Lower Elkhorn NRD hosts Open House for Maple Creek Watershed Plan

Lower Elkhorn NRD hosts Open House for Maple Creek Watershed Plan


NORFOLK, Nebraska -- An open house was held Sept. 15, 2021, at the Howells Ballroom for the Maple Creek Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment. The improvement project area spans across parts of Stanton, Platte, Cuming, Colfax, and Dodge counties in northeast Nebraska.

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to complete the plan with the goal of identifying palatable options for providing flood damage reduction to the watershed. The open house was hosted by the LENRD to provide landowners and other stakeholders with information about the plan, but most importantly, it was a time to gather input from the public and receive their ideas to help protect the watershed.

The event drew a large crowd with LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, welcoming nearly 250 attendees to the open house followed by a brief overview of the effort.  Sousek reminded the audience that the LENRD has not taken any steps towards the initiation of any project in the watershed and that the planning effort needs to be driven by the stakeholders. He said, “We are not promoting or pushing any specific project, especially if it’s unaccepted by the landowners. This plan is yours to develop. We want to hear your thoughts and work with you to put your ideas into action to protect the watershed.”

A presentation on the project was given by several team members from FYRA Engineering, who is the hired consultant preparing the plan.  Time was provided after the conclusion of the formal presentation for general question and answers from the audience, which was proceeded by breakout sessions which allowed attendees to visit stations around the ballroom to discuss specific project and planning process questions. An important component of this planning effort is to obtain feedback from landowners and stakeholders in the watershed. While many in attendance took advantage of the opportunity to engage in oral conversations with LENRD and FYRA representatives, written comments carry equal weight and comment cards were available for attendees who opted to leave written comments.

LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “We are requesting your ideas and want to work with you to formulate this plan.  Dams are not the only option. We can work together to get other flood reduction and conservation practices on the land, including buffer strips, detention cells, wetland enhancement, and levee and channel improvements.”

The LENRD is requesting that any landowner who is interested in supporting a project of any type on their property reach out to LENRD Project Manager, Curt Becker, at 402.371.7313 or cbecker [at]

A recording of the presentation and the group question and answer session is provided on the project website along with example project locations:

USDA-NRCS provides federal funding to local project sponsors so they may work together to develop solutions for watershed issues such as erosion, floodwater, and sediment damage, water quality and habitat improvements, and others.  This funding has been provided to the LENRD to create a watershed plan for the Maple Creek watershed. The Plan-EA is scheduled to be finalized in late-2022 by FYRA Engineering.