The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, released the new Raystown Lake Master Plan March 18, 2021, which will serve as the guiding document for decision making at the lake for the next 15 to 25 years.
“The revised Raystown Lake Master Plan is the accumulation of a tremendous amount of hard work by the Army Corps team, our partners, stakeholders and members of the public,” said Col. John Litz, Baltimore District commander.
The completed Master Plan is available here: www.nab.usace.army.mil/Raystown-Master-Plan-Revision. The plan can also be found in physical form at the Raystown Lake Visitor Center.
Three significant efforts were conducted in order to properly revise the 1994 plan: a new Boating Carrying Capacity Study, a series of biological inventories, and public input.
Input from the public, including community members and area stakeholders, was incorporated to ensure future management actions are both environmentally sustainable and responsive to public outdoor recreation needs. USACE received nearly 1,000 comments from the initial comment period and more than 150 additional comments during the second comment period. The majority of comments received from both phases of public input focused on the land classification of the Hawn’s Bridge area. Following analysis of comments from the public and agency review of the draft plan – in addition to reviews and analysis of the biological inventories and boat capacity study – no changes were made from the draft plan to the land classifications in the Hawn’s Bridge area within the final revised Master Plan.
The boating carrying capacity study utilized a methodology developed by the Bureau of Reclamation known as the Water and Land Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, and results showed the carrying capacity at Raystown Lake has been reached and exceeded. The biological inventories determine the existence of special status species populations occurring on project lands and whether significant changes in existing populations have occurred.
The updated plan contains an accompanying Environmental Assessment that assessed potential impacts of the revised Raystown Lake Master Plan on the environment, resulting in a finding of no significant impact.
The plan includes a provision for enhanced recreational opportunities through various forms of low impact, passive recreation; and specific recommended future actions such as expanded biking opportunities and boat cleaning stations at the Seven Points Recreation Area. Other recommendations include construction of playground facilities, multi-use trail expansion, and modernization of facilities at the Susquehannock Campground.
A master plan does not appropriate money to any improvements or developments, but effectively portrays where these projects could be authorized if funding or a strategic partnership were to become available for implementation. Master Plans do not change the technical operations of a lake as related to its primary missions of flood-risk management and hydropower. This revision is part of a larger, USACE-wide effort to bring master plans up to date across the country.
Raystown Lake has prevented more than $295 million in flood damages since its completion in 1973. Raystown Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962, and was constructed and is managed by USACE Baltimore District for the purposes of flood-risk management and hydropower.