The Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and its community partners will open a Multi Agency Resource
Center (MARC) at the Ponca Tribal Headquarters, 2523 Woodbine Street, Niobrara, Nebraska 68760.
The MARC will offer impacted residents additional aid and resources, including financial assistance for those who qualify, from multiple relief agencies. The MARC will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The MARC brings relief resources and offers residents convenient access to agencies in one central location. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are just a few of the organizations that will be available at the MARC.
This is one of several MARCs that will be open throughout the flood zone over the coming weeks. “Our goal is to get resources and referrals to people in need and anyone affected by the recent floods is welcome,” said Mark Lentz, Community Engagement and Partnerships Lead for the Red Cross disaster relief effort.
What: Multi-Agency Resource Center – Niobrara, Nebraska
When: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Ponca Tribal Headquarters, 2523 Woodbine Street, Niobrara, NE 68760
Join the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition for its 18th Annual Membership Meeting to be held on
Tuesday, April 23rd beginning at 1:30 pm at the Ponca Tribal Headquarters located in the village of Niobrara at 2523
The meeting is free and open to the public. All interested people are encouraged to attend.
MSAC has invited Paul Boyd, a hydraulic engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers – Omaha District, and Brad
Thompson, of the USACE Omaha District’s planning branch, to provide a progress update of developing a sediment
management plan for Lewis and Clark Lake along with the affected tributaries and the delta within the lake and
On Jan. 16, 2019, MSAC formally requested planning assistance from the USACE to develop a sediment management
plan. Currently, the USACE is drafting an agreement for MSAC to consider that would outline the scoping costs and tasks.
The preliminary planning process of scoping identifies the work that will be done and how much it will cost to develop
the sediment management plan (SMP) aimed at outlining actions that can be taken to prevent sediment from reducing
water storage capacity at Lewis and Clark Lake.
“This plan would analyze options to address the ongoing sedimentation problems that have broad national, state, local,
tribal and general public concern. The goals of this project align with MSAC’s support of reservoir sustainability for
future generations, as the benefits provided are too great of national and local importance to allow to wither away,”
said Sandy Stockholm, MSAC executive director. “But first we must determine what needs to be done to come up with
the plan, including a timeline and costs for bringing data together in a broad, holistic way.”
In July of 2018, MSAC began a discussion with stakeholders around Lewis and Clark Lake along with local, state, and
national officials about the specific pathways available for developing a SMP. Many entities in both South Dakota and
Nebraska have indicated support.
Recent flooding on the Niobrara River will also be discussed at the annual meeting.
Also invited to provide an update is Brian Halm, operations manager with Streamside Environmental. The sediment
removal and restoration service company, located in Findlay, Ohio, utilizes passive sediment collectors to remove certain
sediments moving along stream bottoms.
MSAC will hold elections for three Board of Director member positions whose terms are expiring: Charlie Gross, an at-
large member; Butch Becker, representing Class IV (individuals) and Randy Holmquist, representing Class III
The MSAC Board of Director members will conduct a board meeting beginning at 10:30 a.m. also at the Ponca Tribal
Headquarters in Niobrara. Both the board meeting and annual meeting are open to the public. Between meetings, lunch
will be provided at approximately 12:30 pm. For planning purposes, please let MSAC know via email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone, 605-661-1594, if you are able to take part in lunch.
MSAC, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, invites its members and anyone interested in the future of the Missouri River
reservoirs and system benefits to attend one or both meetings. Membership and contribution information can be found
at www.msaconline.com. Follow MSAC on Facebook.
The Niobrara FBLA chapter attended the FBLA State Leadership Conference in Omaha last Thursday through Saturday. Students participated in competitive events, election of state officers, and attended informative workshops on business and leadership. Erika Kitto and Daniel Redowl competed in the Network Design competition, placing 8th in the state.
Residents of six more Nebraska counties and the Santee Sioux Nation, impacted by high water and power outages due to the recent floods, may be eligible for individual assistance, including Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP). The United States Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Children and Family Services have approved the D-SNAP for affected, qualified individuals in the Santee Sioux Nation and the following counties:
D-SNAP uses different qualifying rules than regular SNAP. If you would not normally qualify for SNAP, based on income, you may qualify for D-SNAP if you have suffered one or more of the following disaster-related expenses:
DHHS officials will determine eligibility based on available income, minus unreimbursed disaster related expenses. All resources except cash on hand and in bank accounts will be excluded from the eligibility determination.
If approved for D-SNAP, the benefits will be provided on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card within three days of approval. EBT cards are used like debit cards to buy food at most local grocery stores.
Applicants must visit a DHHS assistance site for in-person verifications and to receive an EBT card. A driver's license or another form of identification from the head of household must be provided. The application process may be started at the ACCESSNebraska website. Fill out an application and submit it or print the completed application and take it to an assistance site.
Applications for D-SNAP benefits must be made on between April 5 and April 18 at the Niobrara Rural Fire District located at 259 Spruce Avenue in Niobrara.
There are no quick fixes for the bridges damaged by the flood around Niobrara, but officials are hoping to have temporary bridges in place by the time school starts in the fall.
At a public meeting Wednesday in Niobrara, officials addressed efforts to repair multiple bridges, including the Mormon Canal Bridge, between Niobrara and the Niobrara State Park. The issues ran deeper than simple transportation, according to those attending, because first responders are unable to reach those in need during emergency situations.
Mark Simpson lives west of the bridge that’s out and said he’s now an hour from town. Since he and his wife, Pat, are both EMTs, they are now carrying equipment if needed.
“We’ve got the back end of our pickup loaded with rescue equipment,” Simpson said. We’re getting a defibrillator and that kind of thing, but it can be a life. I mean you either call a helicopter or you try and drive out there as fast as you can, but it’s going to be hard to deal with that.”
Kyle Schneweis, director of the Nebraska Department of Transportation, said he understands the concerns and Knox County won’t be forgotten despite so much emphasis on the Omaha and Lincoln area.
“I would just like to emphasize that we don’t have any bigger priorities than the projects we’re talking about here at DOT,” Schneweis said. “When you’re talking the EMTs, when you’re talking the businesses, the life of these communities, there’s no bigger priority. If you go away with nothing, please understand that.”
Schneweis said during the peak of last month’s flood, one fifth of all of Nebraska’s highways were closed. Of the 2,000 miles closed, just 117 remain closed today, including some in Knox County along Highway 12.
He said there are two bridges west of Niobrara impacted by the flood. Although one requires minor repairs, until the Mormon Canal bridge is repaired, the other bridge is all but useless.
“We hear you,” Schneweis said. “We need to get that thing open as quickly as possible. We’re trying to get that temporary bridge in place in time for school to open in August.”
Khalil Jaber, the NDOT Deputy Director-Engineering, said they are looking at combining the temporary and the permanent bridges at the Mormon Canal into one contract.
“What you’re going to see is we’re taking a 36-month project delivery or even 12 months of hydraulic analysis into four weeks,” he said. “What we’re concerned about is when the contractors are building the permanent after they finish the temporary, you’re going to see that immediately happening. We worried that if there’s any events or anything that hits that, then we’re all the sudden completely out of the temporary.”
Jaber said the the permanent bridge will take years, not months, but they are trying to be as aggressive as possible with repairs. When asked if a footbridge is possible, Moe Jamshidi, NDOT Deputy Director-Operations, said even that would require permits and inspections that would slow down other repairs in the long run.
“The footbridge also has to meet certain standards and everything and build it to a place where it doesn’t interfere with our temporary bridge that we are putting there,” he said. “ We really felt like it was not really efficient.”
Kevin Domogalla, NDOT District 3 Engineer, said there are more than 60 sites in the area that have been identified as having damages and repairs began in Knox County “as soon as the rain stopped falling.”
He said west of Niobrara — and east of Verdel — temporary patches are already in place that have made Highway 12 traversable again. South of Niobrara, he said, a contractor is working on a bridge over Burgess Creek where the bridge deck had issues due to the extra traffic and ice.
“Once again, got them in real quick,” Domogalla said. “Looks like we might get that open (and) get the traffic lights out of there on Friday, so that’ll be open for the weekend.”
A representative from the Santee Sioux Nation emergency management asked about raising Highway 12.
Jaber said, “With the unalignment, obviously we’re raising that road and then any connections and any consideration from elsewhere is not necessarily part of that.”
He said unalignment — or raising the highway is “the most feasible, practical, economical” for the situation.
Domogalla said east of Niobrara is more difficult to repair, although K Porter Construction is working on the damages, including “a rather large washout, bigger than what we had first anticipated, that slowed the progress down.” He said there’s no timeline as to when it will be finished, but they are hauling millings in to be put down.
“We’re committed to getting these roads open as soon as we can,” Domogalla said.
They also discussed a bridge south of Spencer. Although the original bridge is fine, with a quarter of the highway gone, they are needing to create a new bridge. They are aiming for a new bridge to be open by August with a permanent bridge open in 2020.
“That’s the kind of bridge you don’t just build overnight,” Domogalla said.
Due to the gravel roads deteriorating conditions with rainfall, the Knox County Roads Department has closed 531 Ave north of Center from 889 Rd to Highway 12. The Knox County Sheriff's Office asks that you persue an alternate route so you do not get stuck.
Vic's Service in Niobrara is back up and running. Call for tires, oil changes, brakes and etc. At this time they cannot do hydraulic hoses, propane, gas or diesel. The number is 402-857-3309.
The Knox County sheriff's department has reported that the Knox County Road Dept is restricting trucks over Pischelville Bridge due to the gravel roads deteriorating conditions with rainfall. Just car and pickup traffic for now.
The Santee Sioux Office of Environmental Protection will be hosting another Free Water Testing event on Tuesday the 9th. It is just like the event held in Verdigre recently. It is open to everyone in the Niobrara and surrounding area with a private well.
They will have the kits ahead of time so that you make pick up or make arrangements to get, so when the lab folks are here you can deliver with the sample. They will also have kits that you can pick up and take home to get a sample. The water samples MUST BE IN THE PROVIDED CONTAINERS. Please don't bring water in a container from your home, they will not except them.
The office is located on Hwy 12 across from the Feather Hill Dollar Store or 2 miles west of the Ohiya Casino. if you have any questions call the OEP office and ask for Justin Avery, 402-857-3347.
The recent catastrophic flooding in Nebraska has affected the Tribal homelands in, along with many of the service delivery areas, causing the Ponca Tribe to declare a State of Emergency. This devastating event has impacted many of the members as well, destroying homes, possessions and livelihoods, along with impacting community infrastructure and services. During the crisis, Tribe members and community pulled together locally to rescue and shelter those endangered by the flooding. As the floodwaters recede, the tribe continues to aid with recovery efforts.
To donate, please visit the website at www.poncatribe-ne.org, where we have set up a PayPal button for donations.