Jan 23 Board Action

VanMatre and Ostermeier Elected as CPNRD Secretary & Treasurer

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)-  The Central Platte Natural Resources District board of directors elected Deb VanMatre (Gibbon) for board secretary and Keith Ostermeier (Grand Island) for board treasurer at their meeting on Thursday. Officers may serve two, two-year terms. VanMatre has served one term as secretary and Keith Ostermeier took the seat held by Chuck Maser who had served two full terms as treasurer and was not eligible for re-election.

Other Board Agenda Items

-Violation Reports  Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst, reported that 12 landowners/producers irrigated land that isn’t certified or approved for irrigation through a transfer in 2019. Zakrzewski said the number of violations has continued to drop each year. Violation letters will be mailed next week notifying violators that they must contact the CPNRD by February 27th to resolve the violations. If the land continues to be irrigated without certifying the acres in question, a cease and desist order will be issued and violators could face action in District Court.

Tricia Dudley, water quality programs assistant, reported that 10 producers who received cease and desist orders in December had not resolved their violations for failure to submit their 2019 Nitrogen Management forms and/or tests. CPNRD legal counsel will contact the following individuals about potential penalties: Andrew Blessin, Kenesaw; William/Hazel Johnston, Vacaville CA; John Kearney, Overton; Mike Munsterman, Glenville; Jeff Perry, Shelby; Donald Santin Jr, Fullerton; William Soll, Columbus; Tim Sullivan, Lincoln; Richard Urban, Silver Creek; Quincy Week, Kearney.

Irrigated acres under a cease and desist order cannot be irrigated until they are in compliance with the District’s Groundwater Management Program. The forms are due March 31st each year.  Potential penalties for violation arel fines of $1,000 – $5,000 per violation and/or a loss of irrigated acres, ineligibility for NRD cost-share, and restriction from transferring irrigated acres.

-Appeal Approved  The board approved an appeal for an acre-for-acre transfer of certified irrigated acres that utilize the same well and has the same landowner on one section to the neighboring section.  The land is currently split by the Howard/Merrick county boundary and in two different Ground Water Management Areas.  The well and original well registration show both parcels were irrigated with underground pipe from the same well.  The appeal was approved with the conditions that the well stays in Ground Water Management Area 13 under the same ownership; and if sub-area 16 or 13 are in decline, a supplemental well is restricted from irrigating the acres.

-Certificate of Authority  The board approved a Certificate of Authority with Five Points Bank naming Keith Ostermeier as treasurer and allowing Kelly Cole to be authorized as a signee for the District.

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

* Groundwater Management Districts Association – Nebraska hosted the GMDA conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Vogt reported that the conference had several interesting presentations and that it was well-attended. Six CPNRD directors and two staff attended.

* Flood Prevention Grants – CPNRD was selected to receive $1.35 million through NRCS’s Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program to identify what is needed to address flooding within the Spring/Buffalo Creek Watershed and the Lower Wood River Watershed. Vogt said the grants are expected to be signed in late February, allowing the NRD to move into the two-year planning phase of the projects.

* Hazard Mitigation Plan – FEMA approved CPNRD’s grant application for funding to update the Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. CPNRD sponsored the initial plan in 2010 and the 2017 update. The FEMA grants enable communities within the District to take action to implement mitigation projects that reduce threats from natural disasters.

* Communications Assistant – CPNRD is seeking a Communications Assistant for the CPNRD office in Grand Island, NE. This is a 1-year position with opportunity for extension. Duties include communications and education support for the CPNRD, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rainwater Basin Joint Venture. Competitive salary and benefits package. A full job description can be found at cpnrd.org/employment. Email resume to: vogt@cpnrd.org by February 14, 2020.

* Legislative Conference – Board and staff will be attending the Nebraska Association of Resources District’s Legislative Conference next week. The conference allows the districts to discuss and vote on recommendations for natural resources bills and to meet with senators.  Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported on the following bills in this session:
LB 904 – Provide for use of Water Sustainability Fund for sustainable use of water in food production and transfer General Funds (Bolz)
LB 148 – Change requirements for public hearings on proposed budget statements and notices of meetings of public bodies (Groene)
LB 1003 – Provide annexation powers to cities of the second class and villages for relocation due to catastrophic flooding (Walz)
LB 1008 – Provide, change, and eliminate provisions relating to appropriations including the Dept. of Natural Resources (NeDNR) and  Game & Parks Commission, (Speaker Scheer, at request of Governor)
LB 1009 – Provide transfer of $175,000 from Water Sustainability Fund to NeDNR Cash Fund for the studies outlined in LB 1008 for FY 2019-20 & an additional transfer of $425,000 for studies outlined in LB 1008 for FY 2020-21. The bill also modifies Critical Infrastructure Facilities Cash Fund to provide $3.8 million to assist with repairing the underground tunnel on Fort Laramie Canal which collapsed in July of 2019. (Speaker Scheer, at request of Governor)
LB 1010 — Proposes transfers from Cash Reserve Fund for general fund appropriations including $62.4 million to the Governor’s Emergency Cash Fund to assist with damages for the flooding events in 2019. (Speaker Scheer, at request of Governor)
LB 1026 – To appropriate funds to the University of Nebraska – Daughtery Water for Food Institute (Bolz)

-Cost-Share The board approved five cost-share applications in the amount of $13,117.50 through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs for capacitance probes, burn preparation and well decommissioning.

-Primary Election  The incumbent filing deadline is February 18th, the non-incumbent deadline is March 2nd.

-Upcoming Events
– CPNRD Water Programs Update  The public is encouraged to attend the Water Programs Update on
February 12th from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Dawson County Extension in Lexington, NE.
RSVP for lunch count by Feb. 5th at (308) 385-6282
   – Board of Directors Meetings:  February 27, March 26, April 23.