August 4, 1997
Mr. Bill Whitney
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
1300 Military Road
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Subject: Elkhorn Breakout Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Project, Dodge
Dear Mr. Whitney:
I am writing to you with regard to the third appeal submitted by your office for the proposed Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Project for the Elkhorn Breakout levee in Dodge County, Nebraska. We have performed a detailed engineering, economic, and program eligibility review based on your appeal. We have appreciated the cooperation from your staff, the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District, and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.
This cooperation has greatly aided FEMA in making a thorough evaluation of the merits of this project. Based on review and engineering analysis, there still exists three technical issues that impact the benefit/cost ratio for the project. These issues are as follows:
• The area protected by the project;
• The effective life of the project; and,
• Amount of historical road damage in the area.
The attached technical summary details these specific issues and the impacts they have on the computed benefit/cost ratio for the project. I have decided that it is in the best interests of all concerned parties to assume the following regarding the above technical issues:
• The area protected by the project is 5,100 acres;
• The effective life of the project is 10 years; and
• Historical road damage data is representative of losses that could be expected in the area protected by the project and these data, on a per acre basis, will be used to estimate expected benefits from the project.
All of the above mentioned determinations are favorable to the applicant. The resulting benefit/cost ratio, using these assumptions, results in a beneficial ratio of 1.2. Had we made assumptions that were on the conservative side, the benefit/cost ratio would have been 0.5. Based on our analyses and the 1.2 benefit/cost ratio, FEMA will approve the proposed mitigation project.
This approval is subject to following three provisions:
1. The approval is provided based on the assumption that the applicant will assume all responsibility of repair and maintenance of the structure, even in the event of a major flood on the Elkhorn River.
2. The original project required that FEMA perform an Environmental Assessment (EA) to be in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EA resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the project. The project design has been modified to include jetties that extend into the Elkhorn River. This modification to the original design will require that FEMA prepare an addendum to the EA to be compliant with NEP A and to address any possible impacts associated with the revised design. The approval of this project is subject to the addendum to the EA still resulting in a FONSI for the project. I do not envision this to be a problem and I assure you that FEMA will complete this environmental evaluation in a timely manner to ensure that the construction of the project is not unnecessarily delayed.
3. Applicant must notify the public that the structure provides very limited protection against frequent but very low flow flood events and that applicant ensure stringent enforcement of floodplain management.
Again, I wish to express my appreciation for your cooperation and patience in evaluating this project. If you have any questions or concerns with this determination, please contact either me at (202) 646-3672, or Mr. Craig Wingo of my staff at (202) 646-3026.
James L. Witt