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Parts of eastern Nebraska could see a helicopter with “spider-web” like equipment flying at low levels over the next few weeks—though there’s no need to panic.

The helicopter flights are part of a larger research project being organized by the Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA), a coalition of six Natural Resource Districts in eastern Nebraska, including the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.

The equipment will collect and record geologic measurements to learn more about buried aquifers and aims to “improve our understanding of available groundwater and its possible connections with surface water in an area of the state made more complex by the presence of glacial deposits,” said Katie Cameron, ENWRA coordinator.

The helicopter is expected to fly over parts of Madison, Pierce, Stanton, Colfax, Dodge, Cuming, Burt and Thurston counties for around two weeks beginning in mid-July. It has just moved into the Norfolk area and will continue to make flights in the region all this week.

The flights have been ongoing from southeast Nebraska to northeast Nebraska.

The equipment can collect data at 50 miles per hour, and at about 150 feet above the ground, it can collect data at more than 700 feet below the surface. Cameron said it provides a “subsurface geological profile.”

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“If you’re living in the area, or you have to manage the area, knowing the volume—how much groundwater aquifer materials are there, and the potential impact of those groundwater aquifers—would be very important,” Cameron said.

Most of the flights in Dodge County have already been completed, Cameron said. After Norfolk, the flights will go toward Pender, Nebraska, before going north.

The flights are being overseen by Aqua Geo Frameworks out of Mitchell, Nebraska.

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