Lower Platte South Natural Resources District Budget Addresses Flood Concerns

Lower Platte South Natural Resources District Budget Addresses Flood Concerns


NRD Budget Addresses Flood Concerns

Lincoln (NE) May 17, 2017 – Several new and on-going construction projects providing flood control are funded in the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget approved Wednesday by the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District Board of Directors.  The budget also provides for wellhead protection and groundwater monitoring, cost-sharing with landowners who install conservation improvements, a trail extension, environmental education and a study of ways to better manage water supplies in the Lower Platte River Basin during a drought.  The balanced budget of expenditures and revenues, along with the NRD’s many partnerships and agreements with other agencies, is a significant part of the NRD’s efforts to protect lives, property and the future.  The approved budget totals $25,620,085 or about $470,000 less than the previous budget.  With higher property valuations across the district’s six-county area, the property tax requirement of $9.5 million; a 2.6% increase over a year ago; is expected to result in a lower property tax levy.

The budget contains $1.16 million for upgrading Lincoln’s 50-year-old Salt Creek flood control levees to keep them safe and reliable.  A 15-year plan for updating the 13-miles of levees and levee structures that protect homes and businesses was recently approved for two years by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

The lower portion of Lincoln’s Deadman’s Run Watershed, north of UNL’s East Campus, is targeted for flood reduction efforts in another proposed project involving USACE.  The NRD and the City of Lincoln would also help fund the $25.5 million proposal.  The NRD and the city would each provide $7.75 million and an additional $1.7 million is included in the new NRD budget.  The project would remove more than 500 homes from the floodplain and has a high benefit-to-cost ratio of $1.54 in benefits for every $1.00 spent.  The city and the NRD are awaiting USACE approval of the plan.

The NRD plans to spend about $1.2 million under an agreement with the City of Lincoln that prioritizes needed stormwater management improvements in watersheds throughout the city.  Those projects are then completed as funding allows.

An extension of the Salt Creek Levee Trail will be completed year.  The new budget contains $350,000 to construct the trail along Salt Creek from 14th Street, near UNL’s Hibner Stadium, to the Salt Creek Bridge near 24th & Cornhusker Highway.

The Lower Platte South NRD has teamed-up with several other agencies to find ways to sustain public water supplies in the lower Platte River basin during times of drought.  The Lower Platte River Consortium also includes Omaha’s Metropolitan Utilities District, Lincoln Water System, Lower Platte North NRD, Papio-Missouri River NRD and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.  The group is studying long-term water supplies available to the lower Platte River subbasin that would enhance stream flows and aquifer storage for use by public water systems.  The new budget designates $350,000 for the Lower Platte River Drought Contingency Study.

Other projects in the newly-approved budget:

Completion of Waverly Ash Hollow Dry Dam, $308,068
Wellhead Protection Assistance, $300,000
Ground Water Monitoring, Assistance and Studies, $637,000
Watershed Dam Rehabilitation, $790,000
56th & Morton Flood Reduction Project, Lincoln, $500,000
Lower Platte River Watershed Restoration Study, $100,000
Environmental Education, $180,000
Development of a Non-Point Source Pollution Control Plan, $200,000
Wetland Projects, Partnerships and Conservation Easements, $550,000

The NRD Board, on Wednesday, also approved just over $1 million for cost-sharing with landowners throughout the district on surface water quality best management practices, such as terrace systems and grassed waterways.  A total of 140 applications were submitted.  Funds remain available for conservation practices to be installed in watersheds above many of the Salt Valley lakes that are open to public access.  Contact local Natural Resources Conservation Service offices to apply.

The NRD Board hopes landowners in the Elmwood and Weeping Water areas will participate in a pilot cover crop program approved by the board on Wednesday.  The NRD is now taking applications from landowners in the Elmwood Community Water System Protection Area (CWSPA) and the Weeping Water/Otoe County Rural Water District #3 CWSPA.  The NRD hopes the cover crops improve ground water quality by using excess nitrogen in the soil.  The NRD and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will be evaluating the program for its effectiveness.  Landowners could receive up to $2,000 per year under the program and crops need to be planted by November first.  Contact the Cass County NRCS Office, 402-267-2015, extension 3, for more details and to determine land eligibility.

In other action, the NRD Board:

Elected Director Greg Osborn to serve as the district’s alternate representative on the board of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.  Osborn replaces Larry Zimmerman, who recently resigned from the LPSNRD Board. 
Awarded a construction contract to General Excavating ($172,743) to improve drainage near the intersection of 14th Street and Pioneers Boulevard.  The project is a 50/50 cost-share with the City of Lincoln.
Awarded a construction contract to Gana Trucking & Excavating ($449,494) to construct the Salt Creek Levee, Middle Creek Tie-Back.  The levee, along Folsom Street, just south of Rosa Parks Way, will control floodwater from Middle Creek and Salt Creek.
Approved two requests to expand and certify irrigated acres in the district’s Hydrologically Connected Area, totaling 22.7 acres.  The applications came from the Waverly and Plattsmouth areas.


Contact:  Mike Mascoe
mmascoe [at]