The Clatonia Creek Watershed Project is one of 12 completed watersheds in the Lower Big Blue NRD.
The watershed received an FHA Watershed loan in 1972 for $120,000 at an interest rate of 3.5%. The original note was signed by the Clatonia Creek Watershed Conservancy District of Gage and Lancaster Counties on February 3, 1972.
Members of that board were Maurice Bergmeier, Charles Schuerman, Reed Carsten, Theodore Sagehorn, and Raymond Walker. That same year, with the passing of LB 1357, Nebraska’s Natural Resource Districts were created. On July 6, 1972, newly elected chairman of the Lower Big Blue NRD, Duane Allington and Vice chairman Paul Quackenbush signed the agreement to take over the loan.
In January 2019, the note was paid off by the district. Thanks to continued maintenance and the conservation efforts of area producers, these structures will continue to function well past their original designed lifespan.
Clatonia Creek is comprised of 25,950 acres in Gage and Lancaster Counties. Clatonia Creek enters the Big Blue River about one-half mile east of DeWitt. The project contains eight flood control structures, one of which, Clatonia Creek 3-A, is a multi-purpose flood control and public recreation structure. Funding for this recreation area was made available through the Nebraska Resources Development Fund.
The project was authorized in 1966 with the first structure(7-A), a road structure, built in 1970. 4-A and 10-A were completed in 1974, 2-A and 2-B in 1976 and 6-A and 8-D in 1977. The project was completed in 1980 with the construction of 3-A, commonly known as the Clatonia Creek Public Use Area. These eight structures control 12,000 acres or 46% of the watershed. Total construction cost was $506,419. Total annual benefits are in excess of $227,000 (2018 Dollars) and benefit three miles of county road, Highway 41, a railroad and eighteen bridges.
The Lower Big Blue NRD operates and maintains over 276 flood control structures throughout the district. The first watershed project in the district was the Little Indian Project along Highway 77 north of Beatrice in 1958 and the latest completed project was the Lower Turkey Creek Project in northern Saline County.
These structures control 401,952 acres of drainage or 38% of the land in the NRD. The Clatonia Creek Conservancy District had the foresight to recognize the benefits of constructing a flood control project. These watershed structures and others built in the NRD continue to provide flood protection, recreation opportunities, wildlife benefits, and enhance water quality.