It was quite a site today on the Platte River near Ashland. A crop dusting plane was used for a very important mission.
There's a lot of concern this winter that ice jams could cause flooding. A big enough concern that Governor Heineman declared a state of emergency along the lower Platte River.
Now emergency management is trying to reduce the chances of major flooding. It's not that time of year to be using a crop duster. But along the Platte River this plane was dropping ash on ice blocks in hopes of preventing ice jams which in turn can cause flooding. Something Ashland resident Dan Bundy has experienced first hand.
"We've had several big floods in the last 35 years or so but 93 was the worst flood we've ever had and that was the only time we've ever had water in the house so that was a reason I wasn't doing the insurance," Bundy said.
So to help reduce the risk for flooding the Army Corps of Engineers recommended ice dusting along the Platte. This is how it works a truck gets filled up with ash, 77 tons of it. Then it's transferred into a crop dusting plane that flies over marked areas on the Platte spreading the ash. When the sun hits the ash it heats up soaking into the ice melting it slowly.
Paul Johnson from the Army Corps of Engineers says controlling a slow melt is key along the Platte.
"The point of this is to try and exercise a minimum amount of control on how we can get it done so to start breaking it up now so we have a more orderly melt and breakup of the ice," Johnson said.
Emergency Management officials said just because ice dusting was done along the Platte doesn't mean it won't flood, but their goal is to lessen the impact for potential flooding later on. And the project was projected to cost about $100,000 which comes out of the Governor's emergency fund.