Planning Exercise To Assist With LENRD Maple Creek Watershed Plan

NORFOLK – Flooding concerns in the Maple Creek Watershed is being addressed as the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is working with the federal government, local communities and property owners in a planning exercise.

According to a release from LENRD, the Maple Creek Watershed covers Stanton, Platte, Cuming, Colfax and Dodge Counties in northeast Nebraska.

A proposal was submitted by the Lower Elkhorn NRD through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Watershed Flood Prevention and Operations (WFPO) program for the evaluation and planning process and was awarded the grant in 2020.

The plan is now 30% complete as LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “It’s important to understand that this Maple Creek Watershed Plan is simply a ‘planning document’ to evaluate what is technically and economically feasible, and socially acceptable across the area.”

Sousek went onto add, “Because the district is spending time in this effort, we would then be eligible for funding to install flood prevention measures and work on projects that are ACCEPTABLE within the watershed, and to help communities with their flood prevention needs. “The major point of developing this plan is to provide both flood protection and property tax relief. The property tax relief comes by securing federal dollars rather than raising local property tax dollars to do the same work that has been given to us by the Nebraska Legislature. NRCS could provide 100% of the financial commitment for design and construction of projects within the plan.”

Another component to the Maple Creek WFPO plan is the LENRD’s continued commitment to help communities in the watershed. The district has been working with the Village of Clarkson for over 10 years to bring their levee system to standards for accreditation. In the past, the district has helped communities with 50% of the local cost to accomplish such projects. By incorporating this project into the WFPO plan, neither the Village of Clarkson nor the LENRD would need to use valuable financial resources because the federal government could potentially cover 100% of this cost.

The Village of Nickerson sits at the very eastern, tail end of the Maple Creek Watershed. This community has continually asked for help with flood reduction. By incorporating a project to redesign or remove altogether a bridge that seems to be a bottle neck in the system, this project could also be covered under this plan.

Letters from the LENRD have been sent to the citizens across the Maple Creek watershed, requesting ideas to formulate this plan. The LENRD is asking for your help in developing your ideas and working together to research ways to reduce flooding.

LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “While not everyone is interested in doing something, we do have individuals expressing their willingness to place small flood control structures on their property, whether it be a detention cell, wetland development, a small dam, or other flood reduction projects.”  He continued, “These ideas are being documented and worked into the WFPO plan to help the LENRD board of directors determine what level of flood reduction we are willing to tackle and help secure the dollars needed for the approved plan.”

Once the evaluation and planning process is completed, a public meeting will be held for gathering any remaining input from the public followed by a presentation to the LENRD board for approval.

For more information, call 402-371-7313 or visit www.lenrd.org.

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