Latest Board Action

January 26, 2017

Water Purchase Credits Available to Producers Following Central Platte NRD’s
Approval to Proceed With Conservation Easement

(GRAND ISLAND, NE) – Producers in the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) may soon have more options to purchase water credits following the board’s approval on Thursday to proceed with a 320-acre conservation easement to implement a wetland mitigation bank in Buffalo County. Westervelt Ecological Services is the entity who will implement the wetland; while working closely with the CPNRD, Nebraska Resources Conservation Service and the Nebraska Audubon, who owns property that surrounds the potential wetland.  James Huntwork, regional liaison for NRCS, reported that there is a need for a wetland mitigation bank in central Nebraska to restore, create or enhance wetlands.  The Wetland Mitigation Program provides the opportunity for farmers and ranchers to purchase credits from wetlands mitigation banks to compensate for the impact of lost wetlands; while maintaining eligibility for other USDA programs.

The Nebraska Board of Education Lands & Funds (BELF) serves in the dual capacity of both land owner and manager of the property.  In Nebraska, rents are collected on 3,200 agricultural leases and 250 mineral leases. BELF was established by the Nebraska Constitution to serve as Trustee of lands contributed to the State in 1867 by the federal government. As Trustee of these lands, the Board is bound by fiduciary duty to its beneficiaries—Nebraska’s K-12 public schools. The net income from the Trust is deposited in the Temporary School Trust Fund, which is distributed annually to the K-12 public schools statewide on a per-pupil basis.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS

-Election  The board elected Jim Bendfeldt, Kearney, as the new chairman of the board.  Mick Reynolds, Wood River, was elected vice-chairman.  Former chairman, Ed Kyes of Central City, and vice-chairman, Jim Bendfeldt, had both served the maximum two consecutive, two-year terms.  Board members also selected committees to serve on this year.  The following committee chairmen were selected: Jerry Wiese-Eastern Projects, Marvion Reichert-Western Projects, Bob Schanou-Programs and Jay Richeson-Water Resources.

-Erosion & Sediment Control Program  The board approved proposed changes to the NRD’s Erosion and Sediment Control Program, following a public hearing held prior to the board meeting.  The new plan includes changes made to the Erosion and Sediment Control Act in May 2015 that adds sheet and rill erosion, ephemeral gully erosion, changes governing authority, allows NRDs to petition the District Court for a Cease and Desist Order, removes 90 percent cost share previously required for NRDs to provide for erosion control practices, and updates soils within the District. New Plan

-Cease & Desist Hearings  The board set three public hearing dates for producers in Phases II/III who have not submitted their Groundwater Quality Management forms for the 2015-2016 crop year; and are now out of compliance with the Program.  Approximately ten percent of the NRD’s 800 producers in the Phase II/III areas are out of compliance.  The hearings will be held on February 13, 16 and 17 starting at 9:00 a.m. at the CPNRD office in Grand Island.  Non-compliance with a Cease & Desist Order would result in a lawsuit filed in District Court with a maximum penalty of $1,000-$5,000 per day.

-Outdoor Classroom Program  The board approved an application from the Success Academy to create an outdoor classroom for butterfly monarch habitat at Dodge Elementary in Grand Island in the amount of $1,666.75.  Students from Grand Island Senior High’s Success Academy, Dodge Elementary, Skills Academy Elementary, and the Roots & Shoots Program will partner in the project.  They will use the scientific method to conduct real world observation and data collection in the monarch butterfly habitat.  Vlcek Gardens, Chapman, will provide project design and construction.  Pheasants Forever will present lessons for students to apply their knowledge in field observations by participating in national Monarch Butterfly field studies.  The outdoor classroom will cover approximately 800 square feet, with implementation to be completed this spring.  CPNRD has provided funding towards 14 outdoor classrooms since 2001.

-Variance Request  The board denied a variance request from Platte County.

-Groundwater Recharge/Water Quality Project  John Engel, HDR of Omaha, presented an update on the feasibility study in the Wood River and South Loup drainage systems to enhance recharge and/or augment stream flows in northern Buffalo County.  Engel said despite recharge gains in other areas of the state, the study area has historically had declines and has been declared impaired by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.  The study focused on alternatives to add 10,000 acre-feet of water annually to the area, located in Ground Water Management Area (GWMA) 8 of the Lower Loup NRD and GWMA 9 of the Central Platte NRD.  Engel presented six screened alternatives which included options to implement augmentation wells, diversions, allocations, intentional recharge, delivering storage water, and diversion pumping.  The study included alternatives for groundwater, irrigation canals, the Wood River, South Loup River, Middle Loup River, and the Platte River.  Engel will present his findings to the Lower Loup NRD in February.

-Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores FCP  Jesse Mintken, assistant manager, gave a progress report on the flood control project located in northwest Grand Island.  Mintken reported that 70,000 cubic yards of dirt have been removed for the channel and detention cells; and tree removal has been completed.  Construction on this phase is expected to be completed in May 2017; with the entire project scheduled for completion in 2018.

-Legislative Report  Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the 2017 Legislative session convened on January 4th and is set to close on June 2nd.  There are 17 new senators with 70 percent of the Unicameral’s 49 members with two years of experience or less.  Czaplewski reported that 40 bills were reviewed at the Nebraska Association of Resource’s Districts Legislative Session this week.  Bills of particular interest to CPNRD include: LB 22 recommends a $330,000 reduction to the Water Sustainability Fund; LB 98 would extend levy authority for NRDs, general manager Lyndon Vogt will testify in support of this bill; LB 646 would create an extreme weather preparedness task force and strategic action plan; LB 664 would prohibit a political subdivision from using taxes to employ a lobbyist.

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, was elected as the Middle Platte River Basin representative on January 6, 2017.  Reynolds has served as representative since 2013 and will serve another four-year term.

-Cost Share  The board approved 19 applications for brush management, center pivot incentive, tree planting, grassland conservation, grazing deferment, flow meters and well decommissioning through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and CPNRD cost share programs in the amount of $68,760.34.

 

December 22, 2016

Bid and Emergency Plan Contracts Approved for Flood Control Projects

Action was taken on two of Central Platte Natural Resources District’s flood control projects at Thursday’s CPNRD board meeting.  Eleven bids from five states were received for excavation of approximately 60 acres for a detention cell on the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project (Phase I); located approximately 5 miles west of Grand Island.  The board approved the low bidder, Van Kirk Brothers Construction of Sutton, Nebraska, in the amount of $2,299,175. The project site is prepared for construction of the planned detention cells and the contractor is ready to begin construction activities in January 2017; with construction scheduled to be completed in September 2017.

The board also approved a contract with JEO Consulting Group to develop an Emergency Preparedness Plan for the Wood River Flood Control Project in the amount of $35,000.  The Plan is part of the Project’s System Wide Improvement Framework and is scheduled to be completed in May of 2017.

ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS

-Groundwater Exchange  The board approved transactions for the CPNRD Groundwater Exchange.  Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst, reported that there was more active participation for the second year of the Exchange with 25 sellers and five buyers submitting bids to lease groundwater for the upcoming irrigation season.  Half of the sellers did receive bids that matched with a buyer.  Bids made for transactions along the Platte River west of Elm Creek, NE ranged from $8.14 to $94.21 per acre; while bids east of Elm Creek ranged from $30.12 to $99.88 per acre. Bids within the Loup Basin influence of the District ranged from $48.84 to $121.07 acre.

-Sub-Regional GW Model  The board approved a contract with Olsson Associates to develop a ‘real-time’ tracking of water recharged to the aquifer in the amount of $98,500, with the Platte River Implementation Program providing funding for half of the cost.  Duane Woodward, hydrologist, said the model will track flows on a cell-by-cell basis to provide specific monthly accounting of water returned back to the Platte River.

-Erosion & Sediment Control Program  A hearing date was set for 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 26, 2017 for approval of proposed changes to the NRD’s Erosion & Sediment Control Program.  The new plan includes changes made to the Erosion and Sediment Control Act in May 2015 that adds sheet & rill erosion, ephemeral gully erosion, changes governing authority, allows NRDs to petition the District Court for a Cease & Desist Order, removes 90 percent cost share previously required for NRDs to provide for erosion control practices, and updates soils within the District.  Proposed Plan

-Nominating Committee  The Board Officer Nominating Committee (Jay Richeson, Jerry Wiese, Alicia Haussler) reported that their recommendation for chairman is Jim Bendfeldt of Kearney; and vice-chair is  Mick Reynolds, Wood River.  Ed Kyes, chairman, and Jim Bendfeldt, vice-chairman, have both served the full (2) 2-year terms.  The officer election will be held at the January 26th board meeting.

-Platte River Recovery Implementation Program  Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Governance Committee (GC) recently reviewed and approved a 2017 budget and annual work plan.  The $19.1 million budget includes $12.7 million for water projects focuses on aggressively moving forward on water projects.  An Amendment to the Water Use Lease Agreement it holds with Central Platte NRD was also approved which modifies the pricing section of the Agreement. The price paid for surface water diverted for recharge generally maintains a price of $43/acre-foot, raises the payment for transferred surface water from around $43 to $150/acre-foot, and reduces the increase in annual costs from 7% to 3%.  These changes bring the value of water CPNRD sells the Program to levels in line with those being paid to other contributors.  The original Agreement was signed in 2013 and the Amended values take effect on January 1, 2017.

The Program’s Finance Committee met to start to hammer out the major remaining piece needed to complete the Proposal to extend the First Increment for an additional 13 years after the current timeframe expires at the end of 2019.  The GC is beginning to develop a “roadmap” of activities that need to be addressed at the State and federal level to secure needed funding and permitting approvals.

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin representative, reported that the Commission announced selections on applications for water sustainability funds; with six projects funded at $200,000 or less, four projects funded at over $250,000, and a major sewer project in Omaha receiving $876,000.  Reynolds said over $5 million was held over for funding projects next year.

-Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD)  The board selected Jim Bendfeldt as voting delegate and Jerry Wiese as alternate for the NARD Legislative Conference to be held in Lincoln in January.

-Cost Share  The board approved 12 applications for underground pipeline, brush management, tree planting, flow meters, grassland conservation, center pivot incentive, and well decommissioning in the amount of $47,565.23 through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and CPNRD cost share programs.

-Conservation Awards Five landowners received Conservation Awards to recognize their achievements with water and soil conservation following the board meeting.  Award winner- Cropland: Mark Haskins, Community Leadership: Ken Seim Family, Grassland: Adam Grabenstein, Phil & Carlene Waldron; Tom Schroder and the late Lana Schroder.  Each winner received a $100 gift card and a sign to display on their land recognizing their accomplishments.

 

November 17, 2016
Four Area Landowners Selected for 2016 CPNRD Conservation Awards

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- Four area landowners were selected by the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors on Thursday to receive Conservation Awards to recognize their achievements with water and soil conservation.  Award winners will receive a $100 gift card and a sign to display on their land recognizing their accomplishments.  The public is invited to join the CPNRD in presenting the awards; free hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided by Great Western Bank.  Awards to be presented on:  Thursday, December 22, 2016 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. at Balz Reception Hall, 213 N Sycamore Street in Grand Island, NE.  This year’s award winners are:

CROPLAND: Mark Haskins, Doniphan.  Haskins was selected for implementing buffer strips, center pivots with variable frequency drive (VFD), surge valves, and 100 acres of precision laser controlled land leveling. He uses a controlled traffic ridge till system for soil health by reducing compaction across the field and increasing the amount of crop residue left on the soil surface.  Haskins’ use of telemetry with his flow meters and capacitance probes is beyond most typical installations.  Use of telemetry allows him to know, in real time, the amount of water being pumped, pressures with his systems, and soil moisture conditions so adjustments can be made quickly in response to the conditions.

COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP: Ken Seim Family, Chapman.  The Seim family was selected for their willingness to adopt new practices that are beneficial to the protection of the environment and betterment of their crop production procedures. They are true agricultural leaders, hosting several field days to familiarize other producers on new irrigation techniques, moisture sensors, cover crops and SDI.  Tom Schleif, NRCS, said, “Of all the exceptional things the Seim operation has accomplished; Ken’s willingness to help others and his patience and effectiveness as an instructor rank at or near the top of his capabilities.”  The Seim Family’s operation is on the cutting edge and they work to advance new concepts.
Two winners were selected for the Grassland category due to different management techniques:
GRASSLAND: Adam Grabenstein, Farnam. Grabenstein was selected for his proactive approach to removing the encroachment of Eastern Red Cedar trees on his rangeland through prescribed burning; eliminating 95 percent on 670 acres.  He works with the Central Platte Rangeland Alliance on completing other burns in Dawson County and is a volunteer fireman.  Having property adjacent to the highway, Grabenstein advocates and encourages other landowners to use prescribed fire and rotational grazing to improve their own grasslands.

GRASSLAND: Phil & Carlene Waldron; Tom Schroder; posthumously Lana Schroder; Waldron’s live in Lincoln and manage property in Buffalo County.  The Waldron-Schroder families were selected for their exceptional prescribed grazing system on 451 acres of rangeland.  They have implemented a livestock well, pipeline and tanks; filter strips on cropland fields to prevent erosion, seeding two fields to native grasses, and introduced plants for pollinator and wildlife habitat.  Beth Hiatt, NRCS, said, “This particular set of grass seedings has been the most successful I have experienced in my 36+ years with the SCS/NRCS.”  The families also provide access to the property for public tours and allow teachers to bring students to the site for educational opportunities.

ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS

-Conservation Easement  The board voted (11-8) to deny the request from the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds to hold a conservation easement to implement a wetland in Buffalo County.  A second motion was approved (17-2) to request additional details from Westervelt Ecological Services, the entity who would implement the wetland; and from Joe Krolikowski, NRCS, on the need for a mitigation project in the District.

-Election Results  The two races contested in the General Election will bring two new faces to the CPNRD board of directors. Doug Reeves defeated Beau Bearnes, both of Central City, for the Subdistrict 9 seat.  Reeves was born, raised, and resides on his family farm in Merrick County.  Doug replaces his father, Ladd Reeves, who chose not to run for another four-year term.  Ladd served on the board for 22 years.

The new director to fill the At-Large seat is Keith Ostermeier of Grand Island.  Ostermeier defeated Charles Bicak, Kearney, for a two-year term.  Bicak had been appointed in 2014 to fill the remaining term of the late Dick Mercer of Kearney and served on the board from 1994-2005 prior to being appointed in 2014.  Ostermeier operates his family farm, OAK Farms, and formerly worked as a soil scientist for NRCS, and conservation director for the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District.

Directors who were not contested and re-elected for another four-year term include: Jay Richeson, Gothenburg; Dwayne Margritz, Lexington; Marvion Richert Jr., Elm Creek; Keith Stafford, Kearney; Deb VanMatre, Gibbon; Jim Bendfeldt, Kearney; Mick Reynolds, Wood River; Jerry Wiese, LeRoy Arends, and Barry Obermiller, all of Grand Island.

-Nominating Committee  The board elected Jay Richeson, Jerry Wiese and Alicia Haussler to serve as the  board officer nominating committee to make recommendations for chairman and vice-chairman.  Ed Kyes, chairman, and Jim Bendfeldt, vice-chairman, have both served the full (2) 2-year terms.  The committee will report at the December 22nd meeting, with the board officer election to be held at the January 26th meeting.

-Platte River Recovery Implementation Program  Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Governance Committee (GC) recently approved summary language for a Program First Increment Extension, contingent on approval of a budget.  The new proposed budget funding focuses on aggressively moving forward on water projects ($12.7 million out of a total budget of $19.1 million) and includes some significant reductions in select monitoring and research components.  The 13-year extension (post 2019) lays out what the Program would strive to accomplish, with a focus on pursuing water milestones. The GC also approved an amendment to the Water Service Agreement for the J2 Reservoir Project.  The Project has formally been placed on hold while the parties involved evaluate how best to proceed.  The next GC meeting is scheduled for December 6-7 in Denver.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Joe Krolikowski, district liaison, reported that FY 2017 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) initial allocation to Central Platte NRD will total just over $1.5 million.  NRCS will begin ranking the applications and offer contracts to the highest ranked applicants in January.

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin representative, reported that the Commission will finalize scoring on applications for water sustainability funds by December 2nd and the selections will be announced on December 12, 2016 in Kearney.  On January 6, 2017, the Commission will hold an election for the Middle Platte Basin representative- shared by the Twin Platte NRD and Central Platte NRD.  The election will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the CPNRD office in Grand Island.

-Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD)  Jim Bendfeldt, NARD board president, reported that Nebraska will host the 2020 National Envirothon.  As a host state, Nebraska will be required to provide $450,000 in sponsorships.  The Envirothon is a contest designed for high school students (9-12th grades) to test their knowledge about the environment. Five-member teams compete in seven areas of environmental studies: soil, aquatics, forestry, policy, wildlife, range, environmental policy and current issues.

-Cost Share  The board approved two applications for brush management and well decommissioning in the amount of $5,240.75 through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and CPNRD cost share programs.

-Computer Hacking  Lyndon Vogt, general manager, reported that Central Platte NRD’s server was hacked.  Personal information such as landowner addresses and social security numbers is filed in QuickBooks; which did not appear to be accessed.  Vogt said the server holding groundwater modeling data did not appear to be hacked either.  CPNRD has cyber security insurance and has hired a company to investigate what specific information was accessed.  All information was properly backed up and no information was lost.

 

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OCTOBER 27, 2016
One Month Remaining to Sign Up for Groundwater Exchange

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- The Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) is halfway through the pre-approval process for the Groundwater Exchange Program, which provides a way for producers to buy or sell water use for the upcoming irrigation season. Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst, reported at the CPNRD’s board meeting on Thursday; that the NRD already has a few participants and expects participation to pick up following harvest.  Those interested in participating must be pre-approved by November 23, 2016.

The online bid window for those pre-approved will be open from December 1 through December 9, 2016.  Buyers and sellers will go online to the CPNRD Exchange website with the personal ID that staff has provided to them.  Sellers will enter the amount that they would like to receive for their water use, and buyers will enter how much they are willing to pay.   The National Economic Research Associates (NERA) is the consulting firm who developed the computer program, accepts the bids, and provides CPNRD with the results.   To make a pre-approval appointment, contact the CPNRD at (308) 385-6282 or visit www.market4water.com.

OTHER BUSINESS
-Dams Inventory   The board approved a contract with JEO Consulting in the amount of $39,500 to conduct an inventory of dams that are one acre or larger within the District.  Staff will request the remaining fee of $25,000 through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Fund.

-Conservation Easement   Lucy Harrington, Westervelt Ecological Services, and Kelly Sudbeck, Nebraska Board of Education Lands & Funds (BELF); presented a request for CPNRD to hold a 320-acre conservation easement to implement a wetland mitigation bank in Buffalo County. Harrington said that Westervelt is the entity who would implement the wetland; while working closely with the CPNRD, NRCS and the Nebraska Audubon, who owns property that surrounds the potential wetland.

Sudbeck said the BELF Board serves in the dual capacity of land owner/manager of 1.3 million surface acres and 1.66 million subsurface acres. Rents are collected on 3,200 agricultural leases and 250 mineral leases. BELF was established by the Nebraska Constitution to serve as Trustee of lands contributed to the State in 1867 by the federal government. As Trustee of these lands, the Board is bound by fiduciary duty to its beneficiaries—Nebraska’s K-12 public schools. The net income from the Trust is deposited in the Temporary School Trust Fund, which is distributed annually to the K-12 public schools statewide on a per-pupil basis. In 2016, $48 million in proceeds went back to all public schools in Nebraska.

The CPNRD board will consider action on the request at their November 17 monthly meeting.

-Land Rights  The board approved proceeding with condemnation on 7.25 acres of irrigated land located at Engleman and Airport roads following unsuccessful negotiation attempts.  The property is central to the existing levy and a new levy to be constructed as part of the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project in the northwest area of Grand Island.  The project is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

-Kirkpatrick Memorial Park Lake  The board approved a $25,000 request from JEO towards lake improvements for the Kirkpatrick Memorial Park Lake in Lexington, NE.  Improvements will include 4,000 cubic yards of dredging, 2,500’ of bank improvements including removal of trees, and a 700’ sea wall to the four-acre lake.  The project will provide improvements to water quality, aquatic habitat, public access and provide an area for educational events.  Construction is expected to begin next summer with completion scheduled for the fall of 2017.

-Cooperative Hydrology Study  Duane Woodward, CPNRD hydrologist, reported that recalibration of the Platte River Cooperative Hydrology Study (COHYST) models has been completed.  The COHYST Model consists of a watershed response model, a groundwater model and a surface water model that together complete an integrated model.  The watershed model was reconstructed to use actual monthly data from pumping and recharge records added; the surface water model (STELLA) now uses a demand shift to mimic actual farming practices including diversions, return flows and water releases.  The groundwater model changes included drains and a modified representation of evapotranspiration.

The new integrated model will be calibrated through a three-step process that use current results from the watershed model and available measured data to construct standalone versions of the groundwater model and surface water model; adjust the surface water model and the groundwater model to match historical flows and water levels; and modify the watershed model to address problems identified in the surface water model and groundwater.  The integrated model is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.  For more information on COHYST, visit http://cohyst.dnr.ne.gov.

-Cost Share The board approved four cost share applications through the Central Platte NRD Cost Share Program and the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation Program in the amount of $6,558.64.  Practices approved include re-nozzle, cover crop and well decommissioning.

-Conservation Stewardship Program   Joe Krolikowski, USDA-NRCS district liaison, reported that the Natural Resources Conservation Service is currently working on finishing up the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contract renewals.  The CSP helps producers build on existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operation.  Krolikowski said there were 20 contracts renewed in CPNRD for fiscal year 2017, with those contracts to be active on 21,700 acres for another 5 years in the amount of $1,605,725.  Applications are accepted all throughout the year for this program with the next application deadline February 3, 2017.  If interested in CSP funding, contact your local NRCS field office for more information.

-Upcoming Board Meeting  The November board of directors meeting will be held a week early on Thursday, November 17, 2016, in order to observe the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Groundwater Exchange Pre-Approval to Start October 3rd

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Groundwater Exchange is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 3rd.  The CPNRD board of directors approved expanding the Groundwater Exchange to include the Loup Basin within the District and to add definition of terms to their Rules & Regulations at their September 29th board meeting.  A public hearing on the proposed changes was held prior to the board meeting.

The Groundwater Exchange pre-approval process for buyers and sellers to meet with CPNRD staff will take place from October 3 to November 23, so that producers will have time to plan for spring planting. During the pre-approval process, staff will verify that all participants are in compliance with the NRD’s Rules and Regulations, document whether the participant is acting as a buyer or seller, the location and amount of water use, and whether the buyers want to purchase water for irrigation or for streamflow.

The online bid window for those pre-approved will be open from December 1 through December 9, 2016.  Buyers and sellers will go online to the CPNRD Exchange website with the personal ID that staff has provided to them.  Sellers will enter the amount that they would like to receive for their water use, and buyers will enter how much they are willing to pay.

Central Platte NRD and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources have partnered in the financial cost to develop an algorithm that selects the best matches based on information that each seller and buyer enters- such as the price, location of water, and the depletion to the river.  The program then generates a report of all the matched exchanges.  The NRD’s Rules and Regulations regarding the transfers of groundwater irrigated acres are built into the computer program. Bids are based on acres, consumptive use, and streamflow depletion to the Platte River. The National Economic Research Associates (NERA) is the consulting firm who developed the computer program, accepts the bids, and provides CPNRD with the results.   For more information, contact CPNRD at (308) 385-6282 or visit www.market4water.com.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS:

-Krolikowski New NRCS District Liaison  James Huntwork, former CPNRD district liaison, announced that Joe Krolikowski has been selected as CPNRD’s new District liaison.  Krolikowski has been employed at the Grand Island Field Office as the irrigation specialist for 15 years.  Huntwork now holds the ASTC/Field Operations position for the Central Area Natural Resources Conservation Service.

-United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE)  Jesse Mintken, assistant manager, reported that the permit from the USACE has been received and CPNRD will make plans for proceeding with a bid letting for construction on the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project.  Project construction is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

 

 

-GISH Monarch Habitat Project   The board approved the use of approximately four acres of land along the Wood River Flood Control Project for the Grand Island Senior High Success Academy (GISH) to
develop a Monarch butterfly way station.  GISH students will develop the site with CPNRD providing annual maintenance.  Other project partners include Roots and Shoots, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Vlcek Gardens, and Pheasants Forever.

-Crane Viewing  Two requests were presented regarding crane viewing.  A request from the Audubon at Lillian Rowe Sanctuary to remove the pullout located on Elm Island south of the visitor center and create a new viewing pull-out just south of the south channel on the west side of 43 Road near Gibbon, NE was approved in the amount of $2,500.  Audubon is making the change because the current location is no longer a good crane viewing location and to remedy safety issues.  The goal of the new site is to provide more space for parking and to reduce the number of cars parking on rural roads.

A request from the Grand Island Convention & Visitors Bureau for funding towards an economic impact study of the annual crane migration in Central Nebraska was denied.

-Sediment & Erosion Plan  The board approved updates to the NRD’s Sediment and Erosion Plan.  The plan now includes new requirements approved by the Legislature.  The major changes to the Plan include adding a section of Frontier County that is now within the CPNRD and eliminating the 90 percent cost share requirement.  The Plan will be sent to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission for approval.  A public hearing will be held following their approval.

-Online Reporting Form  Jay Richeson, Water Resources Committee chairman, reported that after a year of using the new online crop reporting form, the staff has had an overall good response from producers.  A contract with GIS Workshop in the amount of $8,000 was approved by the board to update the form.  Updates will include allowing new owners to submit updates to previously submitted forms and to provide staff the flexibility to personalize letters that are sent to producers.

School Land Easement Request  The board postponed action on a request from the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds for CPNRD to hold a conservation easement to implement a wetland in Buffalo County.  The board requested more information from Westervelt Ecological Services, who would implement the wetland.

-Platte River Program  Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program’s  (PRRIP) Governance Committee is proposing a 13-year extension to meet the water goals.  The preliminary cost for the extension are estimated at $118 million.  A vote on the extension is scheduled for November 2, 2016.  Comments are currently being accepted by the PRRIP Governance Committee.

-Cost Share The board approved 20 cost share applications through the Central Platte NRD Cost Share Program and the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation Program in the amount of $70,272.88.  Practices approved include planned grazing, brush management, underground pipeline, windbreak renovation, center pivot incentive, soil moisture sensor, flow meter and well decommissioning.

 -Commission Report  Mick Reynolds, CPNRD’s Nebraska Natural Resources Commission representative, reported that projects totaling $45 million have been requested through the Water Sustainability Fund with $25 million available.  The Commission will finalize rankings and take action on the applications on December 12, 2016.

-Awards  Dianne Miller, administrative director, was recognized for 45 years of service by the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) during their annual conference on Tuesday.  Miller began working for the Mid-Platte Valley Watershed in 1971, which was merged into the Natural Resources Districts and has been an employed by the Central Platte Natural Resources District since the NRDs were formed in 1972.

The Ken Seim family of Chapman, NE. received the Master Conservationist Agricultural Award during the NARD conference as well.  The Seim family has implemented new techniques and technology to improve water and soil conservation on their operation for over 25 years.

 

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ACTION TAKEN ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 (August Board Meeting)

Central Platte NRD Lowers Levy and Property Tax Request
The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s property tax levy for the 2016/2017 fiscal budget and the property tax request are both down from the 2015/2016 fiscal budget.  The levy was approved at 0.03582, down from 0.03842; while the tax request is $6,106,674.82, down $9,034.82.  On Thursday, the board held a public hearing and took action at their board meeting to approve setting the levy rate.  The property taxes received by CPNRD provide funding to develop flood control projects, manage water quality and soil health, address groundwater and surface water uses, provide cost share to producers, recreation, wildlife habitat, and other natural resources benefits.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS:

-Groundwater Exchange Expansion- The board approved proposed changes to the Groundwater Exchange Rules & Regulations, expanding the Program to include the Loup Basin within the District and adding definition of terms.  A public hearing will be held at 1:50 p.m. on Thursday, September 29, 2016 to take testimony on the proposed changes.  If approved, the Groundwater Exchange pre-approval process for buyers and sellers would take place from October 3-November 23.  The online Exchange would take place December 1-9, so that producers would have time to plan for spring planting. Proposed Changes

-Little Sprouts Outdoor Classroom- The board approved $2,000 in funding to the Kearney Area Children’s Museum to help the Museum develop a Prairie Garden Walkway in their Little Sprouts Outdoor Classroom.  Plants will be selected that represent the prairie throughout the four seasons of the year.  Tours and workshops will be conducted focusing on biodiversity, characteristics of native prairie plants, and the role that these plants play in supporting the prairie ecosystem.  CPNRD’s Community Grants Program provides community organizations grant funds to provide natural resources education to school groups or groups outside of their organization.

-NRCS December Event Request- The board approved $500 in funding to bring Gabe Brown, a renowned farmer/rancher from North Dakota, to speak at the Trotter Event Center in Ord, NE on December 5, 2016.  Brown is a producer who uses zero synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides on his 5,000-acre farm/ ranch; while out yielding the county average by 25 percent.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service and local RC&D are hosting the event.

-Kirkpatrick Lake Restoration- The board approved a letter of support for the City of Lexington’s grant request to the Nebraska Environmental Trust for funding to restore Kirkpatrick Lake.  Renovation plans call for lake dredging to enhance aquatic vegetation growth and sustainable fish habitat; improving access to the water via tree removal and installation of ADA fishing piers; shoreline stabilization to minimize the amount of sediment entering the lake, and promoting greater water clarity.  CPNRD would provide technical assistance towards the restoration.

-Annual Water Report- The board received a summary of water use activities that took place within the District in 2015.  CPNRD has a total of 1,028,044 irrigated acres of which 936,554 acres are groundwater only; 14,315 acres are surface water only; and 77,175 acres are a co-mingled use.  There were 160 transfers which totaled 1,955 acres of new irrigated lands; 1,094 certified acres were used to offset the new uses and 160 acres were retired.  By the close of 2015, the CPNRD Water Bank had a balance of 2,566 acre-feet of water rights available for offset in the over-appropriated area.  The surface water canals in Dawson County have diverted 37,359 acre-feet and the computed recharge back to the Platte River was 23,883 acre-feet. Complete Summary

-Clean Community System Request- The board approved a funding request in the amount of $2,000 to be used for the operation of the Grand Island Area Clean Community Center facility and disposal of hazardous waste.

-Voting Delegate- The board selected Jim Bendfeldt, Kearney, as voting delegate and Jay Richeson, Gothenburg, as alternate, for the Nebraska Association of Resources District’s annual conference to be held September 26-27 in Kearney, NE.

-Cost Share- The board approved 10 cost share payments through the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation Program and the CPNRD Cost Share Program for range planting, brush management, underground pipeline, grazing deferment, grassland conservation, cover crop, and center pivot incentive in the amount of $98,994.51.

-September Board Meeting- The upcoming board meeting will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016, to accommodate publishing requirements for the Groundwater Exchange public hearing.

Action Taken on July 28: Central Platte NRD Approves Lower Property Tax Request

The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors adopted an amended budget in the amount of $23 million on Thursday; which is up about $3 million from the fiscal 2016 budget.  The property tax request is down $9,034.82 and with an estimated 9% valuation increase, the projected levy is also down at 0.03519.  CPNRD will hold a levy hearing at 1:55 p.m. just prior to the August board meeting to be held on Thursday, September 1st.  Property taxes received by the CPNRD provide funding towards flood control, nitrate management, soil health, cost share to producers, recreation and other natural resources benefits.

OTHER BUSINESS:

-Groundwater Data Collection- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported on research the CPNRD is participating in titled the Advanced Hydrogeologic Frameworks for Aquifer Management in the Platte and Republican Rivers.  Data is collected using a helicopter equipped with electromagnetic technology that can read 600-800 feet below the surface.  The project will provide detailed information of the aquifer conditions and the subsurface hydrogeologic framework to effectively design and apply integrated management plans.  Nearly 1,400 miles were flown from July 2-14 in the Central Platte and Twin Platte NRDs.  The traditional method of geologic test hole drilling for information regarding the subsurface geology is vital to the understanding of the area, but alone cannot provide enough spatially distributed information to complete a detailed hydrogeologic framework of each NRDs aquifer resources. The new information will allow new infrastructure and future sub-regional groundwater model investigations to be developed for evaluation of proposed management practices. The project is being funded through a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Central Platte NRD, and the Twin Platte NRD.

-Platte River Program- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that due to institutional and cost issues, the Governance Committee (GC) for the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP) directed that the J2 Regulating Reservoir Project be put on hold until further notice while the PRRIP pursues other water project opportunities involving groundwater recharge, smaller scale storage projects, and water acquisition and transfer opportunities.  Rising costs resulting in the need to reconfigure the project caused delays with many issues yet to be resolved.  Czaplewski also reported that the GC will begin monthly meetings to advance the extension proposal for the second increment of the PRRIP.

-Appeal- The board denied an appeal concerning certified irrigated acres from a Hall County landowner.

-Long Range Plan- The board approved the 2016-2021 Long Range Implementation Plan.  The annual Plan summarizes planned district activities and includes projections of financial, manpower and land right needs of the district for the next five years as required under the Nebraska Natural Resources District Act.  The Plan will be sent to state and federal agencies as required by the Act.  Click here for Plan

-Commission Report- Mick Reynolds reported on several actions taken at the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission’s meeting on June 27th.  Reynolds said an updated list of possible items to be changed in Water Sustainability Fund Rules was distributed and discussed. Commissioners were asked to identify any other revisions they deem appropriate and forward those to Chairman Fornoff, Committee Chair Smathers or to staff for discussion at the next meeting. The next round of Water Sustainability Funds may be awarded at a special meeting in December.  The members also approved motions to:
– Recommend the Director approve the Revised Erosion & Sediment Control Programs for the South Platte, Upper Loup, Papio-Missouri, Tri-Basin, Lower Niobrara, Little Blue, and Lower Elkhorn NRDs.
-Allocate and obligate FY 2017 Resources Development Funds.
– Added Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) and Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) as eligible components under NC–17 Irrigation management practices.

-Cost Share- The board approved 26 cost share payments through the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation Program and the CPNRD Cost Share Programs for pasture planting, brush management, windbreak renovation, planned grazing, underground pipeline, grassland conservation, flow meters, and center pivot incentive in the amount of $133,120.86.

-August Board Meeting- The August board meeting will be held on Thursday, September 1st to accommodate the budget schedule.

Central Platte NRD Spring Groundwater Levels Up

(GRAND ISLAND, NE) Groundwater levels show an average rise of 0.08 feet since 1982 in the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD).  Shane Max, resources conservationist, reported the findings to the CPNRD’s board of directors meeting on Thursday.  CPNRD staff measured 453 wells this spring as part of the Ground Water Management Program.  Since 1982, the largest rise is 11.2 feet in Ground Water Management Area #5 (GWMA) in northern Frontier County; while the largest decline is 11.45 feet in GWMA #9 located in northern Dawson and Buffalo counties, reaching a new historical low.

The 1982 groundwater levels were established as the standard for CPNRD’s Groundwater Management Plan with maximum acceptable declines and a margin of safety calculated for each GWMA.  The maximum level of decline ranges from 10 feet in the eastern end of the District to 30 feet in portions of the western end of the district.  As a proactive measure, a trigger was set that suspends supplemental wells and transfers into those areas that have reached a 25 percent decline.  Currently, five of the District’s 24 GWMAs are in the 25 percent decline suspension.  If the water table would fall to 50 percent of the maximum decline, Phase II would go into effect, triggering mandatory reductions in irrigated acres and spacing limits for new irrigation wells would be established. Map available at www.cpnrd.org.

-Public Hearing on Rules & Regs- The board took action to approve the proposed reorganization of the Rules and Regulations in the Fully and Over Appropriated Areas. 

-Dark Island Trail- The board approved a funding request in the amount of $5,000 by the PEER Group to help complete the Dark Island Hike & Bike Trail that runs from Central City to Marquette NE.

-Budget- The board took action to approve the Fiscal 2017 budget for the purpose of holding a public hearing.  The proposed tax request is down nearly $350,000.  The hearing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. on July 28, 2016.

-Groundwater Exchange- The board approved a contract with National Economic Research Associates (NERA) and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) in the amount of $105,000 to design and manage a second Groundwater Exchange.  The second exchange will include the area of the Loup Basin influence.  The NDNR and CPNRD will each share 50 percent of the cost.

-Platte Basin Timelapse- The board approved a funding request in the amount of $2,000 towards the Timelapse: Monitoring Change Over Time project. The Nebraska Association of Resources District board approved partnering with Michael Forsberg and the NET to create STEM curricula, meeting Nebraska standards for schools.  Materials will be developed in consultation with teachers and curriculum designers, with input from ag subject matter experts and the Nebraska Department of Education.

-Appeal- The board denied an appeal from Buffalo County.

-Chemigation Violations-  The violation procedure was reviewed for chemigating without a permit.  The violation procedure requires CPNRD to first send written notice to violators to allow a chemigator to come into compliance.  If no compliance is achieved, CPNRD notifies the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and issues an order to suspend operation until a permit is obtained.  Once notice is provided to the violator, and regardless of whether voluntary compliance is achieved, CPNRD may alert the county attorney to initiate litigation.  Civil penalties include $1,000 per day per site where a violation has occurred; and between $1,000-$5,000 per day per site for any subsequent violations.

-Platte River Implementation Program- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Platte River Implementation Program’s Governance Committee continues to try to re-negotiate the Water Service Agreement for the J2 Reservoir Project with Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District.  It was reported that little progress has been made due in part to difficulty in scheduling meetings of principals from the three states and federal governments.  The Governance Committee also began detailed discussions to extend the first Increment of the Program (which expires in 2019) have begun.  While milestones for land and adaptive management components have been met and exceeded, water goals have been tougher and more expensive to achieve.  Initial discussions included prioritizing resolution of channel choke point issues, additional habitat acquisitions, getting J2 Reservoir Project issues resolved, and investigating opportunities to support pallid sturgeon use of the lower Platte River (beginning with a workshop of species experts).

Czaplewski also reported that the Governance Committee approved a contract with Central Platte NRD and Aqua Geo Frameworks LLC for aerial electromagnetic survey work.  The survey work includes additional coverage of flight lines to cover various project areas at a Program cost of $64,000.

-Tree Program- Kelly Cole, programs coordinator, reported that 46,575 conservation tree seedlings were sold in 2016.  The NRD has sold over 3.6 million seedlings since 1973.  Cole also reported that 14 miles of weed barrier fabric was sold this year, with a total of 553 miles since 1991.

-Cost Share- The board approved three cost share payments for center pivot incentive in the amount of $17,598 and two for flow meters in the amount of $1,600 for a total of $19,198.

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ACTION TAKEN AT MAY 26TH BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

Woodward Reports on Rainfall and Snowpack

(GRAND ISLAND, NE) At the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board meeting on Thursday, Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that above normal rainfall and snowpack is evident on both the North Platte and South Platte rivers.  He said that the snowpack in Colorado and Wyoming are measuring between 129 to 167 percent of normal. Lake McConaughy in Nebraska has 8,000 cfs flowing into the reservoir and 5,000 cfs are being released out; however, Woodward said the reservoir has the capacity to hold another four feet or 100,000 acre-feet.

The surface water canals that the CPNRD manages in Dawson County have been diverting excess flows since April, with diversions to end on June 1st for the irrigation season.  Woodward said although there is above normal rainfall, there hasn’t been any real flooding issues. He said, “I don’t see any problems with the canals delivering water (for irrigation) this year.”

Jesse Mintken, assistant manager, reported that although only 60 percent of the detention cells for the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores flood control projects are completed; they are full and working as constructed.  The two major pieces of the project yet to be completed are the remaining detention cells and the levee.  There are 2.3 million cubic yards of excavation left on the detention cells.  The design and permit application were recently submitted for approval.  Mintken said bid lettings will likely be held within the next couple of months.  Construction of the cells is planned to start this fall and scheduled to be completed in early 2018.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS:

-Rules & Regulations- The board will hold a public hearing at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2016 to reorganize the Rules and Regulations in the Fully and Over Appropriated Areas.

-Dark Island Trail- Jason Buss, Platte PEER Group, presented a request for funding to the Eastern Projects Committee to complete the hike and bike trail from Central City to Marquette, NE.  The committee will review the request and make a recommendation to the board at the June meeting.

-Natural Resources Conservation (NRCS) Report- Acting district liaison Brach Johnson, Schuyler, reported that the USDA NRCS recently celebrated National Volunteer Week by honoring Earth Team volunteers.  Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the state to assist field technicians, data entry, media assistance, etc.  To learn more about the Earth Team Volunteer Program visit: www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov or call (888) 526-3227.

Johnson also announced a new soil health initiative for Nebraska to establish 12 demonstration farms across the state to showcase new cropping methods.  Producers selected will be compensated for conducting strip trails of various cover crops, crop rotations, and management techniques.  Producers will receive $121 per acre, up to a maximum of $15,000 per year to conduct the strip trials and host field days.  For more information on the Soil Health Demonstration Farms Initiative, visit www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.

-Groundwater Exchange- The board will proceed with hosting a second Groundwater Exchange in 2016.  Changes to the upcoming Exchange will include advertising the program this summer and conducting the Exchange as early as November.

-Cost Share- Ten cost share applications were approved through the CPNRD and the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation programs. Practices approved include grassland conservation, soil moisture sensors, flow meters and well decommissioning in the amount of $51,018.50.

-Budget- The Budget Committee reviewed the Fiscal 2017 budget.  The board will review and take action on the budget at the June board meeting for the purpose of holding a public hearing in July.

 

Central Platte NRD Board to Hold Public Hearing on New Groundwater Exchange Program

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- A public hearing date has been set to take testimony on the proposed Rules & Regulations for the new Groundwater Exchange Program.  The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors set the hearing for 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at the Central Platte NRD office located at 215 Kaufman Avenue in Grand Island, NE.

The Groundwater Exchange will allow producers to temporarily sell or buy water for one growing season.  Charlie Bicak, director, commented that “this program exemplifies the charged responsibility of the NRD to find new ways to manage the water resources in our District.”

The proposed Groundwater Exchange Rules and Regulations will be included in CPNRD’s Rules & Regulations for Groundwater Use in Fully and Over Appropriated Areas.  The proposed rules describe where the temporary exchanges will be allowed, including limitations on water uses in the over-appropriated area of the District; pre-approval process, open bid process, exchange notification, etc.

Proposed Rules & Regulations are available here or by calling (308) 385-6282.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS:

-New Phase II Areas- The board approved their proposal to move southern Hall and northern Hamilton counties (south of the Platte River) from a Phase I to a Phase II Groundwater Management Area.  The Water Quality Subcommittee reviewed the testimony given at last month’s public hearing and made a recommendation to approve the proposal.  The board proposed the change due to increasing nitrate levels in those areas.  CPNRD’s Groundwater Quality Rules & Regulations require areas with nitrate level concentrations of 7.6 to 15 ppm to be placed in a Phase II area.  The Rules & Regulations and maps are available at: www.cpnrd.org and available at the CPNRD office.

-Kearney Whitewater Trail- A request in the amount of $2,200 from the Kearney Whitewater Association was approved to aid in removing trees that have fallen into Turkey Creek.  The trail is available for use by canoes, kayaks, rafts, and paddleboards.  Additional information is available on the Association’s website at: www.kearneywhitewater.org.

-Board Officer Election- The board elected Barry Obermiller, Grand Island, as secretary and Charles Maser, Grand Island, as treasurer for the 2016-2018 term.  General election deadlines for incumbents is February 16; and March 1 for non-incumbent candidates.  Voting districts and board of director information is available on the CPNRD website: www.cpnrd.org.

-Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project- Jesse Mintken, projects manager, reported that a public hearing was held on January 7th to provide landowners an opportunity to be heard regarding land acquisition for the project.

-NRCS Application Rankings- James Huntwork, USDA-NRCS district liaison, reported that cost share application rankings will be completed by early February 2016.  Following ranking, contract offers will be extended to the highest ranked applications.  The current CPNRD Ogallala Aquifer Initiative project fund allocation is $1 million, the RCPP allocation is $378,000 and the CPNRD allocation for all other fund codes is $349,763.

CPNRD Fund Code # of Applications $ Requested Current $ Allocation
Ogallala Initiative 71 $2,130,000 $1,000,000
RCPP 109 $3,500,000 $378,000
Water Conservation/Quality 69 $2,070,000 $349,763
IWM 28 $125,000
Grassland Invasive Species 9 $258,000
Grassland 16 $377,000
Cropland Soil Erosion 43 $493,000
Totals 345 $8,953,000 $1,727,763


-Legislative Session-
Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported on bills relating to natural resources in this Legislative session.  The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) will hold their annual Legislative Conference on January 26-27, 2016 in Lincoln, NE.  Jim Bendfeldt, director and vice-president of NARD board, reported on LR 380 CA; which would reduce the Nebraska Environmental Trust’s lottery allocation from 44.5% to 26.5% and reduce the State Fair’s from 10% to 7.5%.  The change would result in a $6M annual loss for the Trust, about 1/3 of the Trust’s funds, and would result in 1/3 fewer projects being funded.  The funds from the Trust and the State Fair would be reallocated “for education as the Legislature may direct.”

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission Applications- Mick Reynolds, director and NNRC representative, reported that the NNRC received $51 million in funding requests; however, only $18 million is available for projects.  The Nebraska Dept. of Natural Resources will have the applications reviewed by March 2016.  Reynolds also reported that the Commission has a new website: nrc.nebraska.gov.

-New Employee- Tricia Dudley was introduced as the CPNRD’s new resources conservationist.  Tricia received a Bachelor of Science in fisheries and wildlife from UNL in 2011 and worked previously for the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture.  She will begin her employment with CPNRD on February 1, 2016.  Dudley will assist with the Water Quality and Quantity programs, GIS projects and static water level measurements.

-Cost Share- Five cost share applications were approved through the CPNRD and Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation programs.  The practices approved were for tree planting and well decommissioning in the amount of $4,331.40.

Action Taken at the December Board of Directors Meeting

Board Delays Action on Proposed Management Area Changes

The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors voted to delay action on their proposal to move southern Hall and northern Hamilton counties (south of the Platte River) from a Phase I to a Phase II Groundwater Management Area. Three landowners testified at the public hearing held just prior to the December Board of Directors meeting. Their testimony will be reviewed and action will be considered at the January 21, 2016 board of directors meeting.  The board proposed the change due to increasing nitrate levels in those areas. The CPNRD’s Groundwater Quality Rules & Regulations require areas with nitrate level concentrations of 7.6 to 15 parts per million (ppm) to be placed in a Phase II area. Maps of the proposed areas and the Rules and Regulations are available for download on the NRD’s website at: www.cpnrd.org and available at the CPNRD office.

ACTION TAKEN:
-Feasibility Study with Lower Loup NRD- Approved a team proposal from HDR, JEO Consulting Group and the Flatwater Group to research the feasibility of designing and potential development of a groundwater recharge/water quality project in the Wood River and South Loup drainage systems. The LLNRD had taken the same action recently and will provide 50 percent of the cost of the study.
-Snagging & Clearing- Discontinued the Snagging & Clearing Program with current requests and projects to be completed by July 1, 2017.
-Johnson Lake Request- Approved a request in the amount of $500 for two years from the Johnson Lake Hike & Bike Trail Association to finish seeding the trail. Tri-Basin NRD will seed the trail in the spring of 2016 and 2017.
-Audit Report- Approved the 2014/2015 audit report as presented by Allison Petr, McDermott & Miller.
-Cost Share- The board approved 15 cost share applications in the amount of $74,250.73 for well decommissioning, center pivot incentive, flow meters, underground pipeline to pivot, prescribed burn, tree planting, brush management, and grassland conservation.
-2016 Election- The Nominating Subcommittee submitted recommendations for board officers: Barry Obermiller for board secretary and Charles Maser for board treasurer, with action to be taken in January. It was also reported that the incumbent filing deadline is February 16, 2016 and non-incumbent deadline is March 1, 2016.
-Platte River Program- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported the following on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program’s Governance Committee (GC).
-Approved 2016 budget for $24.9 milion, water-related components comprising of $18 million.
-Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District (CNPPID) provided an update on development of their J2 Reservoir Project, since the cost estimate was updated to $170 million in September. The GC authorized renegotiation of the Project agreement for a smaller, single reservoir within the Program’s existing budget.
-Discussed tentative plans proposed by Tri-Basin and Lower Republican NRD’s for a transbasin diversion of Platte River flows (excess to targets); exploring the possibility of transferring approximately 40 cfs of water to the Republican River from Central’s supply canal via Turkey Creek. Many details are yet to be worked out, including any arrangement with CNPPID to make such diversions from their system.
-COHYST- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported on the Robust Review of the Cooperative Hydrology Study. He reported that model documentation is complete and is being used for conjunctive management decisions, such as irrigation canal projects with NPPD, CNPPID and Tri-Basin NRD.
-NRCS Report- James Huntwork, USDA-NRCS district liaison, reported on an informational meeting featuring Dr. Alvin Smucker, Michigan State University, on Subsurface Water Retention Technology (SWRT) that was held at the CPNRD. A portion of SWRT research being conducted by Dr. Smucker is funded using an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). NRCS is conducting initial soils investigations to determine research site suitability and plans to work with partners and local producers to assess and investigate opportunities for SWRT testing in Nebraska.
-Conservation/Service Awards- Lt. Governor Mike Foley and Grand Island Mayor Jeremy Jensen were in attendance as landowners Tim Williams, Lindley Thatcher and Bart Beattie received recognition for their water, soil, and grassland conservation efforts. Staff service awards were also presented to Shelly Lippincott, field office secretary for 15 years of service; and Dean Krull, UNL/CPNRD demo project coordinator for 35 years of service.
Upcoming Events:
-January 21- The January board of directors meeting will be held a week early on Thursday, January 21, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
-February 4- CPNRD will host a Winter Information Meeting at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds from 9:30-2:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
-February 15- CPNRD office will be closed to observe Presidents Day.
-February 25- CPNRD board of directors meeting.