Table Rock master plan under revision

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, plans to revise the Table Rock Lake Master Plan.

The master plan guides the classification and management of government-owned and leased lands around the lake and may affect future recreational opportunities and natural resource management. An environmental assessment of potential impacts of the draft plan will also be prepared.

The master plan is the guidance document that describes how the resources of the lake will be managed in the future and provides the vision for how the lake should look in the future. The master plan does not address the details of how and where shoreline use permits may be issued, however, it does set the stage for implementation of the shoreline management program.

After the master plan is revised, the shoreline management plan would be revised to be consistent with the goals identified in the master plan when funding becomes available.

Development of the revised master plan will include: consideration of regional and ecosystem needs; project resource capabilities; and public interests and desires.

The plan's main objectives are:

* To make maximum use of the resources of the lake within the current policies and guidelines of the Corps of Engineers

* Accommodate current and projected use patterns with maximum efficiency

* Identify and protect cultural and natural resources

* Attract maximum participation by the general public and local government in project development management.

The current Table Rock Lake Master Plan was developed over 30 years ago and original estimates of future population and land use have not aligned with current demographics.

For example, the current master plan estimated that the lake would see approximately 20 million visitors annually by the year 2020, however, current visitation is already at 40 to 50 million visitors annually for recreational activities.

Revisions to the master plan 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.

Lands may be classified into one of several categories: project operations; high density recreation; environmentally sensitive areas; multiple resource management lands; low density recreation; wildlife management; future or inactive recreation areas; vegetative management lands; water surface; restricted water areas; designated no-wake zones; fish and wildlife sanctuary; or open recreation.

These land classifications will update the shoreline management plan, which provides the policies under which shoreline use permits may be issued for boat docks or shoreline vegetation modification.

Three meetings have been set up for this review.

The first is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Reeds Spring High School, located at 20277 State Hwy 413 in Reeds Spring.

The second will take place starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29 at Shell Knob Elementary School, located at 24400 State Hwy 39 in Shell Knob.

The final meeting has been set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Dewey Short Visitor's Center, located at 4500 State Hwy 165 in Branson. All facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.

The meetings are open to the public. Attendees will learn the details of the master planning process and provide input to the master plan vision for future land use and management along the shorelines of Table Rock Lake. Public input will help define the Table Rock Lake Master Plan Update scheduled for public review in the summer of 2013.

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