The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is steward of lands and waters at projects it manages for the nation



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The Lake Washington Ship Canal Master Plan

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Seattle District, is initiating an effort to update and revise the Lake Washington Ship Canal (LWSC) Master Plan. The Master Plan update effort follows guidance set forth in Engineer Regulation (ER) and Engineering Pamphlet (EP) 1130-2-540, Natural Resources Stewardship, Chapter 2, and ER/EP 1130-2-550, Project Operations – Recreation Operations and Maintenance Policies, Chapter 3. This project is a coordinated effort involving team members from the LWSC, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Real Estate, Geospatial Section, and the Planning, Program, and Project Management Division. Estimated duration for this effort is approximately 24 months.

The current Master Plan was approved approximately 20 years ago and must be brought up-to-date.  While the overall purpose and running of the Locks and its land has not changed, the Master Plan is a tool for the responsible stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the area of responsibility of the LWSC.  Over the past couple of decades, there have been natural changes to the existing project conditions, the zone of influence, and new special issues and unique concerns identified.  The purpose of the Master Plan revision is to reflect the current project conditions and provide the projected future conditions of the project.

What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan is a strategic planned land-use management document that guides the management and development of all project recreational, natural and cultural resources throughout the life of a project.
  • It is developed, updated or revised to cover changing conditions at the project
  • Covers broad management objectives and land classification on project lands whether managed by USACE or others
  • Ensures compliance with federal law, policy and regulation applicable to environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation management
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires public involvement

Why are Master Plans important?

Plans provide consistency in a world of frequently changing leadership, and:
  • Help direct project use and development to support environmental sustainability and compatible outdoor recreation
  • Position the project to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities
  • Support projects under intense pressure of competing interests
  • Prevent uninformed reactions to proposals for short-term economic gain that are incompatible with project missions

What are the goals of a Master Plan?

The primary goals are to prescribe an overall land-use management plan, resource objectives, and associated design and management concepts. Goals include:
  • Provide best management practices that can respond to regional needs, resource capabilities and suitabilities, and expressed public interests consistent with authorized project purposes
  • Provide public outdoor recreation opportunities that support project purposes and public demands created by the project itself while sustaining project natural resources
  • Protect and manage project natural and cultural resources through sustainable environmental stewardship programs
  • Recognize the particular qualities, characteristics and potentials of the project
  • Provide consistency and compatibility with national objectives and other state and regional goals and programs

Lake Washington Ship Canal


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