Helicopter to Make Low-Level Flights over
Eastern Nebraska

Eastern Nebraska residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying helicopter over areas of the Papio-
Missouri River Natural Resources District (P-MRNRD) in August.

Beginning in August, instruments mounted below a helicopter will collect and record geologic measurements to learn more about groundwater aquifers in Dakota, Thurston, Burt, Washington, Douglas, Dodge and Sarpy Counties. The P-MRNRD, as part of the Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (www.enwrra.org), have
planned the flights and are completing them with financial assistance from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, through the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission.

According to Paul Woodward, Groundwater Management Engineer for the P-MRNRD, “The flights will improve our understanding of available ground water and its possible connections with surface water in an area of the state made more complex by the presence of glacial deposits.”


Aqua Geo Frameworks (AGF), of Mitchell, Nebraska will oversee the flights, process data and produce a final report. The equipment can collect data at a speed of more than 50 miles per hour and explore to a depth of more than 700 feet below the ground surface. 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 manned by experienced pilots specially trained for low-level flying with this equipment.

The flights are a continuation of previous data collected during 2016 and 2018 and will provide a geologic understanding of all remaining areas in the P-MRNRD. Similar flights have been made across Nebraska since 2007 as NRDs seek to better understand and manage ground water resources.

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