History

The Salt Creek Levee System was built as part of the Salt Creek and Tributaries Flood Control Project in the 1960’s and continues to provide risk reduction for Lincoln neighborhoods and businesses to this day.  The levee system is owned and operated to federal standards by the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD).

Start

1960’s

Since the levees became the responsibility of the LPSNRD, they have dedicated resources and staff to the operation and maintenance of over 13 miles of levees in Lincoln.

Over its lifetime the Salt Creek and Tributaries Flood Control Project has successfully fought flooding and reduced risk for Lincoln.

Upon completion of levee construction in 1967 the USACE handed operation and maintenance responsibilities over to the local sponsor, now known as the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD).

Construction on the Salt Creek Levee System  and flood control channel began in 1964 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The system is comprised of seven independent segments separated by tributary locations. 

Salt Creek Levee construction, looking North. 

NOAA Satellite Image of Hurricane Katrina.

Late August 2005

Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005 which, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was the costliest disaster ever to occur in the United States.  Over 1,500 lives were lost.  Some damages and loss of life were a result of a regional levee system being overwhelmed and breaching as a result.

At the time Katrina hit the USACE had already begun reviewing policies related to levee safety and Katrina’s destruction amplified the importance of the effort.  As a result the USACE Levee Safety Program strengthened inspection, operation, and maintenance standards to ensure reliable flood risk reduction including lessons learned from Katrina among other disasters.

Early October 2014

Lincoln was hit with more than 6 inches of rain with the Salt Creek and Antelope Creek flood reduction projects preventing major damages.

flooded salt creek photo
Flooding Radar May 2015

RADAR data for the May 2015 event.  The watershed contributing flows to the levees is outlined in blue, the levees are shown in red.  Note the Salt Creek flows from south to north through Lancaster County.

Early May 2015

Numerous records were set after an intense seven-hour thunderstorm occurred in southeast Nebraska, including Lancaster County through Lincoln. USACE flood control dams in that area captured and stored massive amounts of runoff, with four dams reaching record levels.  Ten flood control dams and twelve grade control dams in the Upper Salt Creek Watershed in southern Lancaster County filled and spilled through their auxiliary spillways.

The Salt Creek through Lincoln reached a record high stage (the water level exceeded the 1993 flood level by 2.3 feet).  The water level matched the top of levee elevation in some locations for a brief period of time.  The levee system performed well and as designed holding back the Salt Creek.

Present

Lower Platte South NRD continues to operate and maintain the levee system to federal standards.  USACE inspections completed over the last few years have identified some deficiencies and maintenance needs.  As a result the LPSNRD is developing a System Wide Improvement Framework (SWIF) to address the levee system’s needs over the short and long term.  This effort will result in continued flood risk reduction to Lincoln’s residents and businesses. 

For more information on the SWIF planning effort please visit the Projects page.

photo of salt creek

Want to know more?

Navigate below to learn more about the Salt Creek Levees and the SWIF Plan.
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SWIF Plan
A System Wide Improvement Framework, or SWIF is currently being developed to help maintain the Salt Creek Reduction Levees.

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Projects
Keep up to date with the latest news and updates on the progress of projects involving the Salt Creek Reduction Levees.

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Gallery
Browse through photos of the Salt Creek Flood Reduction levees as well as photos taken during flooding conditions in Lincoln, Ne.

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