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Papio-Missouri NRD will take to the sky to look for water underground

Papio-Missouri NRD will take to the sky to look for water underground

Only $5 for 5 months

A low-flying helicopter will be used to collect data for the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District about groundwater aquifers.

“The flights will improve our understanding of available groundwater and its possible connections with surface water in an area of the state made more complex by the presence of glacial deposits,” said Paul Woodward, groundwater management engineer for the Papio-Missouri NRD.

For about three weeks starting Saturday, instruments mounted below a helicopter will collect geologic measurements in Dakota, Thurston, Burt, Washington, Douglas, Dodge and Sarpy Counties. The Papio-Missouri NRD, as part of the Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment, has planned the flights. The NRD is completing them with financial assistance from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, through the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission.

Aqua Geo Frameworks of Mitchell, Nebraska, will oversee the flights, process data and produce a final report. The equipment can collect data as the helicopter flies at more than 50 mph and can explore more than 700 feet below the ground.

Scientific equipment that looks like a hexagon is towed about 100 feet below the helicopter in a “spider web” array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the surface of the earth. The helicopter will be flown by pilots specially trained for low-level flying with the equipment.

The flights are a continuation of previous data collection efforts in 2016 and 2018. Similar flights have been made across Nebraska since 2007 as natural resources districts seek to better understand and manage groundwater resources.

Photos: Nebraska State Parks, 402-444-1272

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