BURWELL — Loup Basin Resource Conservation and Development Council will receive $46,862 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “Cedar River Corridor Project III.”

The project is one of the 117 projects receiving $19.5 million in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 85 were new applications and 32 are carry-over projects.

The Cedar River Corridor Project III is a regional project covering more than 100 miles along Cedar River that runs through five counties and six communities. This project addresses the Environmental Trust’s priorities: habitat and surface and groundwater.

According to the council, this is a follow-up to the Cedar River Corridor Projects I and II that stabilized 32 stream banks from 2002-2005. The stream banks were stabilized to reduce surface water degradation and sedimentation loading of the river system, improve the aquatic habitat through riparian buffers and increased vegetation, decrease the amount of sediment and chemicals entering the river and reverse the loss of prime cropland and rangeland.

“Very little post monitoring has been conducted to determine the success of the two previous projects,” according to a council statement. “An extreme flow event occurred following the 2010 failure of Lake Ericson Dam, potentially causing many of the stabilized stream banks to fail. A study to evaluate the various treatment alternatives implemented, their success and function, and their cost-effectiveness would be important for future similar efforts, and could save thousands of dollars on future stabilization projects, in the Cedar and other Nebraska rivers.”

The council said the proposed project will evaluate the effectiveness of the 32 stabilized stream banks, installed in 2002-2005 on Cedar River, that were partially funded by the Environmental Trust. The primary goals are to: quantify the stream bank erosion rates with and without stabilization prior to and after dam failure; assess the current stability of stream banks with and without stabilization; and quantify the cost effectiveness of the various practices used for stream bank stabilization.

The project will be a collaboration between the Loup Basin RC&D (Outreach), University of Nebraska-Lincoln (technical assistance), Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (monetary assistance) and landowners in the watershed (transportation and accessibility to study sites). Funding from the NET and NDEQ will provide funds for field data collection and graduate student support.

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