Master Plan updates underway

Rock Island District
Published Sept. 15, 2012
Camping at Cherry Glen Recreation area at Saylorville Lake.

Camping at Cherry Glen Recreation area at Saylorville Lake.

(September 2012) An effort is underway to update the Corps Master Plans for Saylorville Lake and Lake Red Rock, two of the Districts flood risk management reservoirs. The current plans were completed in 1984 and 1976 respectively, serving as guides for recreational and environmental stewardship decisions. Many things have since changed including land use changes within the watershed and on project lands, adjacent community growth and development, as well as an increasing demand for recreational opportunities.

Master Plans are land use management documents that incorporate a shared vision of the public, stakeholders and Corps.

“The new plans will guide future development and use of resources, balancing recreational development and use with the protection and conservation of natural and cultural resources,” said Wendy Frohlich, biologist, Environmental Compliance Section.

The updated plans will take into account things like cultural resources, invasive species, endangered species, wildlife habitat value, jurisdictional wetlands and other environmental features that were not prevalent when first developed. The legislative passage of the Clean Water, National Environmental Policy and Endangered Species acts have reshaped much of how public and private lands are managed.

An integral part of the Master Planning process is public involvement. Key stakeholders are engaged through a focus group process designed to draw out shared visions of the resources. In addition, public input is collected at public meetings, open houses, and feedback forms located on the reservoir Web sites.

Saylorville Lake is in the initial stages of updating their Master Plan and is currently focusing on gaining public input through questionnaires either filled out online at the Saylorville Lake Web site or via hard copies available at each of the four campgrounds. Along with the questionnaires Saylorville is in the early stages of writing scopes of work for both a recreation carrying capacity study as well as broad environmental surveys.

“We are excited that the master plan budget has been funded for FY13,” said Jeff Rose, operations manager, Saylorville Lake. “Saylorville Lake has undergone many changes since 1984 such as visitor use patterns and rapid growth of surrounding communities impacting project resources. Our new Master Plan will help us continue to provide a quality recreation experience while at the same time protecting the natural resources through new inventories and reassessing land use classifications and zoning.”

Lake Red Rock is about one year into updating their Master Plan and is currently working on draft land classification alternatives. The scoping process, along with extensive inventories of the resources at Lake Red Rock, has allowed the team to gather agency and public input in order to formulate and support the draft land classifications. These, along with other information, will be presented at an upcoming public meeting for further comment.

“This initiative has set the table for us to build trust into the future. That trust will determine our partnership success and goals accomplished over the duration of the Master Plan,” said Jamie Gyolai, community planner, Lake Red Rock. “At Lake Red Rock we think about partnering as a way of doing business. We have worked hard to engage our stakeholders from the beginning of the Master Plan update and continue to involve them as we work through the process.”

Master Plans are required for civil works projects and other fee-owned lands for which the Corps of Engineers has administrative responsibility for management of natural and man-made resources (Engineer Pamphlet 1130-2-550, chapter 3).