BEATRICE – As heavy as the recent rain was and as quickly as rivers and streams rose, Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District officials say it could have been worse, without the benefit of watershed dams in Gage, Jefferson and Saline Counties.
The flood control structures help slow down and capture water, reducing damage to fields, roads and private property.
The Lower Big Blue NRD over the years has purchased land rights and gained funding of over $18 million from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to build 165 floodwater control structures across three counties.
Most of the time, the structures go unnoticed, officials say….until they prove their worth during heavy rain. NRCS Hydraulic Engineer Arlis Plummer estimates the flood control structures in Gage, Jefferson and Saline Counties helped prevent over $4 million in flood damage, from the recent storms.
Over the Labor Day Holiday weekend, storms dumped over five inches of rain in some areas of the Lower Big Blue River basin.
NRD Assistant Manager Scott Sobotka said he saw how the flood control dams and conservation practices worked to lessen the damage from the heavy rain and runoff.
Nebraska has almost 900 watershed dams built under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, benefitting over 1.6 million acres in Nebraska. Those benefits include preventing soil erosion, damage to roads and bridges, saving property and lives…along with the benefits of water conservation and providing wildlife habitat.
Beatrice NRCS District Conservationist Kelli Evans said practices such as no-till, terraces, waterways and buffer strips also help protect fields from serious erosion.