Pedestrian Bridge and Trail Officially Open for Valley Residents

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD), City of Valley, DC West Community Schools, YMCA of Greater Omaha, and other community partners today celebrated the grand opening of Valley’s new pedestrian bridge and trail.

(From left to right) Papio NRD General Manager John Winkler, Past Board President of YMCA of Greater Omaha Ford Fischer, Former Congressman Lee Terry, Papio NRD Board of Directors Rich Tesar, Papio NRD Natural Resources Planner Eric Williams, Valley Mayor Cindy Grove, DC West Schools Superintendent Dr. Melissa Poloncic, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha Rebecca Deterding

The 450-foot pedestrian bridge and trail provide a major community connection point that improves safety, recreation, and active transportation for Valley residents.

“The pedestrian bridge spans the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and East Reichmuth Road (old Hwy 275),” said Eric Williams, natural resources planner for the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. “The City of Valley needed a solution to literally bridge the gaps between major parts of the community, especially a safe route that prevented kids from directly crossing the rail lines or walking on the highway overpass. The bridge and trail provide these safety measures as well as increased recreational opportunities. So, it’s a double win for Valley residents,” said Williams.

“The City of Valley is extremely excited to have the trail and bridge finally open,” said Valley Mayor Cindy Grove. “This has been a multiple year project and residents have been eagerly anticipating the opening. Being able to connect the YMCA with the school and south side of the community with a safe place for residents to walk and bike has been much needed for several years.”

Williams says the project is a great example of the power of community partnerships and one that came at no cost to Valley taxpayers. The total cost of the pedestrian bridge and trail is approximately $7 million, with a majority of the cost from federal transportation funding, and the remaining contribution from the Papio NRD.

 

“I am entering my ninth year as superintendent and this is a project that was in planning when I arrived,” said Dr. Melissa Poloncic, superintendent of DC West Schools. “To see this large-scale project finally come together is really a wonderful thing for our community!”

“We are so excited for the completion of the trail and the impact it will have,” said Rebecca Deterding, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha.  “This has been highly anticipated, and we look forward to it increasing access and collaboration between the YMCA, the school and the community.”

 

 

 

Public Invited to Open Houses to Discuss New Draft Flood Maps

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD), the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR) and FEMA will host two public open houses this month to give property owners the opportunity to talk to experts about new draft flood maps, learn about their flood risk and ask floodplain-related questions.

FEMA released the preliminary flood maps on February 17, 2022, to update the previous maps based on data from the 1990s. Updated floodplain maps are essential to provide property owners, floodplain managers, realtors, insurance agents, engineers, and others a much more accurate, reliable, and available source of floodplain information.

With better technology, an additional 25+ years of weather data, and various flood mitigation projects constructed, the preliminary maps will enable Omaha metro area communities to better manage flood risk. The updated maps could affect flood insurance requirements for property owners.

The preliminary maps and other relevant information for property owners can be found at https://papiofloodmaps.org/.

The two open houses are scheduled for:

June 15, 2022
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources Center
8901 S. 154th St.
Omaha, NE 68138

June 21, 2022
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center
University of Nebraska Omaha
6400 University Dr. S.
Omaha, NE 68182

Community members will have the opportunity speak with floodplain mapping experts from the Papio NRD, NeDNR and flood insurance experts from FEMA. Attendees will be able to work individually with these experts to learn about flood risk and flood insurance information for their specific properties.

 

Owls of Nebraska: Our Final Chalco Summer Series Session

Meet Finn, our owl ambassador, learn all about owl adaptations and dissect owl pellets at our final Chalco Summer Series session. Free fun for the whole family.

Schedule of Events

August 3 at 6 p.m.
Owls of Nebraska

The presentation will take place at the Natural Resources Center at Chalco Hills Recreation Area in Omaha (8901 S. 154th Street).

Registration is required to attend and our last series filled up quickly. Please register for the free event at this link . 

 

 

Papio NRD Names New Assistant General Manager

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District today announced the promotion of Amanda Grint to assistant general manager.

Grint, formerly water resources engineer, has worked for the Papio NRD for 15 years. She fills the position following the sudden passing of Marlin Petermann in December. Petermann worked for the Papio NRD for 47 years, the majority as assistant general manager.

Amanda Grint

“While the circumstances under which this position became available are extremely tragic and unfortunate, the District pulled together and immediately started the interview process,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “The District was quite fortunate to have extremely qualified and capable professionals apply for the position and it was a very competitive pool of applicants. We are very excited to work with Amanda in her new role and look forward to moving the District to new heights with her knowledge, expertise and experience,” said Winkler.

“I am honored to have been selected as assistant general manager for the Papio NRD,” said Grint. “It’s certainly a heartbreaking turn of events with the passing of Marlin. I’m grateful for the many things I learned from him and throughout my time at the District. I’m anxious to work on District projects on a deeper level that improve our communities and quality of life, such as flood mitigation, trails, conservation efforts, enhancing our natural resources, and forming public/private partnerships,” said Grint.

Grint received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a registered Professional Engineer, Certified Floodplain Manager, and member of the Association of State Floodplain Managers and Nebraska Floodplain and Stormwater Managers Association.

Public Encouraged to Start Conserving Water

Below Normal Precipitation and Warmer than Normal Temperatures Will Impact the Platte River

 An Eastern Nebraska group, the Lower Platte River Consortium, is encouraging the public to start now in proactively conserving water. Projections show that warmer temperatures and below normal precipitation are expected to continue through at least May and June.

We all rely on Platte River flows. The Platte River is the lifeline for the state of Nebraska. A majority of the population relies on groundwater from wells, which are replenished by the Lower Platte River, including the communities of Omaha, Lincoln, and Fremont. The Platte River also provides habitat for fish and wildlife, recreation, and recharges wells for irrigation in the Platte River valley.

Weather has a big impact on Platte River flows. Contributing factors include runoff from rainfall within the basin and snowpack in the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colo., and Laramie and Casper, Wyo. Nebraska has experienced an unusually dry fall and very mild winter, with little snow and rainfall. Current conditions in the state are dry, including lower levels of moisture in the soil.

River flows can decrease to the point where the river will not adequately replenish the wells. Flows in the Platte River are currently adequate to recharge our wells; what those flows will be like later if dry conditions continue is unknown.

Current long-range predictions through May and June indicate above normal temperatures, and below normal precipitation for the state. Dry and warm conditions will have an impact on the amount of water in the Platte River that is available for its various needs and uses.

Given the current dryness, the group asks for the public’s assistance now, knowing it is dry, to use only what you need. If dry conditions persist, the group will communicate this and ask additional assistance from the public to conserve water.

“The consortium will continue to work together to monitor and share information with the public as we progress into these spring and summer months,” states Paul Zillig, General Manager of the Lower Platte South NRD. “Our group recognizes the need to be more proactive and communicate with the public so we can all work together to ensure conservation. We need to start now conserving water, knowing that current long-term forecasts are telling us it’s going to get warmer, and we won’t have much rain.”

The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources has launched an online dashboard available to the public that displays real-time information that the department monitors and collects throughout the state. The dashboard includes current up-to-date drought conditions, common drought indicators, and the streamflow projection for Platte River at Ashland. The data reflects the conditions throughout the Lower Platte basin and the entire state. The dashboard also provides important links to other local and national climate-related resources. The department will continue to closely monitor streamflow conditions throughout the summer.

To view the dashboard, visit the Department of Natural Resources’ site: (dnr.nebraska.gov/water-planning/lower-platte-river-basin).

The Lower Platte River Consortium will continue to monitor the conditions and its entities will work with individuals and communities to conserve water as necessary.

About the Consortium

Formed in 2016, the consortium consists of six different entities (agencies) that monitor and rely on the Lower Platte River for their water supply. These agencies include:

  • Lower Platte South NRD
  • City of Lincoln Water System
  • Lower Platte North NRD
  • Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
  • Papio-Missouri River NRD
  • Metropolitan Utilities District

 

 

Elkhorn River Access Sites to Open April 1

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District will open all river access sites to the Elkhorn River for the season on April 1st.

The Elkhorn River access sites include:

  • Elkhorn Crossing (intersection of 252nd & Bennington Road)
  • West Maple Road (West Maple Road northeast of Waterloo)
  • Graske Crossing (southeast corner of West Dodge Road & west of 204th St.)   

High river flows occasionally force the Papio NRD to temporarily close the river access sites for safety purposes. Park closures for Elkhorn River sites are called for when the Elkhorn River gauge at Waterloo reads a stage of 5 feet or greater. Also, river access ramps may need to be cleaned of silt, debris and safety inspected before reopening.

Status of the access sites – open or closed? 

You can find out whether the access sites are open or closed throughout the season here:

The access sites will be open from April 1 through November 1 from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Cost Share Programs for FY 2023

Urban Drainageway Program, Hell Creek Channel Restoration Project

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District has eight (8) cost share programs available to assist government agencies in addressing natural resources problems and to increase recreational opportunities.

Please see the annual letter which includes a description of each program, program guidelines, and application forms.

The deadline for applications under all programs is March 18, 2022.

Applications Open for 2022 Celebrate Trees Program

 

Juniper trees planted in 2021 at Pioneer Park in Fort Calhoun through the Celebrate Trees Grant Program.

Applications are open for the 2022 Celebrate Trees grant program administered by the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD). The program provides funding for tree planting on public land.

Parks, cemeteries, tribal lands, schools, libraries, villages, and cities within Papio NRD are encouraged to apply. Grants are awarded a maximum of $2,500 or $250.00/tree. Matching funds are not required, but applicants should plan to do mulching, staking, watering, and other care to ensure a successful planting.

Applications are funded using a ranking system that places a higher emphasis on public parks and the replacement of diseased and storm-damaged trees. The deadline to submit applications is February 15th, 2022.

Please contact Kalani Fortina (402) 426-4782 ext. 101 or Kalani.Fortina@usda.gov for more information.

 

Tree Seedlings Available for Order

Winter is the perfect time to plan for windbreaks or wildlife habitat planting. The Papio NRD is accepting orders for tree/shrub seedlings now through February 25th. Through the Papio NRD tree program, landowners can purchase bare-root seedlings for $24/bundle before tax. There are 25 seedlings of the same species per bundle. Multiple species are available this year.

Papio NRD staff are available to assist with tree planting plans and planting services. For more information or to receive an order form, contact Kalani Fortina at (402) 426-4782 ext. 101.

Omaha Beltline Trail Construction Expected to Begin in 2022

The Papio NRD is partnering with the City of Omaha to develop the Beltline Trail to provide recreation, active transportation, and access to natural resources to people within the District. The trail creates a connection from the intersection of Hamilton St. at Military Ave., to the North Omaha Transit Center.

The proposed trail alignment follows the former Missouri Pacific Railroad corridor and will be constructed in multiple phases. Phase 1 of the project was bid in the fall of 2021 and construction of this phase is expected to begin in 2022. The remaining phases of the project are outlined in the master plan.

 

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