straightening the big nemaha
Editor's note: We don't know much about this, in particular when it straightened. We've heard that the river was straightened in sections, that a dredge did it by digging a new channel downstream from the existing one and then letting the water into the new channel at the end, that it was done as part of a water management program which included irrigation ditches of various sizes, that the river was referred to as the Big Ditch, and that the present depth and width of the river (alarming to some) is caused by increased speed of the water after their were no oxbows (hairpin curves in the river path) to slow it. However, this is all anecdotal and we don't any of the details. For now we are relegated to adding information as we go. .
larry layden says this is one of the things that he's heard:
I was told the channel was dug using a steam shovel and between Table Rock and Falls City the shovel sat on the bank and lowered it's arm into the ditch it was digging.
Between Table Rock and Elk Creek a better method was used. The steam shovel sat at the bottom of the channel. The force of the water flowing in the new River bed loosen the dirt and all the steam shovel had to do was remove the loosen dirt and rocks and place each shovel full up on the banks.