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Project Master Plans

Master Plans are a vital tool to guide the responsible stewardship and management of public lands administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) at our Civil Works Water Resource Development Projects (projects). The Master Plan provides the direction for appropriate land management regarding the use, development, enhancement, protection, and conservation of the natural, cultural, and man-made resources at these project lands. These documents provide an inventory of land resources, land classifications for management, public recreational opportunities and resources, anticipated influences on project operations and maintenance, and an evaluation of existing and future needs required to provide a balanced management plan to improve outdoor recreation opportunities and sustain natural resources. Note that Master Plans do not address the technical aspects of water management, flood risk management, or water supply – Master Plans are intended to be a public lands management document.

Current Master Plan Updates In-progress 

Phase 1 Presentation - For Public Involvement 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is asking for the public’s input to provide comments on how public lands and waters are managed by the Corps, lessees and management partners. For questions or to provide comments please email:

Papillion Creek and Tributaries Lake Project – 2020 Master Plan Revision

Location: Omaha Metro, in Douglas and Sarpy Counties, Nebraska

Status: Phase 1 – Initiating Public Scoping, asking for public and stakeholder input to comment from June 8th through July 31st, 2020. Following Scoping Period, a Draft Master Plan Document is anticipated to be released for public review and comment on the Draft Document in Spring/Summer of 2021 and updates will be announced via the Omaha District Website and Social Media.

Facts about Papio Lakes Master Plan

The Papillion Creek and Tributaries Lakes Project, better known as the “Papio Lakes” are located in the Omaha Metro area and consist of Glenn Cunningham Lake (Dam Site No. 11), Standing Bear Lake (Dam Site No. 16), Zorinsky Lake (Dam Site No. 18) and Wehrspann Lake (Dam Site No. 20).

An Environmental Assessment (EA) will accompany the revised Papillion Creek and Tributaries Lakes Master Plan, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We ask for comments from the public and stakeholders (such as community organizations or user groups) during the scoping process; the input and comments that are received will influence the decisions we make for the management of these public resources.

We are also working with our land management partners – Glenn Cunningham Lake, Standing Bear Lake and Zorinsky Lake are managed under a Parks and Recreation Lease from the Corps to the City of Omaha – Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Property. Wehrspann Lake is managed under a Parks and Recreation Lease to the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. The Corps needs your assistance to work with our land management partners to ensure public resources are managed properly, and that the areas are managed in compliance with all applicable regulations, laws and policies for Federal lands.

Submitting Comments

The Corps encourages the general public, community groups and organizations, and other agencies to provide comments to incorporate towards the revision of this Master Plan Document as it moves along this phased process.

Submit comments via email to:

Submit comments via U.S. Mail to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Missouri River Project Office

9901 John J Pershing Dr

Omaha, NE 68112-1547

ATTN: Papio Lakes Master Plan


FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan describes how the Corps, and the Corps’ outgrants (lease holders) will manage the lands that are part of the Papillion Creek and Tributaries Lakes Project. Major topics covered and identified in the plan include:

  • The unique and important factors for this Project that influence management.
  • The natural resources on these lands – including soil classifications, vegetation, threatened & endangered species, and fish and wildlife habitat.
  • The cultural and historical resources on these lands – including any historic properties, cultural sites or areas of cultural significance.
  • The recreational resources on these lands – what recreational activities are compatible with the resource and the project’s purposes, and what recreational opportunities are desired by the public.

Once the resources are identified and described, the Master Plan describes the goals and objectives for the Corps and our land management partners to properly manage these identified resources for the next 20-25 years. Based on these goals and objectives, the current use of the land, existing regulations, and public input, each parcel of land is assigned a land use classification.

Land Use Classifications are the critical guide to determine the main authorized use for each parcel of land (ex. Wildlife management area, high-density recreation, environmentally-sensitive or dam operations). These land classifications assist our land managers in ensuring the management of these areas, and any future development is in compliance with the land classifications to ensure proper resource protection and allow for public recreational use.

Master plans do not:

  • Deal with details of design or administration of lands – the Master Plan is a high-level, conceptual document.
  • Address dam operations, levees, navigation or flood risk reduction operations.
  • Make large-scale changes to how lands are currently managed; there are restrictions and regulations that guide the management of public lands – however with the current Master Plans being so outdated, a need to reflect current regulations, policies and best management practices are needed.

Why does the Master Plan need to be updated?

The Master Plans were last updated in the 1970s and 1980s – and were written prior to much of the existing development at these four lakes. Best management practices, local recreational demand and needs have changed since the 1970/80s. Additionally, these plans need to be updated to reflect current regulations, policies, and goals and objectives.

What Land Classifications are there?

  • Project Operations – areas utilized for the operation of the dam and related structures or administrative offices and maintenance facilities.
  • High-Density Recreation – areas utilized for developed public recreation such as multipurpose trails, playgrounds, playfields (baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, etc.), picnic shelters, overlooks, developed campgrounds, fishing piers and boat ramps.
  • Multiple Resource Management – this classification is broken into four sub-categories:
    • Low Density Recreation – areas managed for recreation but primitive and limited development, such as gravel/dirt trails, or in coordination with wildlife viewing.
    • Future/Inactive Recreation Lands – lands currently closed to high-density recreation or may be opened and developed at a later time.
    • Wildlife Management – areas managed in direct support of wildlife management.
    • Vegetative Management – areas managed in direct support for conservation of certain plant species types.
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area – areas that have critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, or unique characteristics that require the area to be preserved and limit any future development.
  • Mitigation – areas acquired for habitat or other purposes to mitigate the effects of the reservoir.


Missouri River Mainstem Dams

Tri-Lakes, Colorado Dams


Additional Omaha District Dams

*   Cold Brook and Cottonwood Springs Dam and Lake Projects, Fall River Basin, South Dakota: Project Master Plan        

Master Plan Updates

The Cold Brook and Cottonwood Springs Project(s) Master Plans are final.  please Contact Us.