- Associated Press - Monday, April 11, 2016

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) - Construction is ready to begin on a research station that’ll provide environmental data on Omaha-area rivers.

The Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/23x9mD9 ) reports that the director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Nebraska Watershed Network, Alan Kolok, has led plans for the Missouri River Research Station, which will be located at American Heroes Park in Bellevue.

The station will be a 250-square-foot area for scientists, students and citizens to better understand the environmental impact of agricultural chemicals, for example. The project will be the second step in what will be a three-station network to provide data on Omaha-area rivers. It’ll connect with the watershed network’s current station on Elkhorn River.

The plan’s first phase includes aquariums and data-collecting technology suspended 20 to 25 feet above the Missouri River in a space no larger than a bedroom.

Kolok introduced the project in November 2014. The station is now expected to open in October after an original goal to open it last summer.

He said the first phase of the entire project will cost about $340,000. With help from the National Park Service, Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Back to the River organization, the university is helping fund the cost of the station and its second phase, which includes a plaza with trees, benches and interactive displays outside the station, as well as a 40-foot observation tower.

Community involvement is a driving force behind the research station, said Dean of UNO’s College of Arts and Sciences. Boocker said he hopes the project will inspire people to recognize their effect on water quality.

“Our society is very concerned with water resources in terms of both availability and quality,” Boocker said.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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