Location: Schuyler, Nebraska
Authority: Section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948, as amended
Sponsors: City of Schuyler and the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District
Current Phase: Construction
The city of Schuyler, the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Omaha District) partnered on a project to reduce flood risks to the city of Schuyler, Nebraska.
Schuyler, the county seat for Colfax County, is subject to flooding from three major sources of water - Shell Creek, Lost Creek and the Platte River. Shell Creek, a tributary to the Platte River, lies to the north and east of Schuyler. Lost Creek, a minor tributary of the Platte River, runs along the southern edge of the community. The Platte River is located 1.5 miles south of the city. Current Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Rate Maps show many portions of the city, including heavily developed areas, are within the 100-year flood plains of both Shell Creek and the Platte River.
In May 2008, a major flood from Shell Creek caused extensive property damage in the northeastern part of the city. Just as many residents were finishing repairs to their homes and businesses, they were hit again in 2010 with flooding in the north from Shell Creek and in the south from Lost Creek. In 2011, the Omaha District completed a feasibility study which identified an economically feasible project consisting of two levee systems, one to protect against Shell Creek flooding and another along the south side of the city to protect it from Platte River flooding.
This project is being conducted in two phases. Phase 1 consisted of a new 2.2-mile levee constructed north and east of Schuyler to address flood threats posed by Shell Creek. Phase 2 will involve construction of a new levee, approximately 2.5 miles long, south and west of Schuyler to address flood threats from the Platte River. The total project (Phase 1 and 2) will reduce most of Schuyler's flood risks from the 100-year flood and reduce annual flood damages by approximately $1,900,000.
The Omaha District collaborated closely with project sponsors, Nebraska Department of Roads, and the Union Pacific Railroad on this project. Schuyler residents and others interested in the project were encouraged to participate during the many public meetings held at the Oak Ballroom, a historic structure in the city that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The public meetings were conducted in English and Spanish to allow the largely Hispanic community equal opportunity to be involved in the project.
A construction contract for the Shell Creek levee (Phase 1) was awarded in September 2013 to TJC Engineering, Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky for a total of $3.5 million. A groundbreaking ceremony with the project sponsors occurred in March of 2014, and a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated completion of the project in May 2015.
Project Update: Final construction of the levee and additional major features was completed in October 2015. Additional grading and culvert work to improve drainage near the west end of the levee was completed in March 2016. Seeding of recently graded soil will follow as weather permits this spring.