Two Omaha metro area reservoir projects receive funding through NE Water Sustainability Fund

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District will receive $6.7 million from the NE Water Sustainability Fund managed by the NE Natural Resources Commission. The commission approved the funding at their December meeting for Papillion Creek Watershed flood prevention reservoir sites West Papio 6 and West Papio 7 in Sarpy County.


“We are extremely grateful to the commission for this funding. They had many worthy projects to consider and their support for the Omaha area’s flood prevention needs is appreciated,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “These two projects have a rate of return to the taxpayers of 2.31 to 1; so for every dollar spent the taxpayer will receive two dollars and thirty one cents in return on that investment,” he said.


The NE Water Sustainability Fund was created by the NE Legislature to boost state financial involvement in a variety of projects to facilitate Nebraska’s critical water management needs.

“First and foremost, the District will now be able to accelerate the construction of these two reservoirs (WP 6 & WP 7) and we will be able to dedicate additional resources to the preliminary design of five additional priority flood prevention reservoirs which are currently under extreme pressure from development interests,” said Winkler. “Our current floodway mapping study is showing that every reservoir constructed has a net positive improvement in the floodplain going from now into the future,” he said.


The district will use the $6.7 million to complete land rights acquisition and construction for the two reservoir sites. “This Water Sustainability Fund financial assistance will further reduce pressure on property taxes,” said Winkler.


Dam Site WP-6 will be built on the west side of 114th Street, north of Cornhusker Rd. The site will be managed for recreation by the City of Papillion. The lake created by WP-6 will be approximately 34 acres of water surrounded by an additional 69 acres of public parkland.


WP-7 will be built on the east side of 108th Street, south of Cornhusker Road. This project will also be managed for recreation by the City of Papillion. The lake created by WP-7 will be approximately 13 acres of water surrounded by an additional 32 acres of public parkland.      Both reservoirs will enhance flood protection for property and public infrastructure downstream along the West Papio Creek, adding flood protection to residents of the Cities of Papillion and Bellevue.       The projects are in cooperation with the Papillion Creek Watershed Partnership consisting of the NRD, Sarpy County and the Cities of Omaha, Papillion, Bellevue, LaVista, Gretna, Ralston, and Boys Town. The Partnership seeks workable solutions to address flood prevention along with stream and lake water quality that will enhance the quality of life for metro area’s residents.

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Gizzard shad targeted for removal from Wehrspann Lake

The chemical rotenone has been applied at Wehrspann Lake by the NE Game and Parks Commission in order to remove gizzard shad. Wehrspann is managed by the Papio-Missouri River NRD and the district relies on the NE Game and Parks Commission to manage the fishery.

Gizzard shad are susceptible to a low dose of rotenone while fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and crappie are less affected. Low dosages of rotenone are done at low water temperatures to increase its effectiveness on shad and lower impacts on nontarget species.

“Gizzard shad are targeted for removal because they are a detrimental species in small reservoirs such as Wehrspann,” said Daryl Bauer, fisheries outreach program manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “With their high reproductive capability, gizzard shad compete for the same food used by young sport fish such as bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass. The presence of gizzard shad in a small reservoir often results in reduced natural recruitment, growth and body conditions of sport fish.”

Rotenone, derived from the roots of plants that grow in South America, inhibits the uptake of oxygen at the cellular level. It only affects gill-breathing organisms.

Next spring, additional 4-inch largemouth bass will be stocked in Wehrspann.

“Those small bass should have good survival once the gizzard shad have been removed, and they will provide extra predation on any remaining shad,” Bauer said. “Anglers can expect to have good fishing at Wehrspann next spring. We have had very positive results on other waters where it has been done and we expect a great future for the Wehrspann fishery,”