A draft environmental assessment has been prepared to review the proposed Nebraska Game and Parks Commission maintenance and aquatic habitat rehabilitation project at Wagon Train Reservoir in Hickman, Nebraska –Lancaster County. The project would improve water quality, reduce sedimentation and shoreline erosion, improve recreational features, and enhance aquatic habitat. This would include drawing down the reservoir from the multipurpose pool elevation of 1,287.8 feet to approximately 1,276 feet in the late fall of 2021. Drawdown would occur to facilitate removal of accumulated sediment in the existing sediment basins, modification of the sediment basins to alter flow for increased capacity, repair of breakwaters, improvements for angler access, maintenance and enhancement of recreational features and installation of fish habitat features and would be maintained at drawdown for the duration of the project and allowed to refill in spring of 2022.
This draft EA is consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508), the Corps’ regulations for implementing NEPA (33 CFR 325 and Engineering Regulation 200-2-2) and other applicable environmental laws and regulations. This assessment is being completed in accordance with the CEQ regulations in Section 1506.5(a) and 1506.5(b), which allows an applicant to prepare an EA for a federal action. The Corps has independently evaluated and verified the information and analysis in this EA and takes full responsibility for the scope and content contained herein.
The public is encouraged to provide comments on the draft EA which is available for viewing at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Planning/Project-Reports/. Comments can be mailed to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District; CENWO-PMA-C; ATTN: Rebecca Podkowka; 1616 Capitol Avenue; Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments can also be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments must be postmarked or received no later than August 8, 2021.
BACKGROUND: Wagon Train Reservoir, owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was built in the fall of 1962 at 315-surface acres, was constructed primarily for the purpose of flood-control. NGPC manages the reservoir and surrounding 745 acres. Approximately 350 acres of the surrounding land is managed as a wildlife management area and 395 acres as a state recreation area. The WMA/SRA includes several features that support recreation including picnic shelters, modern camping, unsupervised swimming areas, angler access, sanitary facilities, and a boat ramp and dock. Surrounding areas, including areas managed as a WMA and the SRA, supports additional terrestrial recreational activities such as hiking and hunting.
Wagon Train Reservoir underwent renovations beginning in 2001 with improvements including construction of two control dikes, overflow weirs, and excavation within two sediment basins at the north end of the reservoir. In August of 2020, the nearly 20-year-old features were inspected and the need for repair and maintenance was documented by the NGPC.