The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District announces two public scoping meetings and the opening of the public scoping comment period for the Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (BBSEER) Feasibility Study. Public scoping comments are due October 1, 2020.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the initial scoping phase of the preparation of an integrated Project Implementation Report (PIR) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document for the Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (BBSEER) Feasibility Study, part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is the non-federal sponsor of this Feasibility Study.
The BBSEER Feasibility Study is focused on formulating plans to restore parts of the south Florida ecosystem in freshwater wetlands of the Southern Glades and Model Lands, the coastal wetlands and subtidal areas, including mangrove and seagrass areas, of Biscayne Bay, Biscayne National Park, Manatee Bay, Card Sound and Barnes Sound. These areas have been affected by over-drainage and by damaging freshwater releases from canals, such as the C-111 Canal.
The Corps invites the participation of federal, state and local agencies, Native American Tribes, interested parties and individuals to provide comments and to identify any issues or concerns during this public scoping period.
Please submit scoping comments BBSEERComments@usace.army.mil by October 1, 2020. All scoping comments should include “BBSEER Scoping Comments” in the subject line.
The Corps will host two BBSEER virtual public scoping meetings, and pre-registration in advance is required for each meeting.
BBSEER Virtual Public Scoping Meeting
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020
BBSEER Virtual Public Scoping Meeting
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020
12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED:
Register at this link: https://rsvp.att.com/?ConfID=55150563
The Corps and the SFWMD recognize that additional freshwater flow is needed beyond what is provided by the Combined Operational Plan (COP) and Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) to address low flows, hypersalinity and algal bloom events in central and western Florida Bay. The Corps and our partners at the SFWMD are committed to further CERP studies to address those needs. The BBSEER Feasibility Study will document any benefits of additional freshwater flow to Northeast Florida Bay, while ensuring flow volumes committed by COP and CEPP are not affected by this project.
To meet BBSEER objectives, this Feasibility Study will identify, consider, and assess a comprehensive list of features and operational changes. The features and operational changes may include, but are not limited to, canal plugs and backfilling, structure removal, conveyance features, stormwater treatment areas, reservoir and storage areas, seepage capture, treated wastewater, new levees or berms and controlled burns. During the study, additional measures may be added, and project locations and dimensions will be specified in the draft integrated PIR/NEPA document.
Similar to other CERP studies where multiple components are combined into one planning effort and Project Implementation Report, the BBSEER Feasibility Study will also include more than one CERP component. The BBSEER Feasibility Study will begin with six CERP components identified in the 1999 study known as the “Restudy” or “Yellow Book.” These components include:
• Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands;
• Biscayne Bay Coastal Canals;
• C-111N Canal Project;
• South Miami Dade County Reuse;
• West Miami Dade Reuse;
• North Lake Belt.
For additional information regarding the project, please visit the project webpage www.saj.usace.army.mil/BBSEER
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.