September Board Meeting

Central Platte NRD Selects JEO to Develop
Elm/Turkey Creek Watershed Environmental Assessment

(GRAND ISLAND, NE)-  The Central Platte Natural Resources District selected JEO Consulting Group to develop a Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Plan (WFPO)-Environmental Assessment to address flooding in the Elm and Turkey Creek Watershed at the board meeting on Thursday.

JEO’s Plan approach will use a detailed hydrology and hydraulic model complemented with data from the Nebraska Department of Transportation studies, existing topographic surveys, field site visits, public input and 2019 flood event flow input. The model will illustrate anticipated inundation areas from various events, reductions from alternatives, and project screening.


-Water Quality Committee  Chuck Maser, Director, reported that four of the five producers who were issued cease and desist orders in May remain out of compliance with the Groundwater Quality Management Program including Bernard Katzberg, Mike Munsterman, William Soll, and Richard Urban. Katzberg, Urban, and Artie Moller violated the cease and desist order with possible fines to be imposed through the District court process. Artie Moeller provided the required reports after the legal process had begun.

-New Employees  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported that Elison Wagner, Columbus, was hired as the CPNRD/NRCS/Rain Water Basin Joint Venture (RWBVJ) habitat specialist. Through an agreement with the Nebraska Community Foundation and the RWBJV, the Central Platte NRD will be reimbursed quarterly for the two-year position. Jackie Luebbe was hired as CPNRD/NRCS secretary in the Grand Island office. Both employees will work at the USDA-NRCS Service Center in Grand Island, NE.

-ArcGIS   Jesse Mintken, Assistant Manager, presented information on the ArcGIS Solutions Platform used by field staff for collecting, analyzing, and managing data collected in the field.  Progress maps are used for nitrate sampling, chemigation, and static water levels.

-Long Range Implementation Plan  The board approved the 2020-2025 Long Range Implementation Plan (LRIP) as presented by Marcia Lee, Information/Education Specialist. The LRIP summarizes district activities for five years and is updated annually as required under the Nebraska Natural Resources District Act.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Mike Pavel, Resources Conservationist, provided a written report for the Kearney field office. Pavel reported on two new employees: Dalton Bender, Soil Conservationist Technician, and intern Jaden Russell, who will complete his education and receive training through December. Pavel also reported on applications in CPNRD for the following programs:

-Emergency Conservation Program: FSA program to aid producers following the bomb cyclone in 2019. Four applications have work completed to pre-storm condition with 51 to be completed and inspected by early winter. A permitted dam near Odessa requires NRCS engineers to assist with construction and inspection; NRCS is waiting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine if a permit is required.

-Conservation Stewardship Program (CStwP)  14 contracts and five renewal applications for 2021 to be obligated by December 31, 2020. The CSP Grassland Conservation Initiative has 11 contracts.

-Environment Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)  16 new contracts were funded this year. Practices included high tunnels, cedar/brush management, gravity to SDI/pivots, advanced soil moisture sensors, and wildlife plantings.

-Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)  7 contracts are expected to be approved this month. Field checks will be conducted on expiring 2021 and 2022 contracts this fall for possible re-enrollments. Reviews were conducted on 15 contracts to determine eligibility for haying or grazing.

-Highly Erodible Land  Staff conducted 30 compliance reviews with 10 variances to treat ephemeral erosion issues.

Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, provided a summary on EQIP contracts for the entire district:
-Water Conservation: $2,122,665 (41 contracts/6,422.5 acres)
-Grazing Lands: $101,537 (7 contracts/2,006.8 acres)
-Soil Health: $3,595 (1 contracts/151.1 acres)
-Forestry:  $35,112 (1 contracts/58.5 acres)

Summary by Field Offices in CPNRD
Central City:  10 contracts   $775,800  –  1,264.5 acres
Grand Island:  8 contracts  $83,153  –  1,063.2 acres
Kearney:  16 contracts   $257,800  –  1,714.8 acres
Lexington:  20 contracts   $1,337,102  –  6,075.9 acres
Total all counties = 54 contracts   $2,453,854.70  –  10,118.4 acres

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin Representative, reported that five small applications and two large applications for funding through the Water Sustainability Fund will be scored in October.

-Cost-Share  Four applications were approved through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs in the amount of $9,125.00 for well decommissioning and burn preparation practices.

-Upcoming Board Meetings:  October 22, November 19, December 17.