LENRD continues to partner with the City of Randolph on flood control project

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) has partnered with the City of Randolph on their flood control project for the past 16 years.

The city has experienced flooding of varying severity for a number of years with the most recent significant flooding damage occurring in June of 1984 from the Middle Logan Creek in Cedar County.

Due to a narrow channel that runs through the city, the creek can easily flood during a storm event.

As the result of past studies and recognizing the high cost of other options for flood control, the city of Randolph requested the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) to investigate the problem in June of 2002, and they became the leaders in the project.

LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “After looking into many alternatives, the most cost-effective option is the widening of the channel for protection from flooding.  This project will allow for most of the city, but not all, to be taken out of the flood plain.”

City Administrator, Kelsey Backer, said, “After reviewing the study by the USACE, it seems there is still the possibility of 6 homes that could be affected by the channel widening.  If so, these residents would be fully compensated for their property with relocation assistance.  However, it’s possible that none of the homes will be affected as they look into other options with city owned property, including a park and a street.”

Backer added, “There have been two votes on the flood control project and the majority of the community support the project and realize the necessity for it.  We will continue to partner with the Corp and the LENRD to protect our town, our homes, and the future of our community.”

In April of 2017, the LENRD board voted to start a sinking fund for the project.  Becker, said, “We’re looking at a budget of $500,000 per year over the next 4 years to protect the future of this community.”

In February of 2018, an inter-local agreement was signed between the LENRD and the City of Randolph for the Flood Risk Management Study for the Middle Logan Creek.  The study will propose channel improvements for their flood control plan.

Becker, added, “This flood control project will prevent hundreds of homes and businesses from being placed in the flood plain.  We are not only working to protect the community from future flood events, but also to prevent the required annual flood insurance costs.”

West Point - Flood Control Levee certification project

At their July 2017 meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors voted to help the city of West Point with their levee certification project.  The city’s current levee along the Elkhorn River is not designed to exceed the current 100-year flood standard.  This project will allow West Point to bring its levee into compliance.  The project is expected to be finished by 2021 with an estimated cost of $3.5 million.  The board voted to provide 50% cost-share with the city for the project.

The board also voted to start a sinking fund for the levee project.  LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “We’re looking at $1.7 million over the next four years, so the board has voted to start a savings account now for the project to protect the future of this community.”

LENRD Projects Manager, Curt Becker, said, “This levee project will prevent hundreds of homes and businesses from being placed in the flood plain.  We are not only working to protect the community from future flood events, but also to prevent the required annual flood insurance costs.”

Reservoir Evaluation Project - 2016

The purpose of this fact sheet is to present the results of a preliminary evaluation and ranking of ten potential reservoir sites.  The sites were previously identified by the Lower Elkhorn NRD as providing possible benefits including flood control, recreation, stream flow augmentation, recharge, and water quality.

Potential Reservoir Evaluation - FACT SHEET

FULL REPORT - Potential sites

Maps of potential projects:

Hazard Mitigation Plan updated

For every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, $4 in post storm cleanup and rebuilding is saved, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Proactive hazard mitigation planning allows a community to take actions to reduce or eliminate threats from natural disasters. To help guide future hazard mitigation projects, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) has updated their current Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Hazard mitigation plans (HMP) are a requirement of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, administered by FEMA, and once a community, county, or district is part of an approved plan they become eligible for up to a 75% cost share for a wide variety of projects listed in the plan. Hazard Mitigation Plans are required to be updated on a five-year cycle and the LENRD’s HMP will need to be updated again in 2019.

A hazard mitigation plan is a publicly-guided document that identifies vulnerability to natural disasters such as flood, drought, earthquake, wildfire, winter storm, tornado/high wind storm, dam failure, etc. The plan sets goals, establish mitigation alternatives, and prioritize projects which may alleviate potential damages to property and provide protection when future disasters occur.

The planning effort to update the plans across the district were guided by a Planning Team consisting of representatives from the LENRD, Counties, the Cities, several schools, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR), and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Public input was gathered throughout the duration of the plan development through online tools and public meetings. All communities, Counties, Sanitary Improvement Districts, Tribal Nations, and School Districts within the LENRD were eligible to participate.

The LENRD hired JEO Consulting Group, Inc. (JEO) to assist with the plan development over the past 12 to 18 months. JEO assisted in completing the LENRD’s original and current Hazard Mitigation Plan, in 2009 and 2014.  This hazard mitigation plan update was funded by a FEMA planning grant.  The cost is shared 75% through federal funding and 25% through a local match.  For this plan update, the LENRD provided the 25% local match.

For more information on the Hazard Mitigation Plan, contact Faythe Petersen, Project Coordinator, at (402) 844-2052 or fpeterse@ci.norfolk.ne.us or Ken Berney at the LENRD at kberney@lenrd.org

Proposed Rural Water System, south of Norfolk

The proposed Rural Water System, south of Norfolk, takes in three townships in Madison County between the Elkhorn River and the cities of Madison and Battle Creek plus several square miles in western Stanton County and a Highway 81 corridor between Madison and Humphrey.  The new draft of the water system’s boundary map has expanded eastward and includes properties along the Elkhorn River south of Norfolk, extending to Stanton.

Members of an advisory committee were formally approved on Thursday, April 25th, 2013 at the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District’s (LENRD) board meeting.  Those representing the area on the advisory committee are:  David Kathol, Dana Podliska, Tom Mischke, Jerry Lewis, Paul Medelman, Karen Mackel, Douglas Sunderman, Timothy Miller, Bonnie Smith, Paul Eisenmenger and Lonnie Wiedner.

With the drought of 2012 still fresh in mind, the system, while it would take several years to build, would eventually provide a dependable source of clean water to households in the country.  If they choose to join, residents would pay a one-time hookup fee and a monthly water bill to get service via buried pipeline.

Battle Creek Flood Control Study

The Lower Elkhorn NRD is working with the City of Battle Creek to find a workable solution to their flooding problems.  JEO Consulting Group has been working to come up with various solutions.  Click here for a draft of their findings.

Wau-Col Regional Water System

Construction of the Wau-Col Regional Water System broke ground on June 23, 2011.  Since its completion in 2012, the system is providing high quality water to the villages of Belden, Magnet, and McLean.  Water is purchased from Coleridge and sent to Belden, and water is purchased from Wausa and sent to 16 rural customers as well as Magnet and McLean.  The name “Wau-Col” is derived from Wausa-Coleridge.

The system goes across three county lines – Knox, Cedar, and Pierce Counties.  The $3.1 million project was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development and area sponsors including the Lower Elkhorn and the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources Districts.  The project is owned by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.  The project was formally dedicated on August 11, 2012 in Wausa.