FREMONT – The City Council considered and approved an Interlocal Agreement between the City, Dodge County, Village of Inglewood, and Lower Platte North Natural
Resources District (NRD) at last month’s Council meeting for the purposes of pooling resources and responsibility for river water management and flood recovery. Since then, the number of potential political subdivisions that might want to join the Joint Water Management Advisory Board has grown considerably. The Council approved an updated Interlocal Agreement at last night’s meeting, and the agreement is now between:
- The City of Fremont
- Dodge County
- Village of Inglewood
- Lower Platte North Natural Resources District
- City of North Bend
- Cotterell Diking & Drainage District
- Ames Diking & Drainage District
- North Bend Diking & Drainage District
- Elkhorn Township
- Platte Township
- Sanitary and Improvement District #3 – Lake Ventura
- Sanitary and Improvement District #5 – Timberwood
The entire region is still at risk for flooding in the event that the Platte River rises 2-3 feet due to rainfall or other conditions. Fremont’t City Administrator, Brian Newton, provided a map and detailed overview of all the breaches between the Platte and land properties.
Beginning in the west, the Legge Lake area breaches fall within the Army Corps of Engineering’s “Ames Diking District,” and comprise an enormous breach that the Corps is currently designing a solution for. After the design is approved, the Corps will take bids and the construction process will begin.
This video from the Omaha Army Corps website provides an overhead view of the breach and the surrounding area. (Skip to 1:50 in the video to see the actual breach.)
This video is the property of the Omaha Army Corps of Engineers. More information at https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Omaha-District-System-Restoration-Team/Ames-Diking/
Following the map east of Ames, the flood worked its way into Timberwood, washing out a driveway road and raising the level of Timberwood lake by several feet. It has cost the Timberwood residents $250,000 to install a temporary fix for the destroyed roadway, and four residents reported water damage.
The flow of water then joined with the cut off ditch and neared Lake Ventura. Ventura has a significant dike around the entire area, so most of the flood water flowed into the nearby railroad tracks, and moved down Highway 30. Dodge County fortified Highway 30 to keep the flow of water to the south, and it washed out Co Rd 18 as the water moved south of Ventura and entered the Rod & Gun Club area, blowing out the sand dike there.
The Rod & Gun Club breach has not been repaired, an issue of significant concern to Newton at last night’s meeting. The breach is a quarter mile long and will cost millions of dollars to repair. “We’re not sure who is responsible for fixing this breach,” Newton stated at the meeting. However, the uncertainty hasn’t stopped the City, county & NRD from trying to come up with a fix in order to safeguard the area from another catestrophic flood. Officials from the City of Fremont, Dodge County and NRD met with Rod & Gun Club officials to get an agreement in place so the breach can be repaired. “It’s something that we certainly should be pursuing,” said Newton, “and we (the City, Dodge County and NRD) jointly agreed to co-sponsor the fix, and to work with FEMA and the Army Corps to try to get that breach fixed.”
Aside from the Ames Diking breach, the Rod & Gun Club breach is the most concerning. “Until we fix the Rod & Gun breach, County Road 19 is not secure,” Newton stressed. Dodge County has already spent over $1M to repair and secure County Road 19.
There is a temporary dike in the Rod & Gun Club now; however, that temporary solution could be overtopped by any significant rain, “Three or four inches [at once] would be enough,” said Newton.
As for the other breaches, mixed progress has been made. In the Fremont State Lakes, the Lake 20 breach is about half repaired. The breaches around Emerson Estates have not been repaired. The breach near Ridge Road till needs to be verified as permanent, but the City owned Union Dike breaches are fixed. There are still reinforcements to be made and clean-up projects underway in the yellow indicated sections marked “Farmland, Fremont & Railroad Dyke Breach” on the map. Floodgates are also being considered for the area between the two dykes, near Highway 77.
The breaches span a wide area, and no one governmental body is responsible or empowered to take action on all of them. “This is exactly why that group (the Joint Water Management Advisory Board) was formed. We need to look at this entire area in its whole. This threatens the county, it threatens Fremont, it affects lake communities – it threatens a lot of things, which is why that Board needs to be created.”
The formation of the Board was approved and two representatives from each body will participate on it.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated water impacts to the Timberwood Lake community. Four homes were affected by water.