Stretch of MoPAC Trail Closed Through End of Year

The Sarpy Wastewater Agency has informed the Papio NRD that the MoPAC Trail in/near Springfield will be closed until the end of the year. The trail will be closed from Capehart Road south to Fairview Road until December 31, 2022, due to the agency’s installation of a sanitary sewer line.

The closure will result in no access to/from the trail between these major street crossings. Anyone who would like to use the section of the trail from Capehart to the north (off the top of the map), or from Fairview to the south (off the bottom of the map) will be able to do so.

The entire length of the MoPac Trail along Hwy 31 stretching to and across the Lied Bridge is open for use.



Roller Crimper Soon Available to Farmers

Roller Crimper photo courtesy of Thomas Hennig.

If you planted cover crops this fall and would like to save some money next spring and improve your soil quality on your fields, a Roller Crimper might be the way to go. A Roller Crimper is an alternative option to terminate cover crops without costly herbicides or tillage in the spring. By crimping cover crops and rolling them over like a blanket on a field, it can improve weed suppression and reduce moisture evaporation from the soil. In a nutshell, it can be a win-win scenario.

Don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to try out a new piece of equipment? You’ll be happy to know that with the assistance of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), the Papio NRD has placed an order for a 31-foot Roller Crimper, which should be delivered this Fall. It will be available for local farmers to rent at very little cost.

We’ll be providing further details early next year on how to go about renting this Roller Crimper. You don’t have to do your entire field – maybe give it a try on a few acres and make your own judgement. It might just be something worth investing in for the future. Call Armando Zarco with any questions at (402) 350-3695.




New Director Fills Vacancy on Papio NRD Board

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors announces a new Director filled its Subdistrict 7 vacancy.

The Board selected Josh Henningsen, an Omaha lawyer who works for the Nebraska Legislature as a committee legal counsel. Henningsen took the oath of office at Thursday’s board meeting. He replaces Danny Begley, who resigned in August.

Subdistrict 7’s boundaries roughly comprise of the Dundee/Benson neighborhoods to west of I-680 on Dodge Street.

Vacancy on Papio NRD Board of Directors

A vacancy exists on the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District’s Board of Directors for the Director elected from Subdistrict #7.  The vacancy will be filled by the Board of Directors.  The person appointed must be a registered elector and reside in Subdistrict #7.  A map of Subdistrict #7 can be found at . The term of the office to be filled will expire in 2024.

Persons interested in being considered for appointment to this position should submit a letter of application to the District.  The letter must be submitted to the Board of Directors at the District’s principal office, 8901 S. 154th Street, Omaha, NE 68138, postmarked no later than September 29, 2022 or delivered to the District office by 4:00 p.m. on September 29, 2022. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call John Winkler at 402-444-6222.


Papio NRD Decreases Property Tax Levy

Board Approves Proposed 2023 Budget

At its September 8th meeting, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD) Board of Directors voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2023 general operating budget that includes a decrease in the Papio NRD property tax levy.

“We realize that historically high inflation is negatively impacting many of our constituents’ finances,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “Through methodical and conservative financial management this budget allows the Papio NRD to lower its property tax levy while simultaneously funding critical public safety projects. This fiscal year’s total budget requirements, operating budget, and property tax levy are all lower than last fiscal year,” said Winkler.

For 17 out of 18 years, the Papio NRD has either decreased or kept the tax levy the same. The District will drop its property tax mill levy by 2.6% this fiscal year.

“The Papio NRD’s budgeting philosophy has been to levy only what is needed to adequately fund vital flood mitigation, conservation, erosion and sediment control projects, and the prudent management of our state’s critical natural resources,” said Winkler.

The Papio NRD’s FY23 property tax levy would drop to .0348 per $100 of assessed valuation from the District’s FY22 property tax levy of 0.357 per $100 of assessed valuation. Under this budget, a homeowner in the District with property valued at $150,000 would pay $52.14 a year or $4.34 a month in property taxes next year to support Papio NRD projects, programs, and services. The budget calls for an estimated $30 million in revenue from the Papio NRD’s property tax levy. The total operating budget is estimated at $80.1 million.

The property tax levy is based on an estimated 8.57% increase in valuations across the District, which includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington, and Dakota counties, plus the eastern 60% of Burt and Thurston counties.

The Papio NRD receives less than 2% of all property taxes collected within the District’s six-county area. The remaining 98% goes to schools, cities, counties, and other taxing entities.

Bellevue Loop Trail to Remain Closed Through October

Public is reminded not to use the trail until all remaining work is complete


The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD) and the City of Bellevue Public Works Department would like to remind all area residents that the Bellevue Loop Trail will remain closed until all remaining trail work and levee improvements on and around the trail are completed.

The levee and trail work are expected to be completed by the end of October. For public safety, residents are not to access the trail or levee until the Papio NRD has provided notice that it is open for public use.

Additionally, barricades are in place indicating the trail is closed. Residents are not to move or tamper with any barricades or other warning signs. The City of Bellevue Police Department will continue to monitor access points to the trail/levee construction site and may issue citations to trespassers. All of these measures are in place for the safety of the public.

We understand the public’s eagerness to use the trail and are working as quickly as possible to complete the levee system that will better protect the City of Bellevue and Offutt Air Force Base from another major flooding event. We thank the public for its cooperation and patience during the construction of this project.




Papio NRD Program Makes Rural Intersections Safer

Pollinator Safety Corners Program

In late summer when corn is high, four-way intersections in rural counties can become dangerous. Tall crops obstruct the line of sight needed at these intersections. The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, along with Pheasants Forever, The Nebraska Environmental Trust, and Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, offer a cost-share program to improve safety while also benefitting the ecosystem.

Due to this one-acre Pollinator Safety Corner, drivers have a better line of sight. Photo by Armando Zarco.

The Pollinator Safety Corners Program allows landowners to take one to three acres at a four-way intersection out of crop production and convert it into a mix of short native grasses or pollinator habitat. Landowners receive 75% cost-share on seed mix. In addition, the program provides an annual payment of $250/acre for five years. Landowners within the 319 Papillion Creek Watershed receive $350/acre annually. With your participation, we can make intersections safer for our communities and beneficial for pollinators.

Contact our office at (402) 426-4782 for more information.

Free Scrap Tire Collection to Be Held in Sarpy County


A free scrap tire collection will take place in Sarpy County thanks to a partnership between the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, Sarpy County, and the Sarpy County Fair Board.

The tire collection will be held at the Sarpy County Fairgrounds in Springfield, NE, on September 9th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The collection is for Sarpy County residents only.

The following are important details and instructions for those wanting to take part in the collection:

  • Sarpy County residents must bring a driver’s license or most recent utility bill for proof of residence
  • There is no limit on the number of tires residents can bring to the collection
  • Residents are asked to have a tire count at the time of check-in
  • Rims or tubes are not allowed
  • Unloading of tires will not be provided
  • Dealers or resellers are not allowed

Residents are to enter the Sarpy County Fairgrounds at Main Street and Railroad and exit at South Gate and Pflug Road.

The tire collection was funded by a grant from the Nebraska Dept. of Environment & Energy. For more information, contact the Papio NRD at 402-444-6222 or www.


Bye Bye Becic. Happy Retirement!

After 38 years working in the NRD system, Jim Becic, environmental coordinator extraordinaire, is retiring and looking forward to restoring and spending more time in his own habitat.

Jim worked for five years at the Middle Missouri River Tributaries NRD and then moved to Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District when the two NRDs merged. To say he accomplished a lot is an understatement.

So, what made Jim stay at the Papio NRD all these years?

Jim: There is really no other public entity that currently acquires and/or restores habitat as a priority.  Being a biologist, working as a part of the NRD system is a unique opportunity. While at this NRD, we’ve acquired and/or restored thousands of acres of habitat to include over a dozen project sites in our six county reach.

Quite a few projects stand out as his favorites. 

Jim: The Boyer Chute in Southern Washington County along the Missouri River with the resulting creation of a National Wildlife Refuge.  The initial acquisition of about 2,000 acres with an additional 650 acres with Nathan’s Lake and the adjacent Stratbucker site and other tracts subsequently acquired by the Fish and Wildlife Service has increase the refuge size to well over 4,000 acres and growing.  AND the people working at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Corps of Engineers, the Nebraska Environmental Trust and certainly the NRD were all excellent partners.

What’s he looking forward to in retirement?

Jim: Not setting the alarm…or getting on the interstate on the way to or from work. (Bike trips, cooking, more leisurely property maintenance, death.)

Yes, he said “death.” We will certainly miss Jim’s crazy sense of humor! Most importantly, Jim we thank you, our environment thanks you, and our wildlife thank you for literally making our six-county world a much, much better place. Enjoy your retirement. It is beyond well-deserved!