Missouri River Flooding
1:29 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Papio-Missouri River NRD and city of Omaha partnering on levee study, improvements

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District is contributing $2 million toward additional upgrades and a study of Omaha’s levee system.

The study is required for FEMA recertification of the levee system. That’s separate from what’s done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. FEMA began requiring levee certifications after Hurricane Katrina.

John Winkler, General Manager of the Papio-Missouri NRD, says last summer’s Missouri River flood taught the city and NRD valuable lessons.“And one of those is without collaborative partnerships with the NRD and with the city that we would have faced a very devastating event.  And the work of a lot of folks and some great efforts on behalf of the city and the NRD, we were able to protect the city and protect the metro area.”

The study will determine if Omaha’s levee system needs additional reinforcement beyond the $15 million in repairs the Corps of Engineers is doing. It’ll also be used for testing and improvements.

Gordon Andersen of Omaha Public Works says the city will receive a letter from FEMA about the certification requirements. The city has two years once it receives the letter to make the improvements, test the levee system, and provide documentation. Officials haven’t received that letter yet, and Andersen say they want to begin repairs before the letter arrives.