Nemaha County flood recovery group moves forward with plans

Nebraska City News-Press

Formed in response to the historic 2019 Missouri River flooding in Nebraska, the Northeast Nemaha County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) is assisting with flood recovery and laying the groundwork to improve the area’s resiliency for response to future natural disasters.

The nonprofit brings constituents together to coordinate efforts, communicate needs, and pursue funding to rebuild critical infrastructure with the goal of helping the City of Peru and surrounding region rebuild stronger.

“Following the devastating floods in March 2019, FEMA predicted that recovery could take several years to complete,” said David Pease, mayor of Peru. “Our community has suffered an estimated $7.91 million in economic loss, including $4.2 million in agricultural revenue losses due to levee damage. The area also suffered damage to roads, water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as lost income from out-of-state tourists.”

On the road to recovery, two major steps forward have recently occurred. First,Congressman Smith succeeded in adding language to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020 which will make the Peru levee eligible for Federal Funding and allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair the breached levee that has protected Peru since its construction in 1952. This revised WRDA bill has passed the U.S. Congress and is waiting for a vote by the Senate,

Second, the recovery group hired Deborah Solie as their full-time Disaster Recovery Coordinator. In her role, Solie is assisting the City of Peru with their disaster recovery projects, identify and administer grant opportunities to advance disaster recovery, and provide outreach to residents, businesses, and other organizations. This position is grant funded.

While Solie is new to the recovery group, she is no stranger to Peru or southeast Nebraska having previously worked for the Peru State College Foundation and most recently for non-profit organizations in Brownville.

“I am excited to be joining the Long Term Recovery Group and support disaster recovery efforts in northeast Nemaha County,” said Solie, “My family has lived in Nemaha County for generations and I’m proud to be part of a team focused on rebuilding critical infrastructure for the City of Peru and the surrounding region.”

“While much has been accomplished,” Pease continued, “Much work remains to be done. Although the flooding changed our landscape, it did not alter who we are. Peru is the embodiment of Nebraska Strong, and the LTRG is helping lead the way with recovery efforts to rebuild our community.”