C.O.E. and Friends of Lake Ouachita Agreement Changes


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on September 13, 2013  that it lacked authority to permit the non-profit, cooperating association Friends of Lake Ouachitato reinvest user fees collected from users of the Crystal Springs and Tompkins Bend campgrounds at Lake Ouachita.

The agreement is being reviewed to determine if it should be modified or terminated.

The  USACE legal review of the cooperative joint management programs for recreational facilities revealed that the user fees must be deposited into the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the U.S. Treasury.

These fees can no longer be retained by the non-profit, cooperating association and used for operational and maintenance purposes.

 In October 2011, the Vicksburg District leased the Crystal Springs campground to Friends of Lake Ouachita under a cooperative agreement for joint management.  The agreement authorized Friends of Lake Ouachita to collect user fees and reinvest them in the campgrounds for maintenance and improvements.
In October 2012, the agreement was expanded to include the Tompkins Bend campground.

Since 2009, USACE partnered with non-profit organizations to cooperatively manage recreational facilities throughout the nation. This cooperative joint management program is based on a federal law that permits local entities to work in partnership with USACE to construct, operate, and maintain recreational facilities at Corps lakes and reservoirs. It is designed to maximize use of these recreation sites, giving the public better opportunities than USACE alone can provide.

The error identified in the legal review relates only to the reinvestment of user fees, the cooperative management concept itself is unaffected.

The Vicksburg District, in cooperation with Friends of Lake Ouachita, is assessing the impacts of the required change on Crystal Springs and Tompkins Bend campgrounds.

Ben Sanders Striper Guide Lake Ouachita
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e-mail: bsand715@gmail.com

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