Dear Friend of Everglades National Park:
The Acquisition of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) Land in the East Everglades Expansion Area (EEEA) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) is available for your review and comment. The Draft EIS addresses options for National Park Service (NPS) acquisition of FPL land in the EEEA to facilitate hydrologic and ecologic restoration of Everglades National Park. We also invite you to attend a public meeting to be held as follows:
Date: February 19, 2014 Time: 5:30 to 8:30 pm
Location: Florida International University-Stadium Club
11310 Southwest 17th Street, Miami Florida, 33199
The Stadium Club is located within the FIU Football Stadium between gates 2 and 3.
This public meeting will provide an opportunity for you to learn about the purpose and need for federal action, proposed alternatives, issues, and the decision-making process. It will include a presentation and displays about the proposed action and the EIS process and provide for comments to be recorded in a public hearing format. NPS and project staff will be there to answer questions and listen to comments.
NPS acquisition of the FPL property, or a flowage easement on the property, is needed to support the mission of the park and is vital to long-term protection of the park for ecosystem restoration purposes. The FPL property (a 320 acre, 7.4 mile corridor in the EEEA) is needed to support the goals of restoring the Northeast Shark River Slough and to fulfill the purposes of the Modified Water Deliveries project and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Public Law (PL) 101-229 (December 13, 1989) articulates that the Everglades is both nationally and internationally significant and sets forth specific goals and objectives for acquisition of properties in this area. Acquisition of FPL's property through an exchange of lands with NPS is also authorized by Public Law 111-11 (March 2009).
In June 2011, we conducted public scoping to obtain your input on the alternatives to be considered and issues to be addressed in the Draft EIS. After carefully considering more than 39,000 comments from the public, we evaluated a number of acquisition alternatives. The Draft EIS addresses the potential impacts from the acquisition of FPL land in the park, as well as the indirect impacts that could result from the subsequent construction and operation of transmission lines that could be built by FPL either inside or outside the park as a result of the land acquisition alternative selected. The alternatives are described in detail in Chapter 2 of the Draft EIS, and Chapter 4 details the impacts of implementing the alternatives.
The Draft EIS does not identify a preferred alternative and the NPS wants to obtain public input on the alternatives under consideration to help inform this important decision. A preferred alternative will be identified and announced in the Final EIS scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2014.
We would appreciate receiving any comments you may have by March 18, 2014, the end of the public comment period. You may enter your comments directly online at the following link http://parkplanning.nps.gov/EVER
. You may also comment via mail to: Everglades National Park FPL Project Planning Team, Attn: Morgan Elmer (DSC-P), P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287; or by hand delivery to Park headquarters, at 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034-6733.
Thank you for your continued interest in Everglades National Park.
Dan B. Kimball
Brien F. Culhane
Chief, Planning and Compliance
Everglades National Park