Flood Prevention Structures Hold Back Water to Protect DeWitt from Additional Flooding

Flood Prevention Structures Hold Back Water to Protect DeWitt from Additional Flooding


For Immediate Release
May 12, 2015

Contact: Erika Hill, Public Relations Director
Phone: (402) 471-7672 Cell: (402) 570-2283
Email: ehill [at]

(DeWitt, NE) The Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District reports its 26 flood structures in the drainage area above Dewitt, Nebraska all worked as designed in Wednesday night and Thursday morning's historic rain event.

"A network of flood prevention projects located above DeWitt protected the community from an estimated total of 25,000 acre feet of flood water," said Dave Clabaugh, general manager of the Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District.

These structures are called Swan Creek and Lower Turkey Creek flood prevention projects. The remaining flood water the town is currently experiencing is due to the combination of the large amount of rainfall, intensity of the rainfall, and wide-span of the storm.

The 6 to 8 hour rain event is being called a "larger than a 100-year storm event" which typically measures 5.2 inches of rain dropped in a six hour period. For Wednesday's rain event, the entire Swan Creek basin measured 8 to 10 inches of rain in a six to eight hour period. Some areas in the drainage area are reporting rainfall totals of between 10 to 13 inches in the eight hour period. The Lower Turkey Creek basin measured 4 to 6 inches of rain in the six to eight hour storm event. Water from the two creeks merge together just west of DeWitt. DeWitt reported 9.5 inches of rain fell just West of town.

"The Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District's flood prevention structures assisted in helping to limit the flood event targeting DeWitt and the surrounding area," said Scott Sobotka, assistant manager of the Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District. "Without these structures, DeWitt would have seen much more flood water throughout the town and higher flood water levels for a longer period of time. Without the flood prevention structures, the situation would be even worse."

After reviewing the Swan Creek project, LBBNRD has determined 14 of the 19 flood prevention structures had water running through their emergency spillways as designed. The rest had water running up to the emergency spillways. No emergency spillways were used in the Lower Turkey Creek project.

"The flood prevention structures are not designed to hold back runoff water from that large of a storm event. It was the intensity of the storm, the amount of rain and the location of where the rain fell that caused the flooding," said Sobotka.

The Natural Resources Districts protect lives, protect property and the future.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD), the trade association for Nebraska's 23 natural resources districts, works with individual NRDs to protect lives, protect property, and protect the future of Nebraska's natural resources. These districts are unique to Nebraska. NRD's are local government entities with broad responsibilities to protect our natural resources. Major Nebraska river basins form the boundaries of the 23 NRDs, enabling districts to respond best to local conservation and resource management needs. To learn more about Nebraska's NRDs visit Or you can head to the Natural Resources Districts' Facebook page at or follow NARD's Twitter page at @nebnrd. NARD is located at 601 S. 12th St. Suite 201, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508. Email NARD at nard [at] or call NARD at (402) 471-7670.