The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Nebraska is highlighting the impact of the state’s watershed projects.
Allen Gehring, NRCS state conservation engineer, says there have been more than 900 projects completed throughout Nebraska since the 1950s.
He says that work done with the natural resources districts covers about seven percent of the state.
“All in all, it isn’t necessarily a big portion of the state, but when you consider the number of projects that are out there and the benefits that they provide, it does have a big impact,” Gehring tells Nebraska Radio Network.
That annual savings is estimated at about $80 million.
“They’re usually small-scale, anywhere from a few acres in size to maybe a few dozen acres in size, as far as the damns and ponds go,” Gehring says. “These basically mitigate against flood damages that come along with large storm events.”
Projects include watershed protection, flood prevention, erosion and sediment control, water supply, improved water quality, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, wetland creation and restoration, and public recreation.
Gehring says more can be done in Nebraska.
“A lot of it boils down to whether or not there’s federal funding involved,” he explains. “In the case of the projects we’ve constructed over the past 60 years, I would say basically 99 percent, if not all of them, had some sort of federal funding that went into the projects.”
April 29th – May 5th is Soil and Water Stewardship Week.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:37]