NRD Receives Awards for Groundwater Festival

NEWS RELEASE
Central Platte NRD Receives Izaak Walton League Awards for Groundwater Festival

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)  Mike Gaghagen, Izaak Walton League of America member, presented the Grand Island Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) award to the Central Platte Natural Resources District for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our nation’s natural resources through the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival. The award was presented at the Central Platte NRD’s board of directors meeting on Thursday. Grand Island IWLA members present an activity at the Festival each year titled Critter Cube Count which teaches students how to identify macroinvertebrates then use math to calculate the health of a stream and how it affects groundwater.

This was the second award presented this month to the Central Platte NRD for the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival. On July 17, 2019, the Izaak Walton League presented their National Honor Roll Award to Kelly Cole and Marcia Lee, festival coordinators, at a ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, for efforts to educate youth about natural resources through the Groundwater Festival.

Over 30,000 students from across the state have attended the annual Festival that has been replicated in 42 states in the United States, and in Mexico, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS

The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s Fiscal Year 2019/2020 budget of $20,896,780.63 was approved at the board of directors meeting on Thursday. The property tax request estimated at $4.2 million is down $323,412.83 compared to last year.  Based on the District’s total valuation from last year, the estimated levy would be approximately 0.02392. A levy hearing will be held at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, August 29. 2019, just prior to the board of director’s August meeting.

-Management Plan Proposals  The board selected Olsson to rewrite the NRD’s Groundwater Management Plan (GMP) in the amount of $102,000.  Olsson will incorporate new data and insight acquired since the approval of the plan in 1985. As mandated by the legislature in the early 1980s, the Central Platte NRD prepared a comprehensive GMP based on the hydrogeologic, climate, and socioeconomic information available at the time. Since 1985, the NRD has acquired and developed significant data and information about the groundwater resources in its district. Over the last 35 years, the rules and regulations implemented by the NRD have changed significantly and groundwater management goals have evolved. For these reasons, the NRD requested proposals to ensure that the rules and regulations currently implemented by the district are in sync with what is written in the plan.

-Basin-Wide Plan  The Board approved the proposed Second Increment Basin-Wide Plan for Joint Integrated Water Resources Management of Overappropriated Portions of the Platte River Basin, developed by the Platte Basin Natural Resources Districts (North Platte, South Platte, Central Platte, Twin Platte,  Tri-Basin NRDs), and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. The geographic area of the Plan is the extent of the Nebraska portion of the Platte River surface water basin beginning at the Nebraska-Wyoming State line and ending at the Kearney Canal Diversion, at Elm Creek. The proposed Plan includes: 1) introduction; 2) planning process; 3) activities of the first increment; 4) goals, objectives, and action items; 5) monitoring. The plan does not include controls.

The Districts and Department will make a joint decision within 60 days on whether to implement the proposed plan with or without modifications. Further information regarding the proposed Plan, or the full text of the proposed IMP and proposed controls, may be requested at (308) 385-6282, or the Department’s website at dnr.nebraska.gov or by telephone at (402) 471-2363.

-Integrated Management Plan  The board approved the proposed Second Increment Joint Integrated Management Plan (IMP) cooperatively developed by Central Platte NRD and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.  The geographic area subject to the proposed IMP is the entirety of the land area within the District boundary.  A general description of the contents of the proposed IMP includes the following: Effective Date; Authority; Maps and Management Area Boundaries; Vision; Funding; Science and Methods; First Increment Accomplishments; Goals and Objectives; and Action Items, which include Controls and Triggers, and Monitoring and Evaluation.  The District will continue existing groundwater controls which are: 1) groundwater moratorium, 2) certification of groundwater uses, 3) groundwater variances, 4) groundwater transfers, and 5) municipal and industrial accounting.

The Department will continue the existing surface water controls which are: 1) maintaining the moratorium on new surface water appropriations and on expanded surface water uses; 2) transfers of appropriations are subject to statutory criteria and Department rules; 3) continuation of surface water administration and monitoring of use of surface water; 4) no additional requirements of surface water appropriators to use additional conservation measures, and 5) no other reasonable restrictions on surface water use.

Further information regarding the proposed IMP and proposed controls, or the full text of the proposed IMP and proposed controls, may be requested at (308) 385-6282, or the Department’s website at dnr.nebraska.gov or by telephone at (402) 471-2363.

An information session and public hearings were held on both the IMP and Basin-Wide plans on July 15, 2019, with testimony submitted by the Central Nebraska Public Power District and the Nebraska Public Power District. After reviewing the testimony provided, CPNRD and NeDNR concluded that amendments to the proposed plans were not necessary.

-Joint Defense Agreement  The board approved a Joint Defense and Common Interest Agreement with the Lower Loup NRD and Loup Public Power District.

-Emergency Rip Rap Installation  The board approved a contract with Hookers Bros. Construction in the amount of $36,000 to install 300 tons of rip rap at the Silver Creek drop structure located near the bridge on Schauppsville Road on the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Flood Risk Reduction Project. The damage occurred during the March flood.

-Administration Agreement  The board approved an administrative interlocal agreement with Upper Big Blue NRD to share salary costs of NRCS District secretaries in Polk and Hamilton counties.

-Managers Report  Lyndon Vogt, general manager, gave brief updates on the following:
-A hearing by the House was held on June 28th in Lincoln regarding the transfer of excess water from the Platte River to the Republican River. No decision has been made at this time.
-With funding from the Water Sustainability Funds, the Central Platte NRD held a drought tournament in July for the NRD’s Drought Mitigation planning.
-The NRD has received four proposals regarding best uses for property purchased in Dawson County last year. Vogt said the proposals will be provided to the board to review for the August board meeting.
-The hearing on the 13-year extension of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Plan was held on July 25th.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Joe Krolikowski, district liaison, introduced two new Resource Conservationists, Nicole Olsen and Lara Schenck. Olsen began her employment in the Central City field office in February. Schneck started her employment in the Grand Island field office in January.

-Cost-Share  23 applications through the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs were approved in the amount of $90,780.53. Practices approved include planned grazing, underground pipe to pivot, range seeding, brush management, windbreak renovation, grazing deferment, center pivot incentive, flow meters, and well decommissioning.

-August Board Meeting  The Board will meet at 2:00 p.m. on August 29, 2019, (a week later than scheduled) to accommodate the budget schedule. A levy hearing will be held at 1:45 p.m. just prior to the board of directors’ meeting.

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