By Associated Press - Saturday, May 1, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Federal officials are giving Nebraska more than $50 million to work on a Niobrara River dam that collapsed during the disastrous March 2019 flooding, killing a man who lived just below it.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the award Friday. The money is intended to cover 75% of the cost of the project, with the rest to come from state and local sources.

The 93-year-old Spencer Dam was overwhelmed in a surge of ice boulders, with some chunks measured up to 2 feet (0.61 meters) thick and 20 feet (6.10 meters) long. The storm also caused other major damage across Nebraska.

Mark Becker, a spokesman for the Nebraska Public Power District, which owns the dam, said nothing has been done with the remains of the structure since then. The Niobrara River has cut a new route around what is left.

He said the district plans to decommission the dam and remove as much of the structure as possible. Detailed plans will be drawn up in the next few months, now that the federal money has been approved.

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