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Canal banks get repairTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Photo by Joe Chitwood

Recent, heavy rains damaged the banks of the canal below the Lake Maloney outlet. 

According to Brian Hope of the Nebraska Public Power District, water from the rains ran over the banks of the canal and loosened the soil, causing the banks to “slough.” 

“Basically, when the banks get saturated, they get really heavy and sometimes actually fall toward the water," Hope said.

A crew is making repairs.

Chad Whipple of NPPD packed the west bank below the outlet on Friday morning. Fresh rock will be put at the base. Whipple used a vibrating packer or “sheep's foot.”

"Water just washed right across the road and down the bank, taking grass with it and loosening the ground," Whipple said. 

Hope said the base of the banks can also erode. When sloughing is found, it is important to make timely repairs. 

“If we get another rain, it will wash away the soil,” Hope said.

"We bring in extra material to pack the banks and then bring rip-rap (broken concrete) that lines the base," he said. "The rip-rap kind of armors it, right where the water flows." 

Plants grow back on the banks and stabilize the soil, he said.

NPPD employs "ditch riders" to patrol the canal each day. Checking for erosion, they start at Lake Ogallala and ride the canal to the Tail Race at North Platte -- where the canal empties into the South Platte River.

"When there is water flowing in the canal, they inspect it every single day," Hope said.

If the riders see saturated soil causing slough conditions, they mark the area and a crew returns to repack the bank.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/13/2014
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