In the spring of 2019, record flooding hit Nebraska and Iowa.
Nebraska saw the most intense and wide-spread flooding. Towns were evacuated, bridges and a dam collapsed, a nuclear power plant had to close and multiple roads were deemed too unsafe to remain operable.
Even now, in October, the community is still dealing with flash flood warnings. Nearly 14 million people were affected by the flooding and at least 1 million acres of U.S. farmland, in nine major grain-producing states, have flooded.
One result of the devastation is the need to repair our levees after they overflowed. At least 30 levee failures flooded towns and highways in the Missouri River valley south of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Levees also failed in Hamburg, Iowa and on the Platte and Elkhorn rivers.
The importance of levees
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) website, existing levees play a vital role in flood risk reduction in communities across the U.S. Many of our larger cities and towns are in flood-prone areas. Nationwide, at least one-third of communities with a population of 50,000 or higher have some portion of their community protected by levees.
Due to their location, levees very often protect other critical infrastructure from flooding — infrastructure that we rely on not only for everyday services such as
- hospitals and
- police departments
but more importantly infrastructure that is critical in
- flood response,
- evacuation and
When this infrastructure floods, it can mean a community is left cut off from disaster assistance. Flooded power or water plants can leave a community without water or power for weeks.
Flood risk reduction is a complicated formula when it comes to levees and floodwalls. Levees and floodwalls can buy time for people to evacuate and move their belongings out of harm's way, thereby lessening damage to property and reducing the loss of life. However, they do not eliminate risk. They reduce it. Levees should not be relied on as the front-line of defense.
Schemmer's Current Levee Repair Services for the USACE
Schemmer is no stranger to providing emergency levee repair services when disaster strikes.
As a result of the spring flooding, numerous levee repair services were needed. Schemmer's survey and testing services partnered with Western Construction for the Levee 611 - 614 rehabilitation project. Schemmer is assisting Western Construction to serve the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
This task is fast-paced and has many challenges that present themselves daily. The four-mile stretch of the levee has many areas of work that are in need of rebuilding or repair.
The Flood of 2011
In addition to recent repair services, Schemmer also performed site surveying and geotechnical engineering levee repair services on the Missouri River Emergency Levee Rehabilitation project led by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2013.
Levee repairs were at top of the Corp’s priorities following the historic three-month flood that devastated the region in 2011. The high river stages caused drainage structure failure, considerable erosion along levees and removal of several access ramps. The fast-moving repair job was more than a patch. In some locations, new levees were constructed farther from the river than the old levee’s alignment.
Design with Purpose. Build with Confidence.
Schemmer is a full-service architecture, engineering and construction field services consultant, providing responsible solutions for complex design and construction-related challenges. Founded in 1959, we are grounded in our past but remain fully committed to the future. Located in three States and six offices throughout the Midwest, Schemmer is providing services to clients from coast-to-coast and border-to-border across the United States.
Schemmer's services include:
- Field Services