June 25 Board Meeting

Spring Groundwater Levels Continue to Increase in the Central Platte NRD

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- On Thursday, Luke Zakrzewski, GIS image analyst, reported to the Central Platte Natural Resources District board that the average spring groundwater levels across the District had an accumulated gain of 3.29 feet from spring 1982 to spring 2020. Groundwater levels are averaged from the 413 observation and irrigation wells that NRD staff read annually from mid-April to mid-June; which consists of one well per every three miles. Additional observation wells will be installed this fall.

A majority of the NRD’s 24 Ground Water Management Areas (GWMAs) saw increases because of above-average precipitation during 2019 that continued through this spring.  Last year’s groundwater levels were also up 2.08 feet compared to 1982 because of the above-normal precipitation.

A comparison of the 1982 levels were established as the standard for Central Platte’s Groundwater Management Plan with maximum acceptable declines and a margin of safety calculated for each of the District’s 24 Ground Water Management Areas (GWMAs).

Six of the 24 GWMAs are currently below the 1982 groundwater levels and subject to the 25% decline regulation that does not allow transfers of irrigated acres into the areas or supplemental wells. In 2012, the NRD’s Rules and Regulations began requiring the areas to stay in suspension for five years to lessen additional declines. If the water table would fall to 50% of the maximum decline, Phase II would go into effect requiring mandatory reductions in irrigated acres.

For details on specific areas contact Luke Zakrzewski at (308) 385-6282 or luke@cpnrd.org.


-2021 Budget  The board approved the 2021 Fiscal budget of expenditures for public hearing; which will be held at 1:45 p.m. on July 23, 2020, the same day as the July board meeting. Lyndon Vogt, general manager, said the major expenditures in the proposed budget are $4.5 million to meet future Integrated Management Plan compliance, and $2.1 million in WFPO grants to complete watershed assessments. Vogt said the tax asking is expected to be $100,000 less than the 2020 fiscal budget.

-Bids for Berm/Access Road  The board selected Blessing LLC of Kearney to construct an earthen berm and crushed concrete access road around portions of the detention cell on the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Risk Reduction Project in the amount of $138,575. Improvements will include 850 cubic yards of dirt work and 2,600 tons of crushed concrete base and white limestone. Bids were also received by Meyers Construction, Van Kirk Bros, and Ramos Bros Construction with Blessing LLC submitting the low bid. This construction component is scheduled to be completed by late fall.

-Managers Report  Lyndon Vogt, general manager, gave the following updates to the board.

  • Nine of the 94 producers issued cease and desist orders remain out of compliance with the Groundwater Quality Management Program. Acres associated with producers will be inspected on a regular basis to determine if they are irrigating this year. The minimum fine for irrigating out-of-compliance is $1,000 per day.
  • The Nebraska Association of Resources District’s (NARD) office in Lincoln was burned and looted during the riots near the Capitol. Vogt is serving on the committee to assist NARD in finding a new office location in Lincoln because the building rented by NARD and several other tenants was totaled.
  • CPNRD was notified that the Watershed Flood Prevention & Operations (WFPO) grant application to complete a watershed assessment of Elm & Turkey Creek watersheds was approved by NRCS. This is the first step in identifying flood resilience projects for the watersheds.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Joe Krolikowski, district liaison, reported that the NRCS field offices in Grand Island, Central City, Kearney and Lexington are currently at the Phase 1 reopening stage. Nicole Olsen, resource conservationist, provided the following report for the Central City field office:

  • 63 EQIP applications were received for 2020. Special funding through the Source Water Protection fund pool prioritized ground in wellhead protection and Phase II or higher areas. Water quality improvement practices such as cover crops, irrigation water management, gravity to pivot or SDI conversion, and nutrient management were eligible and received special higher cost-share rates. Nine applications pre-approved in this pool, the majority being gravity to center pivot conversions.
  • 18 CSP applications were received for 2020. A new workload prioritization tool was used to target applications that offered the greatest conservation benefits. Six applications were determined to meet the criteria and will be ranked in the first round of funding. The remaining applications will be ranked if funding is available after the initial round.

-Cost-Share  Four applications were approved for flow meters, capacitance probes, well decommissioning and soil moisture sensors through the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs in the amount of $6,050.00.

-New Staff  Brody Vorderstrasse was hired as the new joint Communications Assistant for Central Platte NRD, NRCS, and the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture.  Originally from Glenvil, Nebraska, Brody grew up participating in 4-H and hunting.  He graduated from UNL in 2017 with a degree in Fisheries & Wildlife and a minor in Animal Science.  He was employed with Midwest Whitetail and The Hunting Public online hunting shows as a videographer, produced podcasts, social media content, and edited video blogs.