Water Center


Date of this Version



United States government work


Offutt Air Force Base, south of Omaha, Nebraska, experienced major flooding during the March 2019 flood event because of the proximity of the base to the confluence of the Missouri River and nearby tributaries, which exceeded flood stages. Postflood, standing water remained through much of the year, attracting waterfowl and other birds and posing a major safety risk to aircraft. The United States Geological Survey, in cooperation with the United States Air Force, began a study in 2020 to describe the hydrologic processes that affect the persistence of standing water on Offutt Air Force Base.

Existing site data, reviewed in concert with groundwater and surface-water elevation data collected for the study, indicate varying hydrologic responses between two areas of concern (AOCs), which can be linked to differences in subsurface geology and changes in flows of the Missouri River. An inundation map indicated that standing water would be present throughout Papillion Creek Ditch in AOC 1 and would extend upstream to AOC 2 during flow events greater than 771 cubic feet per second. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center-River Analysis System model and a flow-duration analysis were used to infer that many of the surface-water drainage problems experienced in 2019 were the result of backwater conditions caused by higher streamflows in the Missouri River.