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Corps officials reveal plan to reduce flood threat in Omaha

Posted: 2:43 PM, Jul 27, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-27 15:43:47-04
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers is considering property buyouts, two new dams and a flood wall as options to reduce the flood threat in Omaha.

The Corps conducted a joint study with the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District on quelling the flood threat and presented its findings at a public meeting Tuesday.

The study focused on the flood threat in the Papillion Creek watershed, which includes significant portions of Douglas, Washington and Sarpy Counties.

The meeting drew more than 60 rural residents whose taxes may fund the urban development, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Some taxpayers say their taxes will be diverted to fix problems created by what they see as lax control of flood plain development.

Corps project manager Tiffany Vanosdall said a draft recommendation and proposed costs will be released this fall.

One of the two proposed dams is now in the preliminary planning stages on the South Papillion Creek in Sarpy County.

Residents have opposed the other dam proposed on the Thomas Creek in northern Douglas County.

Shawn Melotz, whose rural property would be affected by the Thomas Creek dam, said she’s disappointed to see it back under consideration.

“It surprises me because of the lack of development in (our) area,” she said. “I’m not sure what’s changed.”

Extensive downstream development in the Omaha metropolitan area contributed to the dam making the preliminary cut for cost-benefit analysis, Vanosdall said.

Other flood reduction measures under consideration include widening stretches of some creeks, modifying some levees and adding flood walls atop some levees. The Keystone in the Aksarben area is one of the trails where a wall might get built, based on early designs.

But Vanosdall said there will always be some flood risk.

″(This won’t) prevent all flooding,” she said. “There are risks no matter what flood measures are in place.”