Missouri River Water Management News

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Work nears completion on Union Dike levee

Published March 26, 2019

In today’s daily update of current flood fight efforts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, is close to wrapping up temporary restoration of the Union Dike levee breach repair, near Valley, Nebraska. The breach has been closed and work continues to build the levee to meet federal standards. Work is expected to take a total of six work days to complete and is scheduled to be Wednesday, Mar 27.

There are more than 350 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte, and Elkhorn Rivers and tributaries that have experienced significant flood damage. Due to the magnitude of damage along these levees, repair of the levee system efforts will take an extended period of time to execute. 

The majority of the levee system south of Omaha remains compromised and vulnerable due to record inflows surpassing their designed protection levels. As of 1130 today, there are 52 confirmed full/partial breaches at L611-614 (South of Council Bluffs, IA), L-601 (South of Glenwood, IA), L-594 (near Fremont County, IA), L-575 (Fremont County, IA), L-550 (Atchison County, MO), L-536 (Atchinson County, Mo), R-613 (Sarpy County), R-562 (Nemaha County, NE), Clear Creek (Ashland, NE), Union Levee (Valley, NE), and R-573 (Otoe County, NE). There is only one levee that remains overtopping, L-550.

Today, the District mailed notifications to levee sponsors in the PL 84-99 program with information on how to request damage assessment and levee repairs. Levees must be active in the Public Law 84-99 program to be eligible for repairs.

The Omaha District is currently providing technical assistance in multiple locations. 

In Sioux Fall and Dell Rapids, South Dakota, a team is providing assistance for high flow and snow melt along the Big Sioux and Little Sioux Rivers. In Clear Creek, Nebraska, a team is assisting with breach closures.  Technical assistance is being given to Hamburg, Iowa for the Ditch six levee.  There are also teams providing both direct and technical assistance to Watertown, South Dakota and Pacific Junction, Iowa. Additionally, there are teams offering technical assistance to Council Bluff, Iowa, Saunders County, Nebraska, and Dodge County, Nebraska.

A risk of significant flooding continues due to the high plains snowpack in North and South Dakota, especially across eastern South Dakota and the unregulated James and Big Sioux River basins. I cannot emphasize enough that residents should continue to monitor the situation and keep in close contact with their local and state emergency management organizations to stay updated on any evacuation plans and emergency conditions. Levee breaches can happen quickly OR gradually and can occur when water overtops a levee and washes out a portion of the levee and can occur at lower water elevations as well.

Warm temperatures are expected today (Tuesday) with even warmer temperatures tomorrow (Wednesday), followed by a cool down for the weekend. The midweek warm temperatures will accelerate snowmelt across the Dakotas and increase flows in area streams and rivers, which are already flowing high with numerous river gages above flood stage.  A storm system is projected to move across the Rocky Mountains and central plains Thursday through Saturday. Some of the precipitation is forecasted to fall as snow across the western basin with the majority of the precipitation across the eastern basin falling as rainfall. The current forecasted track of this system projects the heaviest precipitation to fall south of the snowpack areas. The lower basin maybe snow free, however high soil moisture across this area would suggest above average runoff from any precipitation. We will continue to monitor closely.

Omaha District’s focus remains on ensuring the safety of citizens and communicating the conditions on the river systems to all of our partners and stakeholders. The Corps continues to provide flood fight assistance to state, local, and tribal government agencies.

The Omaha District has distributed approximately 227,000 sandbags, 2,020 super sandbags, 11,430 feet of HESCO barriers, seven pumps and 21 poly rolls.

The first source of information for citizens is their local emergency managers. For questions or concerns you can call 211, which is a national resource hotline and website geared to local area needs.

Omaha Public Affairs

Release no. UNRELEASED