Big Plans for Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District

Big Plans for Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District

  • Dam Site 15A construction
  • NRD approves bond refinancing
  • Cost share with Omaha Fire Dept. for rescue boat purchase
  • Surplus land at Prairie Queen Rec Area to be auctioned
  • City of Blair to receive cost sharing for flood control project
  • Flood Control Reservoir 15A Construction to Begin

Construction of Dam Site 15A could begin soon following the awarding of a construction contract totaling $16, 950, 700 to McArdle Grading of Omaha. This reservoir, to be built near 168th and Fort Streets in Omaha, is the latest flood control/outdoor recreation/water quality project of the Papio-Missouri River NRD and the Papillion Creek Watershed Partnership. The multi-purpose project consists a flood control reservoir, water quality basin, basic recreation amenities, fisheries enhancements, sanitary sewer installation, and improvements to Ida Street, including replacement of an impacted bridge.

"Because of rapid urbanization in our area, time is running out to get flood control structures in place to protect lives and property in metro Omaha," said NRD General Manager, John Winkler. Portions of the project will be funded by the City of Omaha, Douglas County and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The City of Omaha will reimburse the District for sanitary sewer installation upon completion of the project. Due to the reservoir level, the Ida Street bridge needs to be replaced and the bridge profile raised. Douglas County has agreed to cover the cost of additional earthwork to grade additional lanes of Ida Street. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission awarded the project $1.1 million for fisheries enhancements and other recreational improvements. The engineer's estimate for the Dam Site 15A work was $15,925,000.

The dam at Site 15A will store potential flood water during heavy rainfall, providing greater flood protection for areas downstream along the West Branch Papillion Creek. "This structure is a key component of the overall flood protection and water quality improvement plan developed by the NRD along with the Papillion Creek Watershed Partnership," said Winkler. The partnership includes representatives from Omaha, Papillion, Bellevue, Gretna, Boys Town, Ralston, LaVista, Sarpy County and the Natural Resources District. "Construction of this reservoir will be a result of many years of coordination between the NRD and our Papillion Creek Watershed partners. Also, additional water-based recreation facilities and stream water quality improvements are needed in our constantly-growing metro area," he added. 

NRD Board approves Bond Refinancing

The NRD board also voted to approve the refinancing of 2010B Series Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds to a lower interest rate, potentially saving District taxpayers four hundred to five hundred thousand dollars over the remaining term of the bonds. The term of the bonds will not be extended past the original issue and the District will not realize any additional funds for current or future expenditures.

"Bonds of this type are proving invaluable to the NRD and taxpayers, said NRD General Manager, John Winkler. "Without this funding source the District could not build needed flood control and water quality projects such as the recently completed Prairie Queen Recreation Area and the soon to be constructed Dam Site 15A," he said.

A super-majority vote (8 board members) was required to pass the resolution authorizing the refinancing. Voting yes were Patrick Bonnett, John Conley, Fred Conley, Tim Fowler, David Klug, Patrick Leahy, Richard Tesar, Jim Thompson and Ron Woodle. Curt Frost voted no and Scott Japp abstained.

NRD to Assist Omaha Fire Department in Purchase of Search and Rescue Boat

The NRD Board of Directors has approved cost sharing with the Omaha Fire Department toward the purchase of a search and rescue boat to be used in response to all types of water rescue incidents such as ice rescue, flooding and general public safety events on area lakes, rivers, creeks and other waterways. The District will provide a fifty percent cost share toward the purchase with a NRD funding maximum set at $28,000.

In the last two years the Fire Department Water Rescue Team has responded to forty-two life rescue incidents. In addition, the team assisted in the 2011 Missouri River Flood and the 2014 flooding in Northeast Omaha. The Department has removed its primary portable rescue boat from service and is seeking a boat capable of responding to smaller waterways not accessible with the remaining Omaha Fire Department Fleet. The boat to be purchased is ideal for use on area lakes such as Lake Zorinsky, Cunningham Lake, Standing Bear, Wehrspann Lake and other waters in the Papillion Creek Watershed.

"The need for this type of rescue vessel is growing as more water-based recreation areas are opened and being enjoyed by our residents," said NRD General Manager, John Winkler. "We provided a similar cost share two years ago to assist the Sarpy County Sheriff's office in their purchase of a search and rescue boat," he said.

Surplus Land at Prairie Queen Recreation Area to be Sold.

Approximately 76 acres at Prairie Queen Recreation Area have been declared surplus land by the NRD Board and will be sold at auction. Prairie Queen Recreation area is near 132nd Street and Highway 370 in Sarpy County and opened for public recreation on March 31st. Fifty-two acres to be auctioned are located along 132nd Street and twenty-four acres are along Highway 370. 
"We originally purchased the additional acres at the request of the sellers to not break up tracks of land formerly used for agriculture," said NRD General Manager, John Winkler. "The acres to be sold have no current recreational amenities and park users will not lose any recreational benefits associated with the new park," he said.

Proceeds of the sale will be used by the NRD to help fund other flood control/ outdoor recreation area structures.

City of Blair to Receive Funding from NRD for Flood Prevention Works

The Papio-Missouri River NRD will assist the City of Blair in funding Missouri River flood control projects related to the city's water and waste water treatment facilities. The City's project calls for the construction of flood control berms to protect its water treatment facilities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved federal funding to pay 75% of project costs. The estimated cost for improvements is $4.9 million. The NRD will assist the City with the local cost share and has approved up to $500,000 in cost sharing to be paid over two years.