Applying Integrated Watershed Management Techniques in Stevens Creek

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ABSTRACT
The Stevens Creek Watershed located just east of Lincoln, Nebraska, will experience rapid growth pressures in the coming years, a trend that has the potential to adversely impact the region’s natural resources. To maintain a balance of economic growth opportunities and the protection of natural resources, the City of Lincoln and the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District embarked on a study to preserve the past while embracing the future. The study’s goal was to develop watershed management tools to guide sound planning decisions regarding the protection of the watershed’s natural resources. This was accomplished by integrating the latest research and technology in hydrology, hydraulics, geomorphology, and best management practices (BMPs), while operating within a comprehensive public involvement program to provide a framework for long-term stream sustainability. The final product was a master plan document consisting of four main elements, including floodplain management tools, capital improvement projects, site-specific BMPs, and opportunity areas to provide flood protection, reduction of future impacts to water quality, long-term stream stability, and the preservation of aquatic and riparian habitat.

INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE
The Stevens Creek Watershed located just east of Lincoln, Nebraska, will experience rapid growth pressures in the coming years, a trend that has the potential to adversely impact the region’s natural resources. To maintain a balance of economic growth and the protection of natural resources of the watershed, the City of Lincoln (City), in partnership with the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District (NRD), embarked on a study to preserve the past while embracing the future.

The project team was led by the City and NRD, in cooperation with Lancaster County (County). The City and NRD retained the consultant team of CDM in association with Intuition & Logic, Heartland Center for Leadership Development, Kirkham Michael Consulting Engineers, and E&A Consulting Group, Inc. to provide assistance with the master planning effort.

The goal of the study was to develop user-friendly watershed management tools to allow the floodplain managers the ability to make sound planning decisions regarding the protection of the watershed’s natural resources. This was accomplished by integrating the latest research and technology in hydrology, hydraulics, geomorphology, and BMPs while operating within a comprehensive public involvement program to provide the framework for long-term stream sustainability. A brief summary of each major component of the study is provided below.

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
A diverse public participation process was conducted throughout the study to promote understanding and to respond to concerns from various interest groups. A 22-member citizen advisory committee was formed. It represented diverse interests within the watershed including landowners, developers, environmentalists, and legal institutions. The interaction with the committee provided an open forum platform to discuss opposing viewpoints on how the watershed should be managed. Concerns included protecting the historical and cultural resources, preserving open space, operation and maintenance responsibilities, and funding options. Other communication tools included a project website and numerous newsletters that were distributed to disseminate information.

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