Omaha District Completes Levee Repairs Ahead Of Schedule

The Omaha Engineer District reports it has completed repairs to levees damaged on three of the tributaries of the Missouri River ahead of schedule. The projects were Pierce-North Branch of the Elkhorn River, Nebraska; Broken Bow-Mud Creek, Nebraska; and Ida Grove/Odebolt Creek, Iowa. The contracts for those projects totaled $707,000.

According to Bret Budd, chief of the Systems Restoration Team, the flood damage to the tributary levees consisted mainly of erosion of the river side of the levees from the high flows and also damage to the crest  of the levees for those levees that were overtopped.

He went on to explain that record levels of rainfall and flooding this year were the main cause of damages.

“The 2019 flood was initially a record high flow down the majority of the tributaries and the Missouri River. Over 50 river gages throughout the region set record high stages in March 2019,” he said. “Luckily on the tributaries, the duration of high flows was relatively short-lived compared to the Missouri River, which is still in flood stage.”

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Even with these successes on the books, there is still a lot of work ahead, Budd said.

“With three tributary projects completed, and four under construction (Western Sarpy, Cedar Creek, Scribner and Columbus) at almost $10 million, the Corps of Engineers has made significant progress on repairing damages from the March 2019 flood,” he said. “We still have 15 more levee repair projects to award on tributaries. The majority of these projects have more severe damage that require more extensive engineering and design.”

Budd said the Omaha District is being assisted by its sister districts in Walla Walla, Portland and Chicago with those four projects, and another four projects are being designed by three different private engineering firms. All 15 of these projects are in the design stage; waiting for real estate; or waiting for levee cost-share funds on non-federal levee systems

The work at Western Sarpy, Cedar Creek, Scribner and Columbus, all of which are in Nebraska, is scheduled to be completed by April 2020.