image description

Army Corps of Engineers Releases Jennings Randolph Master Plan

September 9th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the new Jennings Randolph Lake Master Plan that will serve as a guiding document for decision making at the lake for the next 15 to 25 years.

“Completing this revision to bring our previous 1997 Master Plan up to date with current public feedback and biological studies is of utmost importance,” said Jennings Randolph Lake (JRL) operations project manager, Ken Fernandez. “Now, enhancing existing recreation sites and improving infrastructure and utilities that were not outlined in the old plan can be authorized in the future.”

The revised Master Plan provides a framework for consistent, responsible decision-making at JRL that includes land use classifications that govern the way land is managed and used to provide good stewardship and outdoor recreation to meet the needs of the public.

JRL’s Master Plan includes four key objectives to meet public needs and foster environmental sustainability: improving infrastructure and utilities; enhancing existing recreation sites and amenities; expanding recreational opportunities in key areas; and investing in key operational and support facilities.

Some examples of specific enhancement projects discussed in the Master Plan include providing power and water to all Howell Run Picnic Area pavilions; expanding parking at Shaw beach; establishing a boat-in primitive camping site at Peninsula B; and creating an expanded beach area with parking at newly named “Dragon Head Beach.”

It is important to note that the Master Plan does not appropriate money to any improvements or developments discussed in the plan, but effectively portrays where these projects could be authorized if funding or a strategic partnership were to become available for implementation.

The JRL community provided significant input into the enhancements and opportunities included within the Master Plan. An open house and public comment period were hosted in October 2018 to gain initial feedback and suggestions from the public for the Master Plan. In February 2019, a town hall and second comment period were hosted to solicit feedback on the draft Master Plan.

Master Plans do not change the technical operations of a lake as related to its primary missions of flood risk management, water quality, low flow augmentation, water supply, and recreation. The revision is a part of a larger, Corps-wide effort to bring master plans up to date across the country.

The revised Master Plan contains an accompanying Environmental Assessment that assessed the potential impacts of the 2019 JRL Master Plan, resulting in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The process of revising JRL’s Master Plan and conducting an Environment Assessment was contracted to John Gallup & Associates (JG&A) with Army Corps Master Plan Revision team oversight.       

The final Master Plan, previous master plans and additional information can be found on the project website:

About Jennings Randolph Lake

JRL has prevented more than $403 million of flood damages since its construction completion in 1981. JRL was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962, and was constructed and is managed by USACE for the purposes of flood risk management, water quality, low flow augmentation, water supply, and recreation.

Located in Garrett County, Maryland, and Mineral County, West Virginia, on the North Branch Potomac River, the JRL project consists of a rolled earth and rockfill dam, rising 296 feet from the lake bottom. With a full conservation pool, the lake, controlling a drainage area of 263 square miles, is about 5.5 miles long and has a surface area of 952 acres.

USACE operates and maintains six recreation areas at JRL, including a campground, three overlooks, a picnic area, a beach, and a boat launch. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources constructed and operates a boat launch to provide access to the lake from the Maryland side of the project.

Leave a Reply