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Dear Friends of Everglades National Park:

The National Park Service (NPS), in compliance with the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, plans to prepare an environmental
assessment (EA) to evaluate options and potential impacts for acquiring
lands owned by the Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) within the East
Everglades Addition of Everglades National Park. This will include the
potential exchange of lands authorized in the Omnibus Public Lands Act of
2009 and other reasonable alternatives.

The Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act of 1989 expanded
the boundaries of the park to include approximately 109,600 acres, and
through that act and additional legislation authorized the NPS and U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers to acquire lands within the East Everglades
Addition. FPL owns approximately 320 acres of undeveloped land within the
East Everglades Addition. Because the FPL property is currently undeveloped
and is needed for the restoration and enhancement of the ecosystem (through
improvement of natural hydrologic conditions) the NPS is seeking to acquire
the FPL property, manage it as part of the park, and maintain it in its
undeveloped state.

The Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009 (Sec. 7107) authorized the Secretary
of the Interior to exchange NPS lands in the Addition for the FPL property
and to convey a perpetual easement on lands contiguous to the NPS exchange
lands for the purpose of vegetation management. The potential land exchange
would be subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary may require.
Additional information about the project is provided in the attached
newsletter.

The NPS is seeking public input on the proposed acquisition and the
alternatives and issues to be addressed in the environmental assessment.
There are several ways to participate in this process and make your voice
heard.

Public Meeting: The public is invited to attend a public scoping meeting on
July 9, 2009:

Location: John D. Campbell Agricultural Center
18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, Florida 33030
Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The first hour of the meeting will be an open house and NPS staff will be
available to discuss the project, answer questions and record public
comments. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a brief presentation on the project,
followed by a public comment session.

You may submit your comments electronically at the NPS Planning,
Environment, and Public Comment website http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
Once on the website, select “Everglades NP” from the drop down box, then
Acquisition of Florida Power and Light Lands/Environmental Assessment”, and
“Open for Public Comment” box. A paper copy of the newsletter may be
requested by calling the park at 305-242-7700. If prompted by voice mail,
press “2” at 1st prompt and “5” at 2nd prompt to leave mailing information.
Please state that you are requesting the newsletter for the Acquisition of
Florida Power and Light Lands/Environmental Assessment Project.

If you are unable to access this website, please submit written comments by
July 28, 2009 to:

National Park Service
Denver Service Center
Florida Power and Light Planning Team
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287

Once the environmental assessment is completed, it will be made available
for public review for a 30-day period.

Your opinions matter a great deal to us, and we look forward to hearing
from you.

For more information or questions about the proposed Acquisition of FPL
Lands / EA , contact Brien Culhane, Chief, Planning and Environmental
Compliance at 305-242-7717 or [email protected]

Sincerely,

Brien F. Culhane

(See attached file: EvergladesNewsletter_FINAL.pdf)

Brien F. Culhane, AICP
Chief, Planning and Compliance
Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, Florida 33034
Office: 305-242-7717
Fax: 305-242-7711
 
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