Lower Elkhorn NRD Evaluates Flood Reduction Measures in Maple Creek Watershed Plan

Lower Elkhorn NRD Evaluates Flood Reduction Measures in Maple Creek Watershed Plan


NORFOLK, Nebraska – Protecting northeast Nebraska from flood events is the responsibility of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD), given to them by the Nebraska Legislature. The LENRD board and staff work continually to study areas where flooding occurs.

Areas in the Maple Creek watershed have been prone to flood events for decades, impacting families for generations. Citizens and community members from the watershed have asked the LENRD to assist with flood reduction projects and conservation programs to help prevent damages from flood water/sediment and minimize future flood events.

In 2020, the LENRD was awarded a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Watershed Flood Prevention and Operations (WFPO) program to complete the Maple Creek Watershed Plan & Environmental Assessment. FYRA engineering is working on the plan which aims to evaluate potential flood reduction projects to reduce overall flood risk and support the largely agricultural economy in the Maple Creek Watershed. Leigh, Clarkson, Howells, and Nickerson are the four communities located within the watershed.

LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “The Maple Creek plan is a planning document to evaluate what is technically and economically feasible and socially acceptable. For example, the Clarkson levee and a bridge near Nickerson, can be further evaluated with this plan.”

Becker, added, “We are trying to come up with solutions to reduce flooding in the area. Most dam structures have not been adequately supported, and we’re looking for other options which can benefit these communities and rural areas.”

Letters were sent out to the public as the LENRD continues to request ideas to formulate this plan. Becker continued, “If dams are not fully supported, then we can work together on other flood reduction plans, including detention cells, wetland enhancement, and levee and channel improvements. If you have poor producing soils next to a stream channel, creating a flood water retention area could benefit your land and the watershed. We’re asking the public to bring their ideas to the table.”