What is a Master Plan? A master plan is the strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of recreation, natural and cultural resources at Corps reservoirs now and into the future. The master plan is a land use management document and does not address water management operations, associated prime facilities (dam, spillway etc.), or shoreline management as those operations are outlined in separate documents. After a master plan is revised, the operational management plan and shoreline management plan would both be revised to be consistent with the goals identified in the master plan.
Why Update the Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake Master Plan? The original Master Plans for Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake are dated 1950 and 1952 respectively. Changes in Corps regulations and community needs necessitate a revision to these master plans. Because these lakes are operated jointly as a storage system providing flood risk management downstream and share a park manager their master plans were combined. The master plan revision will classify the government lands around the lake based on environmental and socioeconomic considerations, public input, and an evaluation of past, present, and forecasted trends.This master plan update is stewardship-driven and seeks to balance recreational development and use with the goal of conservation of natural and cultural resources.
The Loyalhanna Lake and Conemaugh River Lake Master Plan Revision main objectives are:
Improve and modernize day use and campground facilities through addition of amenities
Expand opportunities for low density recreation: hiking, birding, hunting, and fishing
Seek opportunities to expand connections to rail-to-trail systems
Seek opportunities to provide additional access sites for kayaks, electric motor watercraft and other vessels
Avoid excess sedimentation at boat launches
What does updating a master plan mean for future actions taken at the lakes? A master plan provides a set of recommended actions (e.g. trail extension, development of equestrian area, leasing, concessions, etc.). Recommended actions included in the master plan are quicker and easier to carry out. In essence, a master plan provides pre-approval for future actions under the assumption that they have already been analyzed and found to be appropriate for Federal land. Engineer Regulation 200-2-2, 9.d. provides categorical exclusion from further analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act for: "All Operations and Maintenance grants, general plans, agreements, etc. necessary to carry out land use, development and other measures proposed in project authorization documents, project design memoranda, master plans are reflected in the project NEPA documents."
Master plans also detail the responsibilities pursuant to Federal laws to preserve, conserve, restore, maintain, manage, and develop lands, waters, and resources. For example, if a project has active bald Eagle nests, the master plan will identify areas that must be avoided and the methods of mitigating impacts to the species.
What input from stakeholders went into the master plan? Pittsburgh District held Initial Public Scoping Meetings in Summer 2015 and meetings to discuss the draft updated Master Plan in Spring 2017. Indian nations; federal, state, and local agencies; private and non-profit organizations; interest groups; and the public were asked to provide input during the scoping phase of the master plan update and feedback into the updated master plan. Click below to see the notes from the stakeholders meetings that helped to shape the management and resources objectives you’re reviewing on this website today:
June 2015 - Scoping Meeting Notes
March 2017 - Draft Master Plan Release Meeting Notes