Last week I wrote about a master planning effort for Monroe Lake that was underway, and seemingly flying well under the radar, sponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the owners of the lake.
After holding an open house on December 15, the USACE finally put a draft of the master plan on their Web site:
Although the Web site still states that the public comment period for the master plan only extends to December 30, 2015, attendees of the open house received a message on December 22 stating that the public comment period had been extended to January 14, 2016. Comments should be sent to the email address MonroeLakeMP.Comments@woolpert.com.
Note that the language I referred to in my last posting on this topic, “Indianapolis reserves the right to withdraw water in the future, but currently does not do so.” is still in the draft posted on the USACE Web site. After talking to project consultants at the open house, they acknowledged that this statement is poorly phrased — that it is the State of Indiana that has the right to withdraw water on behalf of the City of Indianapolis, based on the statutory framework in place that authorized the original cost-sharing agreement that created the lake in the first place. I and hopefully others will submit written comment to request that the language be made more precise and accompanied by specific references to the statutory authorization for any water withdrawal.
This is the message that open house attendees received:
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Monroe Lake MP <MonroeLakeMP.Comments@woolpert.com> Date: Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 12:24 PM Subject: RE: The plan Thank you for attending the Open House, and/or using the provided email to send comments/questions. This email is being sent to all of you. Attached is a pdf of the Preliminary Draft Master Plan. Please use this email address for comments so that they can be documented. It will not be feasible to record comments on other media and will, therefore, not be and included in the appendix of this master plan. The comment period is being extended to January 14, 2016 as a courtesy to the public. There are no proposed changes to the current uses within the Reservoir, and this is not a regulatory document. As stated in the Draft Master Plan: "This plan guides and articulates the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps or USACE) responsibilities pursuant to federal laws at the Monroe Lake Project.... This plan focuses on goals and objectives. Details of design, management and administration, and implementation are addressed in the Monroe Lake Operational Management Plan (OMP)...This Master Plan does not address the specifics of regional water quality, shoreline management or water-level management." The Master Plan can also be viewed on the Monroe Lake web site at: http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/missions/civilworks/recreation/lakes/monroelake.aspx