective investments in water quality. Water quality isn’t just about what happens with Lake Okeechobee and LOSOM, which is why Martin County is extremely active in creating proprietary research and developing water quality improvement projects to help protect the health and well-being of our residents, businesses, environment and way of life. Learn more about our water quality efforts.