This spring, floodwaters tore through the Midwest, devastating communities. Among the states hardest hit, Nebraska saw many of its communities and farms destroyed, houses and livelihoods underwater, and roads, bridges, and dams washed away.
And yet, in the midst of state-wide flooding, Grand Island, Nebraska, a city historically prone to severe flood events, remained largely untouched. Their resilience was possible largely in thanks to two major flood risk reduction projects: the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Flood Risk Reduction Project and the Wood River Diversion Project.
What do you do when you’re one of a few cities that averted major flooding? For the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD), the answer was simple: Use the opportunity to educate citizens on flood mitigation and safety.
The Flood Control Stroll:
To create lasting community awareness of flood mitigation, the CPNRD partnered with local businesses, artists, and music festival Hear Grand Island to create an interactive educational experience dedicated to flood safety, flood mitigation, and spreading the concept of residual risk.
How it Worked:
Six stops. Six questions about flood mitigation and safety. When attendees went to all stops and answered the questions, they were entered to win raffles from local businesses and museums.
Participants began at Wave Pizza Company where they received a map, regional flood information, and good-luck handshake. They then made their way through downtown Grand Island stopping at each of the CPNRD’s partner businesses. For many, this was their first exposure to information about flood safety, flood insurance, and the basics of flood mitigation structures. To drive the information home, business partners created flood and resilience-themed specials for the event. The “Dam Ham Sandwich,” “Hold the Levee Lager,” “Lifeboat Pizza,” and “Flood Control Coney” were some of our personal favorites.
At the end of the stroll, participants submitted their lucky tickets for raffles and were treated to live music courtesy of Hear Grand Island. Even though the ending time for the event was 7:30pm, the impact of the stroll on the downtown community was felt all evening as concert-goers continued to ask questions about flood mitigation. CPNRD Assistant General Manager Jesse Mintken even introduced one of the bands.