Helicopter to make low-level flights to collect groundwater data

Northeast Nebraska residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying helicopter in their area over the coming weeks.  Flights will begin this week and continue until early August over portions of the following counties:  Madison, Platte, Pierce, Knox, Cedar, Dixon, Wayne, and Cuming Counties.  Visit http://enwra.org/2016aem.html to see detailed locations of planned flights.

The helicopter will fly lines spaced approximately 3 miles apart over most of the area.  Scientific equipment is towed about 100 feet below the helicopter in a ‘spider web’ array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the earth.

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD), along with the members of the Eastern Nebraska Water Resource Assessment (ENWRA) and the Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGWMA), have planned the flights with grant assistance from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund and the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

According to Brian Bruckner, LENRD water resources manager, the geologic information available from the flights will improve the district’s understanding of the available groundwater resource and potential groundwater/surface water connections in an area of the state made more complex by the presence of glacial deposits.  He said, “Understanding these isolated aquifers will help us to protect the resource and make better management decisions in the future.”

Aqua-Geo Frameworks, LLC will oversee the flights, process the data, and produce a final report to the LENRD.  The technology they use allows for fast data acquisition, upwards of 50 miles per hour, with exploration depth hundreds of feet below the land surface.

This scientific program is designed to study the area’s water resources and is part of an ongoing program to identify physical occurrences such as changes in geologic materials and sediment types.  If you would like to learn more about the planned flights, visit the ENWRA website at www.enwra.org under the “2016 AEM flights tab”.

AEM Flight Map - 2016