Sept. 26 Board Action

Central Platte NRD Board Supports Platte Valley Industrial Park Request

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- On Thursday, the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors approved a request from the City of Grand Island and the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation to allow water to be diverted into the south side channel of the Wood River Flood Reduction Project. The request was made to determine a plan to alleviate drainage issues between South Locust Street and Highway 281.

OTHER BOARD ACTION

-Drop Structure Repair  The board approved a contract with JEO Consulting Group in the amount of $43,500 to survey, design, permit, and construct a new drop structure on the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Creek Flood Reduction Project to protect the streambed of Silver Creek upstream of the detention cell.  The new control structure will be built to replace a concrete structure that failed during the March flood event and will consist of a sheet pile weir with grouted riprap plunge pool. The streambank will be strategically regraded and protected with riprap in eroded areas, estimated at 1,000 linear feet of the streambank. If left unprotected, a headcut will spread upstream, threatening Schauppsville Road, farm ground, and other infrastructure.  CPNRD applied for cost-share for the repair through the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

-Managers Report  Lyndon Vogt, general manager, gave the following updates:

– Oct. 24, 2019: Katie Ringland, Floodplain Management Section Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, will present buyout options and requirements in flood-prone areas.

– Oct. 3, 2019: Senator Smith is hosting an Infrastructure Event in the Student Union at Hastings College.

– Vogt said the NRD should receive notification within the next two weeks on the two grant applications submitted through the NRCS Watershed Flood Protection Program to reduce flooding and erosion damage for the Wood River and Spring/Buffalo Creek areas.

– The board was provided a quarterly report from Water Strategies LLC. Vogt reported that on September 12, 2019, the 2015 rule defining the Waters of the United States (WOTUS Rule) was repealed. This action completes the first step to repeal and replace the 2015 Rule defining WOTUS. Vogt said as the result of the repeal, the 2008 definition of what constitutes a water of the U.S will be in place until a new rule is promulgated. The Administration is planning to replace the rule by the end of the year. The rule, as proposed, would reduce the number of waterways under federal protection.

-Variance Request  The board approved an appeal from a Buffalo County landowner.

-Platte River Program  Mark Czaplewski, biologist, updated the board on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program. The Program’s Governance Committee September meeting included an update of the process to extend the Program’s First Increment.  All the basin states governors, house representatives, and senators (except for Sen. Sasse) are in support of a second increment, and the proposed extension is going through the federal legislative process.  Wyoming Republican Senator Barrasso and Colorado Democratic Representative Neguse have introduced authorization bills that have already gone through hearings.  These two stand-alone bills may be attached to other legislation if it helps with working its way through the federal process; with the hope that the legislation is passed this year.  The Program signatories (which includes the basin states Governors and the Secretary of the Interior) are also working to execute another Program Agreement document.

Czaplewski also reported that the Water Service Agreements with Central Platte NRD, NPPD, and Central NPP&ID were approved. The Agreements are similar in their term and payment rates for recharge water.  CPNRD’s agreement for groundwater recharge runs through the end of 2024 and starts with a 2020 price per acre-foot of water of $32.87 and escalates at 3% per year with a cap of 5,000 acre-feet.

Kent Miller, Twin-Platte NRD general manager, was re-elected for a three-year appointment to the Governance Committee at the Platte River Basin meeting at the NARD fall conference.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Joe Krolikowski, district liaison, provided a summary (below) of the FY 2019 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) activities in the CPNRD field offices:
Central City –114 contracts -$640,274 including 22,832.7 acres
Grand Island –35 contracts -$313,969.59 including 3,946.8 acres
Kearney –15 contracts -$375,729.89 including 3,956.4 acres
Lexington –34 contracts -$816,820.05 including 8,660.6 acres
Program Funding
* Water Conservation: $1,080,287.53 (43 contracts/4,383.6 acres)
* Grazing Lands: $164,253 (9 contracts/3,026.8 acres)
* Soil Health: $823,329 (144 contracts/30,727.9 acres)
* Forestry: $61,696 (2 contracts/1,204.4 acres)

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin representative, reported that he and Mark Czaplewski were selected to the scoring committee for Water Sustainability Fund applications.

-Cost-Share  One application in the amount of $500 for cover crops was approved through the Central Platte NRD cost-share program.

-Service Recognition   Sandy Noecker, data and compliance officer, received recognition for 40 years of service. Noecker began her employment as the NRD’s receptionist in 1979 and held several positions at the NRD over the last four decades. Noecker checked well registrations, created maps for various projects, developed database programs for staff, assisted with software and equipment, maintained records for the Chemigation Program and submits required reports, and helped Dawson County Irrigation Districts with their appropriation changes and updates.

Noecker said the accomplishment that she’s most proud of is the NRD’s Groundwater Quality Management Program since the management program has been a model for other NRDs in the state and entities nationwide who are looking to address water quality problems in their areas.

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