April 23 Board Meeting

Central Platte NRD Selects College Scholarships Recipients

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- The Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) board of directors selected five recipients for the Ron Bishop-CPNRD College Scholarship Program at their meeting held via conference on Thursday.  The students selected are Amanda Fay of Grand Island, Jason Line of Miller, Myles Mendell of Gothenburg, Klint Gill of Cozad, and Joshua Wiese of Shelton.  The students were selected based on their natural resources major and will receive $1,000 scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Other Action/Reports

-Nitrogen Management Reports The board approved issuing 92 cease and desist orders to producers who are in violation of the CPNRD’s Rules and Regulations for failure to submit their 2020 Nitrogen management forms and/or Nitrogen management tests. Irrigators in Phases II/III of the NRD’s Groundwater Quality Management Program are required to submit annual reports online at cpnrd.gisworkshop.com by March 31st annually.  The reports are required prior to the irrigation season to allow producers to utilize UNL’s recommended nitrogen application rate; which is calculated as the producers fill out the forms for each of their fields. The cease and desist will be violated if the producer irrigates.

Penalties for violation are potential fines ranging from $1,000 – $5,000 per violation and/or loss of irrigated acres, ineligibility for NRD cost-share, and restriction from transferring irrigated acres.  For more information about the crop reporting form or the Groundwater Quality Management Program, visit cpnrd.org or contact Tricia Dudley at (308) 385-6282 or dudley@cpnrd.org.

-Watershed & Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) NRCS has approved a grant application for 100% of the cost for completing a watershed and flood prevention operations plan.  Joe Krolikowski, NRCS district conservationist, provided a report that stated the performance period of the two agreements runs from now until April of 2022. Allen Gehring, NRCS state engineer, will be the Government Representative for these projects.

    -Wood River Watershed  The board selected a joint proposal from JEO and EA Consultants to develop a WFPO to address flooding in the Wood River Watershed.  The Watershed Work Plan-Environmental Assessment for the Lower Wood River Watershed Improvement Project will include portions of Buffalo, Hall, and Merrick counties.

   -Buffalo/Spring Creek  The board selected HDR Engineering to develop a WFPO to address flooding in the Buffalo Creek/Spring Creek Watershed.  The Watershed Work Plan-Environmental Assessment for the Spring and Buffalo Creek Watershed Improvement Project is in Dawson County.

   -Turkey/Elm Creek  Lyndon Vogt, general manager, provided a report on the application for the Turkey/Elm Creek Watershed WFPO grant. NRCS will announce by the end of May if CPNRD is successful in securing funds to start developing the Environmental Assessment, which is the first step in addressing flood concerns.

– Regional Conservation Partnership Project  Vogt also reported that The Nature Conservancy (TNC) applied for $4.4 million in Regional Conservation Partnership Project (RCPP) funding, in collaboration with NRCS, CPNRD and Upper Big Blue NRD. It was announced this week that the application was approved. This five-year grant will provide farmers in the two NRDs with technical and financial assistance as they adopt soil health practices on an estimated 100,000 acres. Eligible producers will have the option of implementing three soil health practices: cover crops, reduced tillage, and diversified crop rotation. Ultimately, the program would connect farmers with private sector payments for soil health practice adoption.

-Preliminary Budgets  The preliminary fiscal 2021 budgets for Eastern Projects, Western Projects, cost-share, and information/education programs were reviewed at their respective committee meetings throughout the week and will be reviewed by the Budget Committee.  A draft water budget was provided to the directors to review for next month.

-TAPS Program  Chuck Burr, UNL, provided a written report on the Testing Agriculture Performance Solutions (TAPS) results from the 2019 farm management competency competitions.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Mike Pavel, Kearney field office, provided the following reports:  Pam Bergstrom was hired in February 2020 as the National Wild Turkey Federation Forester. Pam will serve a multi-county area in central and south-central Nebraska.

  -Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)  Flooding from last year’s bomb cyclone and July storms resulted in 68 applications for field reviews. Both were deemed 500-year events (0.2% chance).

   -Conservation Stewardship Program (CStwP) Seven renewals are in progress with four extended from 5 to 6-year contracts.

   -Grassland Conservation Initiative  Two contracts for 2020 and 8 for 2019. This program is an FSA farm/tract with grass but have cropping history and base acres. Contracts are written to the base acres and pay $18/base acre for 5 years.

   -Environment Quality Incentives Program  49 new applications to assess and rank this spring.

-Cost-Share Seven applications through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs were approved for center pivot incentive, grazing deferment, capacitance probes, streambank stabilization, prescribed burn, and well decommissioning in the amount of $16,354.74.

-Upcoming Events
– Board of Directors Meetings: May 28, June 25, July 23.