Lower Platte River Ice Conditions Update

 

2/22/21

With record-cold temperatures and a warming trend underway, The National Weather Service Omaha, Papio NRD, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), United States Geologic Survey, and other agency partners, have been actively monitoring river ice conditions and coordinating a response for ice jams and potential spring flooding along the Platte River.

We will be providing updates to the media to help keep the public informed of the latest river conditions and temperature forecasts.

 

Ice Jam/Potential Flooding Updates:

  • There is an ongoing ice jam at Fremont located at the Highway 77 bridge and continues upstream 2-3 miles. The water levels have subsided since the ice jam formed on January 29th. For current flood advisory details visit: weather.gov/omaha
  • The Papio NRD took ice thickness measurements at the Platte River (Highway 64/Valley). The ice measured 15 inches thick, which could signify an increased potential for ice jams
  • A warming trend is underway, but doesn’t accelerate until the first week of March
  • Until then, average temperatures are near-to-above freezing, allowing gradual melting to begin
  • How fast the temperatures warm up in the coming weeks is what is being closely monitored
  • All involved agencies continue to monitor the river ice conditions and weather forecasts


Helpful Online Resources

 Below is a list of resources to help keep the public informed on the status of river conditions, weather forecasts regarding the potential threat of flooding, and ice monitoring for ice jams.

National Weather Service

For information regarding river levels, reservoir data and snow pack information on the Lower Platte and Missouri rivers, as well as weather forecasting:

 

Media Inquiries

 For media inquiries regarding river conditions and weather forecasts, please contact:

National Weather Service Omaha
David Pearson, Service Hydrologist, at 402-359-5732 or david.pearson@noaa.gov

For media inquiries regarding ice thickness measurements and the potential for ice blasting, please contact:

The Papio NRD
Jennifer Stauss Story, Public Relations/Education Programs Manager at 402-960-5329 or jstauss@papionrd.org

 

 

Virtual Public Meeting for Papillion Creek Basin Draft Final Feasibility Report

WHAT:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District, will hold a virtual public meeting to present results of the draft final feasibility report for the Papillion Creek General Re-evaluation study. The purpose of the study is to develop alternatives to reduce flood risks and improve public safety within the Papillion Creek Basin in Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties.

WHEN:

Wednesday, February 10 at 6:30 p.m.


HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

The virtual public meeting can be accessed at: https://usace1.webex.com/meet/rachel.c.shrader. For best audio results, after opening WebEx, select the “Call Me” option, enter your phone number and then click the “Join Meeting” button. The system will call you and ask you to enter “1” to join the meeting. For those who cannot log on to the WebEx, a dial-in only option exists (844-800- 2712 Access code: 199 133 0340).

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this virtual meeting is to provide the public an opportunity to review results of the Papillion Creek General Re-evaluation study report before it is submitted to Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, USACE Chief of Engineers, for consideration,” said Rachel Williams, project manager with the Corps. If approved by General Spellmon, the project would be recommended to Congress for approval and funding in the next Water Resources Development Act.

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is federal legislation, traditionally passed every two years, that provides authorization for USACE to study and construct flood control, ecosystem restoration and navigation projects for the benefit of the Nation. The last WRDA bill to pass was in 2020.

ACCESS THE REPORT:

The draft final feasibility report, including environmental assessment and report appendices, can be downloaded from https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Planning/Planning-Projects/Papillion-GRR/.

Up-to-date meeting details are available on the project website or by calling Amanda Grint with the Papio Missouri River NRD at (402) 444-6222.

 

 

 

New Papio NRD Board Members Sworn In

Two recently elected members of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD) Board of Directors were sworn in at last night’s board meeting. 

Patrick Bonnett, who previously served on the Papio NRD Board from 2012-2016, replaces Mark Gruenewald in Subdistrict 9, who joined the board in 2017. Phil Davidson, City of Bellevue Community Relations Coordinator, defeated incumbent John Wiese in Subdistrict 11, who served since 2016.

Incumbent Larry Bradley, a former board member who rejoined the Papio NRD Board in 2017, retains his seat in Subdistrict 3 after defeating challenger Christian Mirch. Incumbents Ted Japp (Subdistrict 1), Rich Tesar (Subdistrict 5), and Danny Begley (Subdistrict 7) ran unopposed.

Additional members of the Papio NRD Board of Directors include Fred Conley (Subdistrict 2), Tim McCormick (Subdistrict 4), Jim Thompson (Subdistrict 6), Tim Fowler (Subdistrict 8), Kevyn Sopinski (Subdistrict 10).

 

 

Open House for Hazardous Mitigation Plan

Mark your calendars! The Papio NRD will hold a virtual open house on Jan. 21 from 5-7 pm for the public to ask questions/provide feedback on the 2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Your previous input enabled us to identify 14 natural and man-made hazards of concern to you for evaluation in this plan.

You can review your local community’s profile here.

 

New Legislation Enables Local Entities Across Nation to Conduct Emergency Repairs Without Federal Funding or Action

Papio NRD championed new legislation following historic flood of 2019

Omaha, NE: Included in the large omnibus spending and authorizing package signed by President Trump Sunday night is Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD) written and sponsored legislation allowing local sponsors throughout the nation to conduct emergency infrastructure repairs and receive reimbursement from the federal government.

Previously, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was required to make flood mitigation infrastructure repairs, but if a local sponsor, such as the Papio NRD, conducted the work, then that sponsor was not eligible to have the project costs reimbursed.

The original process was costly on a variety of fronts, as following the flood of 2019, many levee systems went unrepaired for months, leaving people and infrastructure exposed to more flooding danger. The new legislation, championed by the Papio NRD, expedites emergency repairs and simultaneous federal funding on a national scale through authorizing language in the 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

“This legislation impacts far more than just our District,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio NRD. “Now, local sponsors across the country can start to repair vital flood mitigation infrastructure immediately following an emergency instead of waiting for federal action or funding. Typically, sponsors can do the work in one-third the time and cost than the federal government. We cannot thank our congressional delegation enough for its hard work and support,” said Winkler.

Winkler says additional good news to come out of the omnibus spending package is Congress’s first ever funding to the USACE Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program for water infrastructure projects.

The Papio NRD strongly advocated for this funding inclusion in both the House and Senate and worked closely with Nebraska’s congressional delegation, as well as governors from multiple states to enlist their support. Congress voted to provide $12 million for the program, which will enable USACE to begin issuance of ultra-low interest loans with very favorable terms to entities like the Papio NRD to more efficiently construct vital flood mitigation infrastructure.

 

 

Sign Up for New Blair Field Office Newsletter

The Blair Field Office is starting a monthly newsletter! Stay in the loop on conservation programs (and much more) that benefit you, your neighbors, and your land.

See your tax dollars at work in your inbox or mailbox, whichever you prefer.

Signing up is easy! Simply contact Kalani Fortina at kalani.fortina@usda.gov or (402) 426-4782 ext. 110.

 

 

 

New Playground to be Installed at Chalco Hills in Memory of Dominik Walters

Four-year-old enjoyed the park with his family every Sunday afternoon

 

Dominik Walters

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD) Board of Directors voted to approve cost share for the purchase and installation of a new playground facility at Chalco Hills Recreation Area in memory of Dominik Walters.

In August 2018, while visiting the family cabin in Minnesota, four-year-old Dominik (Dom) died after suffering an unexpected and massive cardiac arrest while doing cannonballs off the dock with his father, Ryan.

The Walters family – Ryan, Tiffany, Dom, and Nora (or Boon, as Dom would call her) –  would visit Chalco Hills Recreation Area every Sunday to play on the playground equipment and explore the park.

To carry on the memory of their son, a few short months after Dom’s death, the Walters approached the Papio NRD about the possibility of donating funds for the construction of a new playground (Dom’s Park) at Chalco Hills. The family felt Dom’s Park would be the perfect way to honor Dom’s legacy and provide a new facility that children throughout the community could enjoy.

“It has been a tremendous honor to work with Ryan, Tiffany, and Boon and to be a partner on this special cost share project,” said Papio NRD General Manager John Winkler. “The Walters have turned unimaginable tragedy into a positive. Countless children are going to be able to enjoy this new playground and Chalco Hills, as Dom and his family did. Dom’s Park is an incredible tribute to Dom and gift to the Omaha community that will last for years to come,” said Winkler.

 

The Walters Family. Left to right – Nora, Tiffany, and Ryan

The cost of the Dom’s Park playground equipment and installation totaled $279,071. Through generous donations to the Dominik Walters Memorial Fund, including a matching grant of $76,464 from the playground equipment company, BCI Burke Company, the Walters family donated $105,000 to the Papio NRD.

“The Papio NRD had budgeted $125,000 for the purchase and installation of the equipment, but the Walters family surpassed its fundraising goal, leaving $97,607 total cost for the Papio NRD,” said Winkler. “Without hesitation, the board of directors unanimously voted to approve the donation and the naming of Dom’s Park. It will proudly replace current playground equipment that is over 30 years old,” said Winkler.

“At the time we tragically lost Dominik, we never imagined that we would cement his legacy with a new playground,” said Ryan and Tiffany Walters. “We are forever indebted to every individual who empathized with his story and contributed to our effort, and we are truly blessed to have this public-private partnership with the Papio NRD to make Dom’s Park a reality. We have so much joy in our hearts knowing that thousands of children will enjoy Dom’s Park at the very location Dominik absolutely loved,” said the Walters.

Construction of Dom’s Park will take place this spring and will be located in the northwest corner of Chalco Hills Recreation Area near Picnic Area A.

 

Dom’s Park Rendering

 

New Faces Elected to Papio NRD Board

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors will see some new faces following the 2020 General Election.

Patrick Bonnett, who previously served on the Papio NRD Board from 2012-2016, replaces Mark Gruenewald in Subdistrict 9, who joined the board in 2017.

Phil Davidson, City of Bellevue Community Relations Coordinator, defeated incumbent John Wiese in Subdistrict 11, who served since 2016.

Incumbent Larry Bradley, a former board member who rejoined the Papio NRD Board in 2017, retains his seat in Subdistrict 3 after defeating challenger Christian Mirch.

Incumbents Ted Japp (Subdistrict 1), Rich Tesar (Subdistrict 5), and Danny Begley (Subdistrict 7) ran unopposed.

Additional members of the Papio NRD Board of Directors include Fred Conley (Subdistrict 2), Tim McCormick (Subdistrict 4), Jim Thompson (Subdistrict 6), Tim Fowler (Subdistrict 8), Kevyn Sopinski (Subdistrict 10)

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 $75 million annual operating budget.

 

 

 

Helicopter to Make Low-Level Flights Starting August 1st

Flights to Collect Data About Groundwater Aquifers

Data-collecting helicopter equipment

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.

 

 

 

 

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