- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WOOD RIVER, Neb. (AP) - Farmers from the Wood River area are claiming that waterfowl conservation efforts along the Platte River are damaging Hall County roads and cropland.

The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/1xggMPf) reports that four farming families, who have land along the recently flooded Shoemaker Island Road, spoke with county supervisors Tuesday about their concerns. The families said that flood damage that occurred in February will happen again because of raised nesting islands that have been placed in the river by the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program.

The landowners say the program calls for increased river water flows and increased nesting grounds for water fowl. According to the farmers, the land has flooded twice since the nesting islands were placed in the river.

“These islands blocking the river are what’s caused the river to come out of its banks and flood, not only our crop ground, but your roads,” said Dean Luehr, who farms about 300 acres owned by his father.

Platte River Recovery Executive Director Jerry Kenny said that analysis indicates that the flooding was not caused by the nesting islands. He said that they are aware that that flooding washed out the county road.

“Our analysis indicates that the flooding was not caused by our islands,” Kenny said. “The jam was upstream and formed at a choke point that was largely not our property.”

Hall County Public Works Director Casey Sherlock, who was not at the meeting, told the paper that $63,000 has already been spent on road repairs. He says that there is more work to be done this spring. He estimates that the cost of all repairs to be $100,000.

Landowners say the Central Platte Natural Resources District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved to the island creation, so any lawsuit against them would be like suing the federal government.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com


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