Excellent Progress-Flood Control

Excellent Progress Being Made on CPNRD’s Flood Control Project- CPNRD Board Meeting Updates

The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board saw timelapse footage of the progress being made on the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project during their February board meeting on Thursday.  Jesse Mintken, assistant manager, reported that Van Kirk Brothers Construction of Sutton, Nebraska, began construction in mid-January with excellent progress given the moderate winter.  The Project’s detention cells, located approximately five miles west of Grand Island at the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant, are currently under construction. The overall footprint will be 540 acres.

Equipment for this major construction includes four scrapers that hold 20 cubic yards, two excavators, four dump trucks that hold 30 cubic yards, a bulldozer and a road grader.  Soil excavated from both cells will be spoiled on site.

Mintken said the north detention cell, located on Airport Road, (SCLL4N-E Addition) is nearly completed.  An additional 71,500 cubic yards has been excavated to form this cell.  The southern portion of Phase I (SCLL4-S Phase I) includes approximately 815,000 cubic yards. It is located at Capital and Schauppsville.  Periodic seeding and mulching will take place to ensure that permit requirements are met and that proper erosion control measures are implemented.  The contractor expects to be completed by the end of May if the weather cooperates.

Mintken said Phase II is expected to be constructed this coming summer 2017, along with a levee system located at the northwest corner of Grand Island.  The bid letting on that portion of the flood control project will take place in mid-spring.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS

-Irrigation Violations  Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst, reported that there were 57 irrigation violations in 2016.  Five of the violations were second offense violations that require offsetting two times the amount of the violation.  There is also one third offense violation that requires offsetting four times the amount of the violation.  Violators have until March 24, 2017, to respond to notices.  Zakrzewski said of the one million irrigated acres that are within the CPNRD boundaries, the violations total 308.61 acres, or only 0.003 percent.

-Cease & Desist Orders  Cease and Desist hearing notices were sent out to 81 operators by certified mail for not submitting the required reports for the 2016 crop year in the Phase II and III areas of the Water Quality Management Program.  Of the 81 operators 72 came into compliance before the hearing dates.   If the reports are not received by March 31st, the District can take such actions as allowed by law to obtain compliance with the Cease and Desist Order and the District’s Groundwater Quality Management Program’s Rules and Regulations.

The board approved issuing Cease and Desist Orders to three operators: Dave Mickelson, Buffalo County; Andy Prososki, Nance County; and David Stade, Buffalo County; for non-compliance by not submitting the required reports for the 2016 crop year that were due March 31st, 2016.  Three additional operators did not pick up notices sent by certified mail.  Those will be re-sent by certified and regular mail for a cease and desist hearing to be held prior to the March board meeting.

-GeoCloud Database  The board approved an agreement with nine other NRDs to develop a program to preserve, store and access airborne elecromagnetic (AEM) data in a Nebraska GeoCloud platform.  The combined data includes mapping of the bedrock surface and other hydrostratigraphic units to improve estimation of groundwater in storage.  CPNRD will budget $3,400 for FY 2018-2020 for a total of $10,200 for the GeoCloud Program.

-NEBFLUX  The board tabled an agreement with UNL until March on the Nebraska Water and Energy Flux Measurement, Modeling and Research Network (NEBFLUX) with UNL.  The Project measures actual evapotranspiration rates of various vegetation surfaces by utilizing advanced techniques to measure surface energy fluxes, microclimatic variables, plant physiological parameters, soil water content, surface characteristics, and their interactions for various vegetation surfaces in the CPNRD.  The NRD has funded the project since 2007 to seek scientific-based research for the NRD’s water management programs.  The amendment would extend the project through June 2020 in the amount of $343,259.

-CPNRD Evapotranspiration Map  The board approved an agreement with UNL to extend evapotranspiration research using Mapping EvapoTranspiration (ET) with high resolution and internalized calibration (METRIC) algorithms and Earth Engine Evaoptranspiration Flux (EEFlux) in the amount of $64,127 and $20,000 to fund a graduate student.  The project will quantify ET by processing Landsat 7/8 images for 2015 and combine them with all processed years to turn them into usable products for planning, managing and regulating groundwater resources in the CPNRD.

-Vehicle Bids  The board approved the low bid of $33,781.06 from Plum Creek Motors, Lexington, to trade in a 2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer for purchase of a 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe.

-Burn Contractor Bids  The board approved the low bid of $58,838.00 from Chloeta Fire to hire a four-person fire crew and equipment for 31 days.  The crew will start in mid-March 2017 and work with the CPNRD prescribed fire crew on 13 landowner burns from Dawson to Merrick counties.

-Cooperative Hydrology Study (COHYST)  Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the COHYST technical committee recently used the CPNRD’s Water Quality database to improve the model by providing the data needed to allow the model to replicate 2002 dry river conditions.  Woodward said another update included the use of a Conservation Study developed for the Platte Basin Integrated Management Plan to input no-till and other conservation activities to compare conditions back to the 1950s.  The committee is currently doing a robust review to look at all of the changes since 1982 and the net effect of those changes.

-EQIP/CStP Rankings  Joe Krolikowski, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), reported that the FY 2017 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) applications received before October 21, 2016 have been ranked and contracts will be offered to the highest ranked applications until all funds are allocated.  Krolikowski also reported the FY2017 Conservation Stewardship Program (CStP) applications received by February 3, 2017, will begin the ranking process.  There are currently 1,000 applications statewide with approximately enough funds to offer 200-250 contracts.

-NRCS Staffing  Krolikowski also reported that the open positions in the Central City and Grand Island NRCS Field offices have not been filled and there is a minimum 90-day hiring freeze currently in place.

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin representative, reported that the Commission board is currently tweaking the rules and guidelines for 2018 proposals.

-Cost Share  The board approved nine cost share applications in the amount of $18,147.65 for underground pipeline to center pivot, tree planting, grassland conservation, and well decommissioning           through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and CPNRD cost share programs.

-Programs Budget  The Programs Committee will forward the cost share budget to the Budget Committee and continue working on the information/education budget.

-Upcoming Board Meeting  The next meeting was moved to Thursday, March 30, 2017, due to a scheduling conflict with the NARD Legislative Conference in Washington DC.