Landowners concerned with progressive intrusion of Elkhorn River

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Flooding has receded and the Elkhorn River is back in its banks, but some property still see it as a threat and they're losing land.

Jim Shemwell said the Elkhorn River isn't done with his 77 acres.

"I'm afraid that I spent close to a quarter of a million dollars for this land and it just keeps coming, the river keeps coming this way," he said.

A few years ago, the Papio NRD cut a pilot channel, which altered the flow of the river away from threatening 244th St.

"Our main job is to protect the infrastructure, like roads, bridges, utilities. Things like that," John Winkler with the NRD said.

That re-channeling also caused a faster current, which Brock Beran said has eaten 150 feet into his campground.

"Areas I had designated for RV camping, I had my permits in place. I was half done with the project and that land is gone," he said.

Shemwell estimates he lost two acres from erosion that started long before the flood.

He said he'd like to see a jetty or bumper placed upstream to force the river that direction and away from his land that is eroding.

The Papio NRD recognizes the landowners' concerns.

"We'll work with them, we'll look at it and see if there's anything possible, but we're not going to ignore it. Obviously, we'll go out and take a look," Winkler said.

The landowners said that with FEMA assessing flood damage in the area, the erosion could be considered for federal help.

The Papio NRD will have experts assess the erosion problem later this week. They'll discuss with landowners what might be a solution and eventually who would pay for it.