The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District is seeking feedback from Washington County farm owner-operators on a new incentives program for farmstead improvements and agricultural enhancements.
The program is intended be a flagship example of conservation-based water quality improvement for the state of Nebraska by reversing watershed impairment in the Papillion Creek Watershed through the reduction of nutrient, sediment, and E. coli loading.
“The best way to make this incentives program truly beneficial to farmers is to collaborate directly with them,” said Kyle Madsen, watershed coordinator for the Papio NRD. “We want their help in devising incentives they find attractive to implement water quality improvement practices throughout the watershed.”
Madsen says the next few months will be devoted to gathering public feedback necessary to develop a comprehensive and successful program.
Special incentives are available to stakeholders in various parts of Washington County for the following practices/improvements:
Septic system upgrades/replacements
General Conservation Reserve Program
Riparian buffer/filter strips
Sediment control basins
Wet detention basins
Livestock exclusion areas
Grant funding for the program is provided by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. The program will be available through December 2022.
For questions and information on eligibility, please contact Madsen at (402) 350-3695 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Papio-Missouri River NRD Board Approves Proposed 2021 Budget
At its September 10th meeting, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2021 general operating budget that includes a decrease in the Papio NRD property tax levy.
“It is our civic duty to save taxpayer dollars and we are proud the District’s property tax levy will decrease again this year,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “For 15 out of 16 years, the District has either decreased or kept the tax levy the same,” said Winkler.
The FY21 budget calls for a property tax levy of .036490 per $100 of assessed valuation, which means a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 would pay a total of $36.49 or 3.04 cents a month in property taxes next year to support Papio NRD projects. The budget calls for an estimated $27 million in revenue from the NRD’s property tax levy. The total operating budget is estimated at $75.5 million.
The Papio-Missouri River NRD’s property tax levy amounts to less than two percent of a homeowner’s total property tax bill who lives within the District’s six-county area. The levy is based on an estimated 7.06% 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.
Flights to Collect Data About Groundwater Aquifers
Eastern Nebraska residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying helicopter over areas of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District in August.
Beginning August 1st and lasting approximately three weeks, instruments mounted below a helicopter will collect and record geologic measurements to learn more about groundwater aquifers in Dakota, Thurston, Burt, Washington, Douglas, Dodge and Sarpy Counties. The Papio NRD, as part of the Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment, have planned the flights and are completing them with financial assistance from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, through the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. A flight schedule for each area is forthcoming.
“The flights will improve our understanding of available groundwater and its possible connections with surface water in an area of the state made more complex by the presence of glacial deposits,” said Paul Woodward, Groundwater Management Engineer for the Papio NRD.
Aqua Geo Frameworks (AGF), of Mitchell, Nebraska will oversee the flights, process data and produce a final report. The equipment can collect data at a speed of more than 50 miles per hour and explore to a depth of more than 700 feet below the ground surface. Scientific equipment, that looks like a hexagon, is towed about 100 feet below the helicopter in a ‘spider web’ array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the surface of the earth. The helicopter will be manned by experienced pilots specially trained for low-level flying with this equipment.
The flights are a continuation of previous data collected during 2016 and 2018 and will provide a geologic understanding of all remaining areas in the Papio NRD. Similar flights have been made across Nebraska since 2007 as NRDs seek to better understand and manage groundwater resources.
The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors today voted unanimously to name Papillion’s new flood mitigation reservoir Big Elk Lake in honor of Chief Big Elk, a principal leader of the Omaha tribe.
Chief Big Elk was a leader of the Omaha tribe on the upper Missouri River where we live now,” said Papio NRD Director Kevyn Sopinski, who represents Subdistrict 10. “Big Elk played an important role in Sarpy County history and naming this flood mitigation reservoir after him is a meaningful way to not only commemorate the historical imprint Big Elk left, but keep it alive by educating others on this great leader’s life, death, and all he accomplished in between,” said Sopinski.
The Papio NRD Board of Directors agreed with Sopinski’s name proposal and today voted during its June board meeting to name the new Papillion reservoir (previously referred to as WP7), located near 108th and Lincoln Rd., Big Elk Lake.
Dr. Rudi Mitchell, the great-great-great grandson of Chief Big Elk, said he was very pleased when he heard the Papio NRD Board planned to recognize his ancestor.
“There is currently no tribute to Chief Big Elk in Omaha, said Mitchell. “Big Elk was admired for leading one of the most peaceful tribes through many challenges. Through his speeches, trading, and peace treaties, Big Elk had a gift for peacefully bringing settlers and the Omaha tribe together,” said Mitchell. “This says a lot about the kind of leader he was and I’m grateful he will be remembered in an area of beauty and nature.”
While the new reservoir’s primary purpose is to help protect the lives and property of citizens from floods, it will also feature recreational amenities, such as a 40-acre park, 12½-acre lake, walking/cycling trails, kayak/canoe launches, picnic shelter, and fishery enhancements.
The project is estimated to open in late spring/summer of 2021.
UPDATE – 7/22/19: Construction is complete and the trail is now open.
Due to a bank stabilization project along the West Papio Trail in Papillion, construction will take place over a two-mile stretch of the trail from Tuesday, May 21 through Friday, July 19.
Construction sites include three locations on the trail on the south side of Giles Road to the east side of 96th street at the Walnut Creek Connector. Please see the map below for more details.
“There will be heavy equipment on and around the trail, as well as some potential trail closures,” says Eric Williams, Papio NRD Natural Resources Planner. “We strongly encourage trail users to watch for and follow posted signs throughout the construction process.”
For more information, please contact Eric Williams at 402-444-6222.
New three-mile bike trail connects west Omaha to Bellevue area –
a milestone 25 years in the making
On October 2, 2018, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and the Cities of Omaha and La Vista celebrated the grand opening of a new three-mile stretch of the West Papio Trail in Millard that links west Omaha to the Bellevue area. The new segment creates a 130-mile network through Douglas and Sarpy Counties that’s been more than 25 years in the making.
The West Papio Trail addition connects the existing trail at 108th & Giles Road to the new Lumberyard District at 132nd & Q Street. While technically small in size, the connection provides tremendous recreational opportunities with historical significance by connecting Millard and west Omaha to La Vista, Papillion, and Bellevue – stretching down to the Missouri River by a continuous dedicated trail corridor.
“This regionally significant and boundary-breaking project provides expanded recreation, active transportation for Omaha metro residents, and increased access to natural resources,” said Eric Williams, Papio NRD Natural Resources Planner. “The Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District was fortunate to partner with the Cities of La Vista and Omaha in the design and construction of this milestone project,” said Williams.
“Through the partnership of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resource District and the City of La Vista, we are all very excited to announce the completion of the West Papio Trail extension that links West Omaha and Bellevue,” said Brook Bench, City of Omaha Parks and Recreation Director. “This trail segment will allow for more recreation in the community and will serve as an active avenue for transportation for Omaha metro residents.”
“Today we celebrate the extension of the West Papio Trail which connects with La Vista,” said La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig. “Projects such as this one are not possible without partners and cooperation between different entities. The completion of this project will improve the quality of life and provide a valuable amenity to our citizens,” said Kindig.
The trail expansion follows the original stretch of the former Union Pacific transcontinental railroad. The Papio NRD was able to restore all of the old bridges that will now be used as trail bridges. National “rails to trails” efforts are focused on reusing abandoned railroad property for multi-use paths, allowing long, flat corridors to become community focus points and preserving the history of railroad infrastructure.
As the most well-known railroad in America, this new section of trail highlights the natural geographic features, incorporates transportation and commerce history, and connects communities just as the railroad did nearly 150 years ago.
The West Papio Trail expansion project cost $3.2 million, with the Cities of Omaha and La Vista each contributing 20 percent of the cost.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/14/18 Contact: Jennifer Stauss Story Cell Phone: 402-960-5329
Omaha, NE: At its September 13th meeting in Dakota City, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2019 general operating budget that includes a decrease in the Papio NRD property tax levy.
“We are proud the District’s property tax levy will decrease again this year,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “For 13 out of 14 years, the District has either decreased or kept the tax levy the same. We work diligently to save local taxpayers millions of dollars and take seriously our responsibility in doing so in a transparent manner.” said Winkler.
The FY 2019 budget calls for a property tax levy of .037594 per $100 of assessed valuation, which means a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 would pay a total of $37.59 in property taxes next year to support NRD projects. The budget calls for an estimated $24 million in revenue from the NRD’s property tax levy. The total operating budget is estimated at $72.2 million.
The Papio-Missouri River NRD’s property tax levy amounts to less than two percent of the total property tax bill for residents living within the District’s six-county area. The levy is based on an estimated 5.2 percent 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.
Contest celebrated the grand opening of Flanagan Lake with the Omaha community
The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District today announced the winners of the city-wide “Dam Fun Contest” it launched in celebration of the grand opening of Flanagan Lake in June.
More than 200 Flanagan Lake-goers entered the photo contest for their chance to win recreation-themed prizes donated by sponsors. Members of the public determined the winners by voting for their favorite photo, casting more than 11,000 total votes. The top-voted photos in the following categories (kayak, Trek bike, fishing, gift card) are the contest grand prize winners:
“Dam Fun Contest” Winners
Perception Hook 105 Angler Kayak – Brian Harmon
2018 Trek FX 2 Hybrid Bicycle – Rob Morrison
Two Scheels Outfitters Pfleuger President Tournament Combo, Scheels 50 Super Cooler, Fins & Fur Outdoor Adventure Guide gift certificate for ½ day guided fishing trip for two with guide Steve Satra – Nick Hummel
$100 SCHEELS gift certificates – Adriana Guzman, Kari Marcley, Heather Steffen, Beth Pietzmeier, and Adam Denney
Sponsors for the prizes included FYRA Engineering, HDR, Inc., Olsson Associates, McArdle Grading Company, and Cabelas.
“Most people don’t know that Flanagan Lake is a flood control reservoir designed to protect the lives and property of Omaha citizens from floods,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. “To celebrate the public safety and recreational opportunities Flanagan Lake provides, we launched the “Dam Fun Contest” to engage with the community in a fun and educational way.”
Rob Morrison, winner of the Trek bike, says he has big plans in store for his new wheels. “I can’t wait to repeat my ‘half-century’ ride – over 50 miles to Flanagan Lake and back,” says Morrison. “Thank you to the Papio NRD and sponsors involved in this contest, as well as all the people that voted for me. I would never have a bike like this without all of you!”
Flanagan Lake, near 168th and Fort Streets, is Omaha’s latest flood control reservoir in the Papillion Creek Watershed. It provides flood protection for Omaha citizens and 730 acres of recreational benefits, such as a 220-acre lake, five-mile hiking/biking trail, and park and green space.
Omaha, NE – At its July 12, 2018 meeting, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors elected officers to serve the District for the coming year (July 2018 – July 2019).
Jim Thompson in Subdistrict 1 has been elected to serve a one-year term as NRD Board Chairperson. Thompson replaces David Klug, who chose not to run for re-election as he focuses on election to the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners.
Fred Conley in Subdistrict 2 was re-elected Vice Chairperson.
Re-elected Treasurer is John Conley in Subdistrict 4. Conley will serve as Treasurer until his term ends in December. The Board of Directors will hold elections for Conley’s successor shortly thereafter. Tim Fowler in Subdistrict 8 was elected to serve as Assistant Treasurer.
Richard Tesar in Subdistrict 5 was re-elected as both Secretary and Nebraska Association of Resources District’s (NARD) Director. Fowler was elected NARD’s Alternate Director.
The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors is an 11-member board that sets policy for Papio NRD programs and projects and oversees a $67 million annual budget.
About the Papio NRD
The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District is one of 23 Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) in Nebraska. NRDs are multi-county governments organized along major watersheds with broad responsibilities to protect and enhance our state’s natural resources. The Papio NRD includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington, and Dakota counties, plus the eastern 60% of Burt and Thurston counties. Learn more about the Papio NRD at www.papionrd.org.