Following torrential rainfall earlier in the week Lexington and other central Nebraska towns quickly flooded. Families were displaced and left with few options for lodging and immediate assistance. The American Red Cross came set up a shelter inside the Lexington High school.
The River morning show host Lana Greene talked with Vicki Halligan who helped oversee the shelter. Halligan explained that more than 150 people came through the shelter seeking multiple types of assistance from first aid, to meals and dry clothes. 15 families even stayed overnight. By Wednesday all, but one family had found more long term housing and the majority of other needs were met. Halligan said they plan to close the Lexington Shelter Thursday (July 12) morning and move it to Wood River to serve the towns now experiencing the flooding.
Halligan was impressed and amazed to see the outpouring of support from the community.
See the interview and flooding images here:
Thirteen auction market members of the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) hosted the sale of a roll-over auction animal earlier this spring to support Nebraska flood relief efforts. The livestock sales, which took place across Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming raised more than $230,000 worth of proceeds.
Member markets who hosted roll-over sales included Alma Livestock Auction, Alma, Neb.; Atkinson Livestock, Atkinson, Neb.; Basset Livestock, Bassett, Neb.; Beatrice 77 Livestock Sales, Beatrice, Neb.; Columbus Sales Pavilion, Columbus, Neb.; Elgin Livestock, Elgin, Neb.; Fullerton Livestock Market, Fullerton, Neb.; Huss Livestock Market LLC, Kearney, Neb.; Sheridan Livestock, Rushville, Neb.; St. Onge Livestock, St. Onge, S.D.; Torrington Livestock Market, Torrington, Wyo.; Verdigre Stockyards; Verdigre, Neb.; Wahoo Livestock Sales, Wahoo, Neb.; and West Point Stockyards, West Point, Neb.
One LMA member who hosted a roll-over benefit auction was directly affected by the floods. Lu Rieken, owner of Fullerton Livestock Market, says there was less than an hour warning before flood waters hit their business. With 4.5 feet of standing water inside the market, damage from water and debris to the market was extensive.
Despite facing damage themselves, Fullerton Livestock Market chose to participate in a roll-over auction to assist relief efforts across the state.
“Our philosophy is that it’s not how far or how hard you fall, it’s how fast you get back up,” Lu Rieken says. “We weren’t the only ones suffering. Everyone was and we wanted them to know we put them first.”
A majority of the funds raised by participating member markets were contributed to the Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund or directly to feed, fencing and hauling needs of individuals. Some markets chose to serve as pick-up sites for producers to access feed, hay and other supplies.
Pete McClymont, Executive Vice President of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association, says the contributions given to the relief fund by LMA member markets were overwhelming.
“When I see Dennis Henrichs, with Beatrice 77 Livestock Sales, enter our office with an envelope full of donations, it just about makes you cry,” McClymont says. “It makes you feel good about mankind to know people are sitting in the seats of these markets bidding, saying ‘Yes, I want to help.’”
According to McClymont, all proceeds received by the Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund will be distributed back to those who completed an application for need. The LMA also contributed $3,000 to each participating member market’s total donations raised.
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Heavy rains in much of Kansas have caused localized flooding in some areas this spring, and one of the results has been concern over the impact on trees.
“There are three major concerns when it comes to trees and too much rain,” said Ryan Armbrust, forest health and conservation forester with Kansas Forest Service. “First is the immediate destabilization of the tree caused by saturated soils or soil erosion. Second is the deposition of significant amounts of silt on the root system. Third is the duration of flooding.”
Trees that suddenly begin to lean or even fall over due to the force of high water, wind or soil erosion should be treated as a hazard if they are near people or structures, Armbrust warns. An assessment by a certified arborist is likely justified, especially for large trees.
High water may also deposit a significant amount of silt on the root system of a tree.
“If more than an inch of silt is deposited, then some careful removal of that silt will benefit the tree,” said Armbrust. Burying the root system beneath a heavy layer of silt will reduce the root system’s ability to exchange gases and negatively affect the tree.
The duration of flooding or of saturated soils will have a direct impact on a tree’s ability to recover. This is largely dependent on tree species. Most trees will recover from being inundated for less than a week, especially if the water is flowing instead of stagnant.
Trees most sensitive to short-term flooding include red bud, walnuts, mulberry, upland oaks, most pines and conifers such as spruce and Eastern red cedar.
Honeylocust, elm, birch, and lowland oaks are more tolerant, surviving even a few weeks of flooding and saturated soils.
“The most tolerant trees include typical riparian forest species such as maples, pecan, hackberry, persimmon, ash, sycamore and cottonwood,” Armbrust said. “Baldcypress and willow are perhaps the most tolerant of all.”
Regardless of species, though, some care must be taken to help trees maintain vigor and reduce stress after flooding.
“Almost all species will have some die back of the root system due to lack of soil oxygen, reducing the tree’s ability to take up water later in the season, so supplemental irrigation in the hot, dry days of summer will help your trees continue to flourish after the flood,” Armbrust said.
For additional information on tree health and selecting an arborist, visit kansasforests.org.
President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and ordered Federal aid to supplement the Tribe’s efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding from March 13 to April 1, 2019.
Federal funding is available to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
Pete Gaynor, Acting Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Constance C. Johnson-Cage as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.
Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Tribe and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
The Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation wants rural Nebraskans impacted by floods and blizzards to know that $500 grants are still available from the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline. The grants are funded by Farm Aid, NeFU Foundation, and other donors. For grant applications, call the Hotline at: (800) 464-0258.
If you or someone you know got hurt by the flood or blizzard and could use a little help, call the
Nebraska Rural Response Hotline. Their experienced and professional staff will help callers find the kind of assistance they need. The $500 grants are simple to apply for. The application can be filled out over the phone, and the assistance is provided in confidence.
“First established in 1984, the Hotline is the longest continuously operating farm crisis hotline in the nation. It is staffed by Legal Aid of Nebraska, administered by Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska, and partners with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to provide a wide range of services from mental health counseling, bookkeeping, financial counseling, legal services, and food assistance. The Council that oversees the Hotline is made up of members of the farm and faith community,” said John Hansen, who serves as NeFU Foundation Secretary and also secretary for the Rural Response Council.
“Our NeFU Foundation continues to receive donations from around the nation intended to help Nebraska farm and ranch families hurt by the late blizzard and unprecedented spring flooding. For example, the Midwest Insurance Agency agents stepped up and donated $10,000 in supplies and cash. The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska donated $2,500 to help families in their time of need. We received over $2,000 from a church in Alabama, and $900 from a tattoo parlor in Omaha. The diversity of the response is truly amazing. We absorb the administrative costs so that every dollar received is used to support flood and blizzard relief efforts. For folks wanting to support our relief efforts, they can visit our website at www.nebraskafarmersunion.org or send checks to NeFU Foundation at 1305 Plum Street, Lincoln, NE 68502. We are asking folks to help spread the word about this program for farmers and ranchers who got clobbered by either the late blizzard or the floods,” Hansen said.
Hansen noted that in addition to the assistance available at the Hotline, the Nebraska Farm Bureau has established a Disaster Relief Fund to help support cleanup and rebuilding efforts and is available at: www.nefb.org/disaster . The Nebraska Cattlemen assistance program just closed applications. All three programs do not require memberships in their organization to receive assistance. “Everyone is pitching in and helping everyone, which is the way it should be in a time of natural disaster. For people wanting the most recent updates on rural flood relief services, programs, and activities call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Hotline at 800-831-0550 or go to their website at: http://www.nda.nebraska.gov/ ” Hansen concluded.
A Senate-passed disaster aid bill, covering this year’s historic Midwest floods, finally cleared the U.S. House Monday, after enough Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill.
A majority of House Republicans broke ranks with conservatives, giving Democrats the two-thirds majority needed to pass the $19-billion disaster aid bill under rules for expedited action.
Conservatives, three-times during the Memorial Day recess, blocked the unanimous-consent needed to approve the Senate-passed measure that President Trump says he will sign.
They objected to voting on the unpaid-for bill with most members gone during the recess, and Democrats’ refusal to provide administration-requested humanitarian border aid.
Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer pushed back…
The measure includes $3-billion for farm related losses of crops, dairy, on-farm stored crops, prevented planting and more, covering the historic Midwest floods and earlier storms in the Southeast and Puerto Rico, and wildfires in the West.
The legislation was earlier delayed in the Senate over new Puerto Rico hurricane aid, including food stamps.
President Trump argued existing aid was mismanaged, but agreed to the food stamp money, and Republicans added new redevelopment aid, winning enough support from Democrats to pass the bill by a wide margin in the Senate.
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed legislation to provide assistance for presidentially declared disasters, including the March 2019 “bomb cyclone” which struck Nebraska. This vote came after the Senate recently voted in favor of this bill, and will now be sent to the President’s desk.
“I am glad we were able to come together and provide much needed relief to areas of our country, including Nebraska, which have been so devastated by natural disasters. We can now push further ahead with recovery efforts. Thousands of Nebraskans were affected by blizzards, rain, wind, and flooding, and this is another step as we rebuild.”
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) made the following statement today on the House passage of the disaster assistance package.
“I am pleased that the House has passed this funding bill so that assistance can soon reach the individuals, communities, and military installations, such as Offutt, in need of this relief. This is great news for Nebraskans and others who have been affected by natural disasters in recent months. Clearly, much more work and funding is necessary, but this legislation is a meaningful step forward as we continue the flood recovery efforts.”
The final version of the disaster relief bill includes a number of provisions that are of particular importance to Nebraska. “I worked with my colleagues to add funds to the military operations and maintenance account with the intentionality that as much as $120 million will go to the immediate cleanup and operational needs of Offutt Air Force Base,” Fortenberry said. “I also helped to provide additional funds for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to restore scarred lands and infrastructure. This important relief for our nation’s environmental security will reshape eroded stream banks, repair water control structures, fix levees, and restore conservation priorities,” Fortenberry added. Among other items, the legislation also provides funds for emergency conservation projects on farms, levee repairs, and highway reconstruction.
Fortenberry said, “Nebraskans are resilient, determined, and generous. This federal assistance will help accelerate the recovery work of communities and individuals and allow Nebraska to remain strong.”
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