What is a Master Plan?
A Master Plan is the document that conceptually establishes and guides the orderly development, administration, maintenance, preservation, enhancement, and management of all natural, cultural, and recreational resources of a Corps water resource project. A Master Plan is a land use management document. It is focused on the operations and maintenance of an existing project and is no longer a “new project” document. Master Plans do not include water management operations and associated prime facilities (dam, gates, powerhouses, spillways, etc.). Of critical importance is the need to emphasize that a Master Plan is stewardship driven and must seek to balance recreational development and use with protection and conservation of natural and cultural resources.
Why do we need a new Master Plan?
The current Miami River Lakes Master Plans were completed between 1971-1999, and have been used as guide for recreational and environmental stewardship decisions. Because the master plans are nearly 40-20 years old, the plan includes little information on cultural resources, invasive species, endangered species, wildlife habitat value, jurisdictional wetlands, and other environmental features that have become critically important following the passage of landmark legislation such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. The focus of the old master plan was primarily recreation development, with little attention given to natural and cultural resources. The new master plan will focus on these important issues as well as focusing on updating the recreation analysis. The new master plan will not include detailed recreation plans. This master plan will serve as a dynamic document that guides future development and resource use. The previous master plans and current master plans did not and will not address water level management and flood control as a separate manual is used to regulate water storage and discharge.
Public Involvement in Master Planning Process
Public participation will be a priority in the current Master Planning process. We will be seeking public input from key stakeholders and partners. In addition, open houses or public meetings will also be utilized to gather input from the general public. We really want to know what you want, what your vision is for the future management of recreation and environmental stewardship programs might be, etc.
Master Plan Classification
The master plan identifies classification (i.e. zoning) for the lakes. Public lands are allocated and classified into management categories which, based upon resources available and public needs, will provide for full utilization while protecting project resources. This zoning determines what types of development are permitted – for instance campgrounds are permitted in intensive use areas but not wildlife management zones. The original Master Plan used slightly different zoning terminology than the new plan will use and also included detailed construction diagrams for campgrounds, picnic areas etc., and this level of detail will not be outlined in the new plan. We will again re-assess the project’s environmental attributes, public needs, etc. but will not be producing detailed site designs. Instead the focus will be on gathering public input and developing detailed natural resource inventories to guide in reassessing the future recreational needs and desired future conditions for natural resources.