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Low-flying helicopters may appear over Omaha metro starting Aug. 1

Low-flying helicopters may appear over Omaha metro starting Aug. 1

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prairie queen rec area

The Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District opened the Prairie Queen Recreation Area in Sarpy County in 2015. 

Low-flying helicopters may be seen over the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District beginning Aug. 1., but residents are encouraged not to be alarmed.

Helicopters will move over the area for three weeks and record geologic measurements to learn more about groundwater aquifers in Dakota, Thurston, Burt, Washington, Douglas, Dodge and Sarpy counties, according to a release from Papio-Missouri River NRD.

With financial assistance from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, a three-week flight schedule for each area will be released.

“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 NRD.

Aqua Geo Frameworks of Mitchell will oversee the flights, process data and produce a final report – while the equipment collects data a speed of more than 50 miles per hour and explore a depth of more than 700 feet below ground.

Hexagon-like equipment is “towed” about 100 feet below the helicopter in a spider web-like array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the earth’s surface, the release stated.

The flights are a continuation of previous data collected in 2016 and 2018, providing a geologic understanding of all remaining areas in the Papio NRD, according to the release. Similar flights have been made across Nebraska since 2007 as NRDs seek to better understand and manage groundwater resources.

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