Much of the Central Platte NRD has long been plagued by floods. On average, there’s a flood every year in some area of the District, with major floods occurring every six to eight years. The land area within the District is unusual in the fact that most of the tributaries of the Platte River run almost parallel to the Platte itself. Consequently, the tributaries span many miles of the flat terrace or bottomlands adjacent to the Platte before emptying into the river.
In the central and western ends of the District, most of the tributaries originate in the uplands where flood control structure sites are plentiful, but then drop off into the flat terrace or bottomlands and meander for many miles before reaching the Platte River. Many of the District’s other streams, such as Silver Creek, Warm Slough, and the North Branch, originate in the flat terraces or bottomlands where there are no sites for flood control structures. Even Prairie Creek has no flood control structure sites except in its extreme upper reaches.
The Wood River has approximately 173 miles of channel meandering through the fertile Platte River Valley. There are numerous flood control structure sites in its upper reaches. However, in the flood of June 1967 on the Wood River, most of the rain contributing to the flooding in the Grand Island area fell east of Kearney where there are few flood control structures sites. Although flood control structures are or could be, of great benefit to this area, total protection cannot be achieved without some form of channel rectification. The Board has adopted, as a general policy, the design and construction of flood control measures on a watershed basis.
The NRD has developed over 30 flood control structures. The plans for these structures have been designed to provide for orderly development of flood control and other related resources activities in watersheds, with each watershed plan encompassing a number of individual project plans in the total watershed development.
In 2020, Central Platte NRD was selected to receive Watershed & Flood Prevention Operations Program (WFPO) grants from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to identify what is needed to address flooding within the Spring/Buffalo Creek Watershed, Lower Wood River Watershed, and the Elm/Turkey Creeks Watershed.
The two-year grants pay 100% of costs to complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) and to design specific watershed plans. Virtual public meetings have been hosted to receive the public's input on issues in the three watersheds.
On May 26, 2022, CPNRD's Board adopted the most recent and FEMA approved version of the Central Platte NRD Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan update. The purpose of the Mitigation Plan is to lessen the effects of disasters by increasing the disaster resistance of the counties and participating jurisdictions located within the planning boundary by identifying the hazards that affect the Central Platte NRD and prioritize mitigation strategies to reduce potential loss of life and property damage from those hazards.
Hazard mitigation planning is a process in which hazards are identified and profiled; people and facilities at-risk are identified and assessed for threats and potential vulnerabilities; and strategies and mitigation measures are identified. Hazard mitigation planning increases the ability of communities to effectively function in the face of natural and human-caused disasters. The goal of the process is to reduce risk and vulnerability, in order to lessen impacts to life, the economy, and infrastructure. Plan participants are listed below.
Central Platte NRD City of Osceola Buffalo County Village of Polk Village of Amherst Village of Shelby
Village of Elm Creek City of Stromsburg City of Gibbon Village of Eustis (Frontier County)
City of Kearney (Special Jurisdictions) Village of Pleasanton Central City Fire District City of Ravenna
Central City Public Schools Village of Riverdale Central District Health Department Village of Shelton
Centura Public Schools Dawson County Cross Country Community Schools City of Cozad Doniphan Fire District
Village of Eddyville Dawson County Drainage District No. 2, 3 & 4 Village of Farnam City of Gothenburg City of Lexington Eddyville Fire District Village of Overton Elm Creek Fire District Village of Sumner Elm Creek Public Schools Hall County
Gibbon Volunteer Fire District Village of Alda Gibbon Public Schools Village of Cairo Kearney Public Schools Village of Doniphan Lexington Fire District City of Grand Island Lexington Public Schools City of Wood River
Pleasanton Fire District Merrick County Pleasanton Public Schools Central City Ravenna Public Schools
Village of Chapman Shelton Public Schools Village of Clarks University of Nebraska – Kearney
Regional Planning Team
Jesse Mintken, Assistant Manager, Central Platte NRD Darrin Lewis, Emergency Manager, Buffalo County
Brian Woldt, Emergency Manager, Dawson County Jon Rosenlund, Emergency Manager, Hall County
Chad Nabity, Floodplain Administrator, Hall County Jenna Clark, Emergency Manager, Merrick County/Region 44
Bob Carey, Emergency Manager, Polk County *Becky Appleford, Project Coordinator, JEO Consulting Group Inc.
*Karl Dietrich, Planner, JEO Consulting Group Inc. *Kayla Vondracek, Planner, JEO Consulting Group Inc.
*Lexy Hindt, Planning Specialist NEMA *Adele Phillips, Floodplain Mitigation Planner, NeDNR
*Served as an advisory or consultant role.
In 2019, JEO Consulting was hired to conduct an inventory of dams that are 1-acre or larger within the District. The contract includes a conceptual design of dams for multiple beneficial uses; evaluating up to 150 existing and potential dam and other structure sites. The project determines the localized water balance, recharge potential, storage capacity, design/construction considerations, and conceptual cost for dam improvement or new construction. The NRD received grant funding from the Water Sustainability Fund in the amount of $56,270.00 with the balance being funded by CPNRD in the amount of $84,410.
The NRD has 40 dams that are nearing their 50-year lifespan. The following dam updates will initiate a long-term plan to replace, update, or remove the aging structures:
In just a matter of hours, river channels can become clogged and flooding can occur. Once ice begins to clog a waterway, the water can back up quickly. If you live near a channel with ice, be constantly aware of the level of the water. Be prepared to evacuate.
Residents may keep up to date with Emergency Management postings on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as listen to local news outlets for announcements. Tune in to NOAA weather radio for alerts or visit www.weather.gov/gid . Residents are urged to take flood precautions including knowing alternate escape routes, having an emergency supplies kit, and an emergency communications plan with family and neighbors.
Flood waters can be deep. Whenever there are rushing floodwaters, roads can be washed away quickly and bridges may become dangerous. It is nearly impossible to tell how deep the water is. Even if it looks shallow, do not drive into flooded and potentially washed out areas. People have been trapped in their vehicles and/or drowned when trying to cross moving flood waters.
It pays to be prepared. The following information is adapted from the Federal Emergency Management Agency website regarding disaster preparedness: www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
For more information please contact your county Emergency Manager:
Know alternate escape routes. Have an emergency supplies kit & communications plan with your family and neighbors.
January 1996 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report: Ice Jam Flooding and Mitigation, Lower Platte River Basin, Nebraska.
Contact information for all Emergency Managers in Nebraska Website