Preserve Seeking Public Comments on Copeland Prairie Mitigation Plan Environmental Assessment
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
The National Park Service is seeking public comments on a Copeland Prairie Mitigation Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) for Big Cypress National Preserve. The purpose of the plan is to enhance wetlands in a 325-acre portion of Copeland Prairie in the Preserve that would reverse much of the adverse hydrologic and ecological impact caused by construction of road-related infrastructure in the last century. This project is required by state and federal permits as mitigation for wetland impacts from stabilization of off-road vehicle (ORV) trails elsewhere in the Preserve, in accordance with the Preserve's recreational ORV management plan.
The EA analyzes the impacts of two alternatives:
Alternative 1 - No Action - Continue Current Management
Under alternative 1 current management of two culverts under Birdon Road and canal plugs in Birdon Canal would continue. Minimal maintenance would be conducted and no impediments to sheet flow would be removed.
Alternative 2 – Copeland Prairie Wetlands Mitigation – Preferred Alternative
Under alternative 2 a 325-acre area of disturbed wetlands would be restored by 1) removing 12 acres of abandoned, elevated farm roads to enhance sheet flow, 2) rehabilitating and re-engineering two culverts under Birdon Road to increase water flow into the site, and 3) installing three fill plugs in Birdon and Diagonal canals to direct water into the culverts and halt saltwater intrusion.
To review the EA, visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=49273. You can provide comments online or by mail. Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Comments by mail may be sent to Superintendent, Big Cypress National Preserve, 33100 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida 34141-1000. Comments are requested by April 5, 2014. Once the comment period concludes, we will consider all comments submitted in the development of the final plan/EA.