What is a master plan? A master plan is a strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of recreation, natural and cultural resources at Corps reservoirs and provides a vision for how the Reservoir should look in 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 Michael J. Kirwan Master Plan? The Michael J. Kirwan Dam and Reservoir Master Plan which was originally developed in 1982. The master plan, developed 35 years ago, does not reflect current conditions at the Reservoir. Changes in Corps regulations and community needs necessitate a revision to this master plan. The master plan revision will classify the government lands around the Reservoir based on environmental and socioeconomic considerations, public input and an evaluation of past, present, and forecasted recreation trends. This update seeks to balance recreational development and use with the goal of conservation of natural and cultural resources.
What does updating a master plan mean for future actions taken at the Project? 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 are the objectives of the Master Plan update?
The Michael J. Kirwan Master Plan revision main objectives are:
Conserve the resources of the Reservoir within the current policies and guidelines of the Corps
Accommodate current and projected recreational use patterns with maximum efficiency
Identify and protect cultural and natural resources
Attract maximum participation by the general public