Residents of Gibbon clearly and emotionally stated their case on Tuesday for assistance in preventing more major floods. Appealing to the Buffalo County Board of Commissioners to take the lead, the residents said they’ve suffered the effects of two historic floods in the span of just six months and doubt whether their town can absorb another of Mother Nature’s gut punches.
Residents of Gibbon now have survived floods of such severity that they’ve been labeled 1,000-year events.
Clearly, Gibbon needs help, and we believe Chairman Bill McMullen of Kearney and his colleagues on the Board of Commissioners will put things into motion. Where the process leads is likely to the Central Platte Natural Resources District.
Headquartered in Grand Island, the Central Platte NRD has proven its capacity to tame streams that are prone to flooding and to greatly reduce their capacity for damage. Stretching from east to west across 10 counties, CPNRD has the experience and expertise to work with engineering contractors to thoroughly assess flood threats and devise strategies to reduce the threats.
We in the Kearney area already have witnessed or been involved in a number of CPNRD’s efforts.
They include assessing flooding concerns in the Elm Creek area. Engineers suggested building upstream from the town, but the project was expensive and lacked public support and funding, so it was dropped.
A flood prevention project that was carried through involved the partnership of CPNRD, Buffalo County and the city of Kearney. The project reduces the potential for flooding in the Wood River by retaining excessive runoff from northeast Kearney in a detention cell. Channel improvements and drop structures help manage the water when it enters the Wood River.
According to its website, CPNRD also has worked with Gibbon on drainage issues, including improvements to its storm water system, a project that was completed in 2010.
Several Gibbon residents said Tuesday the Wood River poses a continuing flood threat because hundreds of fallen trees are acting like a beaver dam. Rather than flowing easily in the Wood River, the logs impede flows and the water rises in town.
We hope the logs can be removed immediately.
Six months ago as Gibbon residents cleaned up after the first historic flood, who could have imagined a second flood of great destructive force was just six months away?
We agree with the people of Gibbon. Removing the logjam requires urgency or another freakish rainstorm could deal the town of 1,850 people a death blow.
Long-term we believe CPNRD can determine what is the best option to protect lives and property along a broader stretch of the Wood River.