The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is hosting a public meeting to solicit comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement which discusses the project in detail. All interested persons are invited to attend, make comments and ask questions.
The meeting is at 7:00 PM on Thursday, May 2 at 1921 Kissimmee Valley Lane, Kissimmee, FL 34744. Comments may be submitted at the meeting. The closing date for public comments is May 27, 2019.
The draft Environmental Impact Statement is available here.
Additional information is available from:
The draw down plan is designed to improve the East Lake Toho habitat for fish and wildlife by removing vegetation and organic material (muck) from the lake shore. The plan incorporates a water level reduction of two feet greater than the current annual minimum to allow for a combination of vegetation spray and burn, soil and vegetation scraping and the creation of two spoils islands within the lake on the eastern side.
A low water level of 53 feet will be achieved in mid-February, 2020 and held at that level until June 1, 2020. During this low water period vegetation can be most efficiently scraped and/or burned. Beginning June 1, the water level will be allowed to rise at the rate of one foot per month to restore the normal seasonal level of 57 feet by October 2020.
Between February and June 2020 several hundred feet of shoreline around the circumference of the lake (including Fells Cove and Lake Ajay) will be exposed that is normally under water. The low level will provide access for scraping, herbicide application and dead plant material burning at selected locations around the lake.
A weir will be constructed across the canal leading to Lake Runnymede, preventing access and maintaining it's normal water level. Vegetation removal will not occur at Lake Runnymede.
Dredging is expected to occur near the St. Cloud Lakefront Park boat ramp to ensure it remains operable during the low water period. The ramp at Chisholm Park will likely not be available, due to lack of depth and because the area will be used for equipment staging. The ramp at the Boggy Creek RV Park may not have sufficient water depth for use.
Along the east shoreline, removal will be by mechanical scraping. The material will be consolidated by creating two offshore islands, one offshore near Chisholm Park Trail and the other offshore near Dan Smith Road.
Along the north and west shorelines, removal will be by first spraying the plant material with herbicide to kill the plants and then burning the dead plant material. No mechanical scraping will occur along the north and west shoreline.
The south shoreline of East Lake Toho and the shorelines of Fells Cove and Lake Ajay will not receive scraping or burning.
In order to allow homeowners to assist in this project, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is granting permits to allow the voluntarily removal of cattails and/or related muck. This is a one time only permission for use during the draw down that allows clearing widths wider than the 50 ft limit that is the traditional maximum. Up to the entire width of the owner's property can be permitted. This is a one-time permit to clear paths to open water wider than would otherwise be permitted. Vegetation will grow back in future years. Plant and muck removal is expensive and must be done in accordance with state regulations. Nevertheless, some homeowners have already applied for the special drawn down permits.
The application can be done on-line at myfwc.com. To simplify the process and improve the likelihood of success, it is suggested that people contact a staff assistant at 407-858-6170. The assistant can talk you through the various on-line screens. It will take a few weeks to be reviewed and approved.
For more information about permitted vegetation and organic material removal, contact: