Board Meeting Information for Media
NOTE: Below are the news releases sent to local media the day after our board of directors meetings. Click for the official meeting minutes for 2012.
(GRAND ISLAND, NE) The board approved a motion to hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to the “2 & 10” irrigation rule at 1:00 p.m. on June 27, 2013 at the NRD office. The proposed changes state the requirements and options available to preserve certification for irrigated land within the District. The proposed changes are available on the NRD website and at the NRD office.
The board also approved including funding in the budget for five years for the new Water Pumped Database that was approved in March. The database will be used to compute water pumped and water consumed by month/by year across the Central Platte NRD. The program is the first of its kind in the NRD system in Nebraska. Telemetry flow meters will provide pumpage data that will be collected daily to help define the variation in use throughout the irrigation season and allow the NRD to look at irrigation efficiency by irrigation method (center pivot, furrow irrigation, or drip irrigation.) The pilot program will send data directly to the NRD and allow producers an advanced measurement tool.
The five-year program includes meters at two locations in each management district, which would be 48 wells across the NRD. At least ten meters will be installed per year in the amount of $61,000. The equipment includes an 8” saddle mount micrometer flow meter, marathon bearings, a cellular-based automated meter reading and a transmitter. Woodward said the information will be valuable for evapotranspiration, irrigation data, fully/overappropriated data and justification for current model data.
COMMITTEE REPORTS & OTHER ACTION:
-Programs Committee- The committee approved grazing deferment and drain tiles as two new cost share programs of which will be considered as part of the NRD’s 2014 fiscal budget next month. Alicia Haussler, director, also reported that the 25th Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival was a success. The festival is the model for festivals held across the state, in 40 other states and in other countries. Kelly Cole and Marcia Lee, CPNRD staff, coordinate the statewide event.
-Budget Committee- The committee reviewed the proposed budgets for Fiscal 2014. In June, the budget will be approved or amended and approved for the purpose of holding a public hearing. In July, a public hearing will be held and the board will take action on the budget.
-NRCS Report- James Huntwork, district liaison, invited board and staff to participate in the CPNRD Local Working Group Meeting (LWG) for the FY 2014 Program Year to provide recommendations to the District Conservationist and State Conservationist on local natural resource priorities and criteria for conservation activities and programs. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in Grand Island, NE at the CPNRD office from 9:30 a.m.-noon and is open to the public.
-UNL Request- Professor Charles Wortman, UNL, requested $10,000 in financial assistance for an N-loss Program. The University is proposing to develop a tool that would provide producers the mean losses to leaching, volatization, denitrication and N2O emission. The tool would be available to all producers free of charge. The board will take action on the request in June.
-Canals- Ron Bishop, general manager, reported on the following:
-Southside (Orchard Alfalfa) Canal- rehabilitation is just getting underway.
-Thirty Mile Canal- structures are in place, however, clearing is far from done. The Thirty Mile Canal Company is presenting a petition to the Dawson County Court on June 20, 2013, to become an irrigation district. Bishop visited a landowner’s site who claimed damage to his property regarding tree debris in the amount of $10,000. Bishop made an agreement with the landowner to have the contractor remove and restore the area by January 1, 2014.
-Cozad Canal- Rehab is at least 50% complete. A Change Order Request was approved by the board in the amount of $46,477.30 for Phase II to include drainage pipes that were not in the original contract.
-Cooperative Program- David Carr, range management specialist, presented information on a new cooperative program with the Nebraska Forest Service. The board approved in-kind labor (non-cash) in the amount of $15,000 for a three-year project to promote the marketability of cedar products in Nebraska. The NRD will provide assistance with workshops to demonstrate new technology and equipment available for cedar removal.
-Legislation- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the two major bills discussed last month have not advanced. LB 517, the Water Sustainability Task Force has not been voted on yet, but could still be before the session ends on June 5th. LB 522, the financial assistance for Republican Basin irrigation districts, will likely be carried over to the next Legislative session.
Ed Kyes, chairman, presented two Resolutions adopted by the Unicameral that express the accomplishments and successes that Ron Bishop and Milt Moravek have each made in the last 45+ years for natural resources management. Bishop and Moravek will receive the formal Resolutions before their retirements on June 28, 2013.
-COHYST- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the NDNR and consulting firms are finalizing documentation of the COHYST model. Woodward also reported that staff just finished measuring wells throughout the District and initial average levels show a decline of 3.6 feet from May 2012 to May 2013. A more detailed report with maps will be provided at the June board meeting.
-Cost Share- The board approved 10 applications for cost share. Applications approved included: 1 soil moisture sensor and 9 well decommissionings. The applications requests total $9,250.00.
(GRAND ISLAND, NE): The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors are very concerned about LB 522, saying the legislation will set a dangerous precedent to compensate water users in the future and jeopardizes a variety of on-going water management projects in the Platte River Basin.The Bill would provide compensation to Republican River Basin surface water projects for loss of water due to the Republic River Compact. It was recently advanced to Select File after the adoption of Amendment 701.
CPNRD board members plan to contact local senators and officials to express their concerns that paying compensation to a select group of irrigation districts who have not been deprived of their property rights will be seen as unfair by those who do not receive payment and will invite litigation for similar compensation in the future. The CPNRD has formal contracts with the Department of Natural Resources and would be left “holding the bag” for remaining costs if the funding is taken out from under the District. The projects are integral to providing offset water for the Platte River required by the CPNRD Integrated Management Plan and the State Basinwide Plan.
OTHER BOARD ACTION:
-Programs Committee- The board approved a grant request in the amount of $1,500 for Doniphan-Trumbull Elementary School to implement a Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom. The goals of the project are to improve academic performance, encourage environmental conservation and develop social responsibility. The students will also grow fruits and vegetables and eat their own produce.
-Water Resources Committee- The committee discussed the changes to the “2 & 10” irrigation rule and worked on the proposed 2014 Fiscal budget for Water Resources. Discussion on both items will continue in May.
-Irrigation Canals- The following action was taken:
a. Thirty Mile Phase IV Bids- The board awarded the construction contract to Midlands Contracting of Kearney for $1.5 million; which will complete the lower portion of the channel rehabilitation. The other bid received was from Simons Contractors in the amount of $1.9 million.
b. Cozad Canal- The board approved a Change Order Request for Simons Contractors on Phase III in the amount of $176,600; and Contract Amendment 7 for the Platte River Diversion improvements on channel/head gates.
c. Southside Canal (Orchard Alfalfa)- The board approved Contract Amendment 3 for the Platte River Diversion and Recharge Basin for Olsson Associates.
-Prescribed Fire- David Carr, range management specialist, presented information on a potential large-scale improvement project in Dawson County. The proposed project would burn 348,281 feet of cedar-infested land over a three-year period. Carr plans to apply for grants from other agencies to complete the project. The Central Platte NRD is considering implementing a cost share program that would provide payment for deferred grazing so landowners would not have a complete loss of income from setting the land aside for one year, which is one reason that landowners currently can’t afford to burn the voluntary cedars. The project implementation may start as early as 2014.
-COHYST- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that technical committee for the Cooperative Hydrology Study will complete model calibration on the three models in June and prepare a contract for outside peer review. The committee has been integrating the Watershed Model (CROPSIM), the Surface Water Model (STELLA) and the Groundwater Model (MODFLOW) to simulate the hydrologic cycle. The simulation compares water budget fluxes to data-derived calibration targets. Woodward said after the peer review, the models will be ready to start using for water management decisions for projects like the percentage depletion maps, Conjunctive Management Study, and to determine the real effects of operating irrigation canals.
-Cost Share- The board approved 4 applications for cost share. Applications approved include: 1 center pivot incentive, 2 tree plantings and 1 well decommissioning. The applications requests total $11,900.40.
-Upcoming Events- The NRD will host the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival on Tuesday, May 7th at the Central Community College & College Park. Board of Directors meetings will be held: May 23, June 27, July 25 and August 29. A Retirement Open House will be held on Friday, June 28 for general manager Ron Bishop and assistant manager Milt Moravek; a Retirement Dinner will be held on Saturday, June 29.--END--
The Central Platte NRD board of directors and staff were introduced to Lyndon Vogt, the newly hired general manager to replace Ron Bishop in June. Vogt is currently manager of the Upper Niobrara White NRD in Chadron and was previously general manager of the Lower Niobrara NRD. He has a bachelor of science in agricultural- business/management technology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and an associate of applied science in agriculture with an emphasis in diversified farm/ranch management. Vogt addressed the board of directors saying, “Looking in from the outside, it’s (Central Platte) is an interesting District and I’m excited to get started.”
Retirements- Ron Bishop and assistant manager Milt Moravek will retire at the end of June. An Open House celebration is scheduled from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 28 at the NRD office, and a Retirement Party is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 at the Peace Lutheran Church in Grand Island.
-New Water Database- The board approved a new Water Pumped Database that can be used to compute water pumped and water consumed by month/by year across the Central Platte NRD. The program will be the first of its kind in the NRD system in Nebraska. Duane Woodward, hydrologist, presented information on using telemetry flow meters for pumpage data that will be collected daily to help define the variation in use throughout the irrigation season and allow the NRD to look at irrigation efficiency by irrigation method (center pivot, furrow irrigation, or drip irrigation.) Dean Krull, UNL/CPNRD Demo Coordinator, will contact producers who may be interested in this pilot program using new telemetry flow meters that will send data directly to the NRD and allow producers an advanced measurement tool.
Woodward said long-term, he would like to see meters at two locations in each management district, which would be 48 wells across the NRD. Ten meters will be installed per year in the amount of $61,000. The equipment includes an 8” saddle mount micrometer flow meter, marathon bearings, a cellular-based automated meter reading and a transmitter. Woodward said the information will be valuable for evapotranspiration, irrigation data, fully/overappropriated data and justification for current model data. The program is also a positive step to ensuring that flow meters would not be required district-wide in the future.
-Programs Committee- The committee discussed and made recommendations to the board on:
A) Johnson Lake- The board approved a different seed mix and increased the maximum funding to $1,750 to seed a portion of the hike & bike trail along the Lake. The funds will be taken
from the Western Projects Committee budget.
B) Program Changes- The board approved a policy regarding the Soil Moisture Sensor program to allow sensors to be moved from one field to another, changing the previous requirement
that the sensor was required to stay within the same field for three years. Two changes were approved for the Well Decommissioning Program. This change is effective immediately. The
District will no longer provide cost share for replacement wells, only hand dug wells. The cost share for hand dug wells was increased to 60% cost share up to $1,500 per application.
These changes take place effective July 1, 2013.
Bob Schanou, Programs chairman, said the committee also discussed new cost share programs for drain tiles and deferred grazing. The committee will continue to work on those
items and the FY 2014 Budget in the upcoming months.
C) College Scholarships- The board approved 10 applications for the NRD’s College Scholarship Program. Each of the following students majoring in a natural resources career will receive
$1,000 for the 2013-2014 school year: Julia Burchell, Kearney; Allison Dush, St. Libory; Amanda Hefner, Archer; Mitchel Herbig, Central City; Alec Ibach, Sumner; Travis Line, Miller;
Elizabeth Lutz, Grand Island; Issac Richter, Kearney; Jonathon Royle, Central City; Tyler Tomasek, Hordvillle.
-Eastern & Western Projects Committees- The committees reviewed their proposed 2014 FY Budget requests, which will be advanced to the Budget Committee. The Western Projects recommended and the board approved a motion to start taking water into B-1 Reservoir (near Lexington), every year and to get it back to its original concept. The NRD will receive 4,000 acre/feet of water per year from NPPD to fill the reservoir. In 1987, the reservoir was stocked and opened for fishing; however, in 1995 local landowners presented a petition requesting that the NRD discontinue filling the reservoir because they were concerned that it was contributing to high water tables in Dawson County. Hydrological studies since then have determined that the project made no significant contribution to high water tables.
-NRCS Report- James Huntwork, district liaison, reported that Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff continues work on the process of obligating FY 2013 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts in accordance with available program funding and associated application ranking scores. Following is a summary of applications approved, the obligated fund total, and application treatment acres for each NRCS Field Office in the CPNRD.
-County Assessor Request- The board approved a request for financial assistance to establish a GIS database in Dawson County. The County plans to have GIS Workshop develop their program to match other counties. The technology will provide the NRD access to records for irrigated acres.
-Cozad Canal- The board approved a contract amendment in the amount of $106,400 for Phase III of the Cozad Canal Rehabilitation for design and bidding services of the diversion structure. The proposed improvements by Olsson Associates are a continuation of the Design Services provided in the original contract, pending purchase of the land for the basin that will be used primarily for excess flows above and beyond what the canal would be able to hold.
-2 out of 10 Rule- The board approved a modification of the “2 out of 10” rule (6.6.4-6.6.6) for the Groundwater Management Program. The rule allows landowners who have not irrigated the required 2 years from 2010-2020 to have the option to transfer their water rights to the NRD to be used to enhance river flows for a period of 5 to 30 years without cost to maintain their certification status. The modification will take place after the NRD holds a public hearing regarding the Rules and Regulations. No date has been set for the public hearing.
-Legislation- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the 90-day session is half over and the committee hearings are finished. March 15th was the last day to designate priority bills and several senators selected priority bills that are of interest to the NRD. Czaplewski gave updates on LB 78, LB 272, LB 517 and LB 522.
-Cost Share- The board approved 16 applications for cost share. Applications approved include: 1 streambank stabilization, 2 soil moisture sensors, 4 tree plantings and 9 well decommissionings. The applications requests total $18,400.95.
-Upcoming Meetings- April 25, May 23, June 27, July 25, August 29, September 26
(GRAND ISLAND, NE): After going into Executive Session, the Search Committee announced Lyndon Vogt of Chadron as their recommendation for the District’s general manager position. Ron Bishop, current general manager, will be retiring on June 30, 2013. The board took action to accept the recommendation to offer Vogt a three-year contract. Vogt is currently the general manager of the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District. A complete bio will be sent out after the position has been officially accepted.
-NRCS Report- James Huntwork, district liaison, reported that the local NRCS offices are working through applications received for the FY 2013 Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Information on the number of requests per office were distributed. There are requests in the amount of $10.5 million; and the starting allocation for CPNRD is $455,214. Huntwork said the CPNRD typically receives funding that other NRDs aren’t able to use to help fund more than the starting allocation.
-Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- Two appeals from Hall and Dawson counties were approved; while two appeals from Merrick and Custer counties were denied for not meeting the NRD’s requirements to prove irrigation history.
-Programs Committee- The committee recommended and the board approved a request from the Johnson Lake Foundation to help seed five acres of the hike/bike trail up to $750. The committee approved the proposed 2014 FY Information/Education budget; which will be forwarded to the Budget Committee. They also discussed changes and additions to the Cost Share Programs budget for FY 2014 and will continue that discussion next month. One possible new cost share program being considered is tile drains. It was also decided that the new Conservation Award approved last month will be held following the December board meeting to invite all farmers in the District to attend.
-NPPD Comments- Ron Bishop, general manager, provided an evaluation of the Nebraska Public Power District’s comments on the District’s new irrigation rules and regulations; which claimed some of the changes go beyond statutory definition or are in conflict with other Plans already in place. The comments have been provided to NPPD.
-Canals- Kent Cordes, Miller & Associates, gave a progress report on the Thirty Mile Canal Rehab. Cordes reported that in Phase 2, 75 percent of tree removal is complete; one structure is complete with most of the others waiting for radial gates; and one bridge check may be relocated since the landowner is considering plans for a more efficient irrigation system. Cordes said Phase 3 structures/laterals are on schedule and will meet the April 15 deadline. The board took action to approve the bid schedule for Phase 4. Phase 4 includes replacement or rehab of 31 structures. Bids will be opened on March 21 and awarded on March 28.
Ron Bishop reported that the Thirty Mile Canal in Dawson County is still working toward conversion to an irrigation district and that construction on all three canals seems to be on schedule. Bishop said two staff members have been meeting with landowners along the canals to transfer unused water rights for flow enhancement to meet the demands on the Platte River.
-Legislation- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, gave an update on bills that would impact natural resources management. Czaplewski reported that LB 102 is the only bill that has been signed at this time. That bill eliminates the requirement to include an individual’s social security number on water permit applications.
-NHCC Reps- The board appointed Mark Czaplewski as CPNRD representative on the Nebraska Habitat Conservation Coalition to replace Ron Bishop following the NHCC’s annual meeting in April, due to Bishop’s pending retirement. The board also appointed the new general manager or his assignee as alternate.
-NARD Hall of Fame Award- Jim Bendfeldt, director, reported that he and Dean Edson, NARD executive director, developed the Hall of Fame Award to honor managers, directors, and other agencies who have made a substantial impact to conservation. Bendfeldt plans to nominate Ron Bishop in the manager category and Dick Mercer in the director category. All NRDs are encouraged to submit nominations in each category.
-NNRC Award- Dick Mercer presented an award to Ladd Reeves on behalf of the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission for his six years of service. Mercer said he and the other Commission members thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated Reeve’s commitment to the issues and his knowledge of the real estate market.
-Cost Share- The board approved 10 applications for cost share. Applications approved include: 2 underground pipeline, 2 soil moisture sensors, 5 tree plantings and 1 well decommissioning. The applications requests total $19,669.85.
-Upcoming Meetings- March 28, April 25, May 23, June 27, July 25
(GRAND ISLAND, NE): The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors received comments at a public hearing from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and Nebraska Public Power District. The board took action to approve the proposed changes. The overall changes primarily change the way variances are handled for small areas of Class 4e and Class 6e soils. The changes will take effect on February 24, 2013. The plan is available at the NRD office and on the NRD website at: www.cpnrd.org.
-Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- An appeal from Merrick County was approved with the stipulations that the land must remain in grass and the water from it can’t be transferred.
-Programs Committee- Lynn Koch, Great Western Bank, met with the committee to propose a new conservation awards program. The board approved the committee’s recommendation to start an awards program to honor the farmers in the District that have implemented conservation practices on their farms. The committee also received information on the FY2014 proposed cost share programs to discuss in detail at their February meeting.
-Chair/Vice-Chair- Ed Kyes, Central City, was elected chairman of the Board of Directors and Jim Bendfeldt, Kearney, as vice-chairman. Since Bendfeldt was serving as secretary, the directors voted to elect Barry Obermiller to finish Bendfeldt’s remaining term as secretary. Directors signed up for committees that they plan to serve on in 2013. The following chairman were selected for each committee: Water Resources- Jay Richeson, Eastern Projects-Mick Reynolds, Western Projects-Dick Mercer, Programs-Bob Schanou.
-NRCS Report- James Huntwork, district liaison, distributed the FY 2013 EQIP Practice Payment Scenario Guidance for the Cover Crop and Irrigation Water Management conservation practices. This guidance defines the practice and specifies the purpose and payment rates for various installation options. Huntwork said the practices are being emphasized to encourage more widespread adoption in order to improve soil quality, water quantity, and water quality. Applications for EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis and the next ranking cutoff date to rank applications is February 15, 2013.
-Johnson Lake- Ron Fowler, Lexington, requested financial help to seed and plant seedlings along the north side of a hike and bike trail at Johnson Lake. The Programs Committee will discuss and possibly have a recommendation for the board on the request at the February 28th board of directors meeting.
-Cozad Canal- The board took action to approve the proposed agreement with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. The agreement outlines the arrangements between DNR and CPNRD on the grant funds for rehabilitation of the canal.
-Fiscal Audit- The Fiscal 2012 Audit was accepted by the board.
-Legislation- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, discussed bills introduced that may have an impact on natural resources management including:
-LB 185: Creates a loan program to local NRDs for projects that enhance streamflows for the purpose of compliance. $40 million would be moved from Cash Reserve Fund to Water Contingency
Fund to create program.
-LB 199: Authorizes transfer of $3.3 million from the General Fund to Water Resources Cash Fund for fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15.
–LB 272- Allow the Nebraska Environmental Quality Council to set fees for Chemigation permits with a cap of no more than $250 for new, special, renewal permits.
-LB 325- Eliminates language that requires board approval for district boundary changes, divisions or mergers; which would rely solely with the Natural Resources Commission.
-LB 353- Prohibit NRDs from adopting rules & regulations that would require use of groundwater irrigation to maintain a groundwater irrigation right.
-LB 358- Adds to the exemption of one-call notification for tilling of soil & gardening for seeding and other agricultural purposes.
-LB 391- Modifies requirement of a reservoir and intentional underground water storage facilities of when they have to release water for direct irrigation or a reservoir facility holding a senior right.
Irrigation ditch or reservoir holding a senior right receiving the water have to be downstream.
-Cost Share- The board approved 10 applications for cost share. Applications approved include: 2 soil moisture sensors, 3 tree plantings and 5 well decommissionings. All applications total $9,453.15.
-Upcoming Meetings- February 28, March 28, April 25, May 23
(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- On Thursday, Jim Bendfeldt, director and Variance Committee Chair of the Central Platte Natural Resources District, reported that there is more groundwater in storage in 2012 than in 1982. Despite reoccurring drought conditions since 2000, groundwater levels still remain above the levels that would trigger regulations across the Central Platte NRD.
He said the District has had a Groundwater Management Program in place since 1985 that calls for a percentage of the irrigated lands in any of the 24 Groundwater Management Areas (GMA) to be taken out of irrigation production if groundwater levels approach a level that the Board has established as a “maximum acceptable decline”. The maximum acceptable decline is a level that would still allow the aquifer life to be sustained, while at the same time minimizing adverse economic impacts to individual water users. The base year for measuring water tables and determining the maximum acceptable declines to be allowed, is the water levels in the spring of 1982. Spring readings are the most important levels, as they are the ones used to trigger any management controls.
District-wide there was more groundwater in storage in the spring of 2012 than there was in the spring of 1982, the base year. That is in spite of an additional 250,000 acres of groundwater irrigation being developed between 1982 and 2004, the year the District and the Department of Natural Resources placed a freeze on new irrigated acres and new wells. New farming techniques and practices that conserve water and reduce consumption, like minimum tillage and a switch from high pressure to low pressure sprinkler systems, are credited with the water savings that make the aquifer report so positive despite severe drought conditions.
Of the 24 GMAs across the CPNRD, 15 have water levels higher by an average of 5.0 feet, than the 1982 levels. Nine are lower by an average of 3 feet and only two are on the “monitor closely” list, in northern Merrick and southern Nance counties that generally have a shallower aquifer and reduced production in their wells as irrigation season progresses, (especially during dry conditions) making any long-term declines cause for concern and thus the “monitor closely” status. Bendfeldt said spring water table measurements are taken in April & May, so everyone is hoping those ‘April showers’ are large enough to soak up the ground and “give us some good recharge.”
-Rules & Regs- took action to change the current rules and regulations to allow Class 4e and 6e soils to be developed as long as those acres are offset. The directors set the offsets at a one-to-one ratio and limited the number of acres that could be developed to a maximum of 15 acres. Soil classifications are a factor in what can be developed and many landowners were unable to run their pivots full circle or utilize their entire fields due to classifications established in the 1990s. New technology combined with the soil classification determinations were used in the decision to change the rule; which will take effect when the Rules & Regulations are updated. A public hearing will be held on January 24, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.- just prior to the board meeting.
-Impacts Below Chapman- Of the 4,018 acres requested for new irrigation development, the board approved 2,486 acres. That total includes 132 applications and 206 acre-feet of water impact to the river. The average size of the approved applications is 25 acres.
-Canals- Ron Bishop, general manager, gave an update on irrigation canal activities, reporting that the Thirty Mile Canal board is in the later stages of changing over to an Irrigation District. They still need approval from Lincoln and Dawson counties and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. Bishop said that Southside-Orchard Alfalfa is also interested in pursuing changing to an Irrigation District. Kevin Prior, OA, reported that BSB is almost finished clearing for Phase II of the Cozad Canal rehab and will start construction as soon as they received the steel that they need. Southside-Orchard Alfalfa- The board approved a request for a contract amendment in the amount of $170,000 with Olsson Associates for Phase I & II construction services. The board also awarded Phase I construction contract to Van Kirk Bros., Sutton, with a bid of $554,668. Bids were received from Midlands Contracting, Simon Contractors and Paul Reed Construction & Supply, as well. Phase I includes construction of 7 county road boxes.
-Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores FCP- The board awarded the contract to construct two dams to Hooker Bros. of Grand Island in the amount of $361,767.45 and to Van Kirk Sand & Gravel of Sutton in the amount of $480,856.91. Milt Moravek, assistant manager, reported that he and directors met with the Corps of Engineers about the project and were told that the detention cells are on-hold for at least two years because of the ammunition clean-up at the site. The Corps estimates that there are 1,900 sand mines that need to be cleared. Moravek said as long as the project continues with construction of the dams that the Natural Resources Development Funds will still be available to use for the Project.
-Programs Committee- The board approved a change in the Cover Crop cost share program to allow either operator or landowner to apply; the current application only allowed landowners to apply. The committee also discussed Drain Tiling as a possible future cost share program. Marvion Reichert, director, said he has done extensive research and has began implementing the practice on his own land and has been impressed with the results for water conservation and drainage.
-Commission Member- The board selected Mick Reynolds as a candidate to serve on the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission board of directors. The annual caucus with Twin Platte and Tri-Basin NRDs is scheduled for January 4th at the CPNRD office.
-Legislative Reps- The board selected Jim Bendfeldt as voting delegate and Jerry Wiese as alternate for the Nebraska Association of Resources District’s Legislative Conference to be held January 29-30 in Lincoln.
-Cost Share- The board approved 40 applications for cost share. Applications approved through the Soil & Water Conservation Program: 3 underground pipelines, 1 windbreak renovation and 1 planned grazing system. Central Platte NRD Cost Share programs: 2 center pivots, 4 tree plantings and 29 well decommissionings- with all applications totaling $55,292.18.
REPORTS TO THE BOARD
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist, distributed the priority system which will be used to screen applications for the FY 2013 CPNRD Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for cropland, grassland, water conservation for sprinkler irrigation systems, sub-surface drip irrigation systems, irrigation water management, and invasive species. Applications that are considered as high or medium priority will be scored using a more detailed system to rank applications for funding. Huntwork said the current Fiscal Cliff isn’t an issue because Nebraska already has an allocation of funds so the NRCS will continue to accept applications.
-Groundwater Levels- Shane Max, resources conservationist, also distributed maps that provided comparisons from Spring 2012 to Fall 2012 levels to show the effects of the severe drought. The Eastern third of the NRD saw declines of 5.9 feet, the Central part saw declines of 5.71 feet, and the Western part saw declines of 6.07 feet. Max said that all of these are greater than the normal differences for Spring to Fall readings, reflecting the severity of this year’s the current drought conditions.
-Irrigation Violations- Bendfeldt also reported that GIS image analyst, Luke Zakrzewski, found 204 violations totaling 1,032 acres throughout the District; with 70% of those being less than five acres. Most of the violations are acres that need to be certified.
-Executive Committee- Barry Obermiller, chairman, reported that the committee has narrowed the search general manager down to four applicants. The Budget Committee will interview the four applicants in February, with the announcement of the new recommended general manager at the February 28th board meeting. The new manager will begin employment in June.
-Chair/Vice-Chair- The Nominating Committee recommended Ed Kyes as chairman and Jim Bendfeldt as vice-chairman of the board to serve two-year terms starting in January. Current chairman Barry Obermiller and vice-chairman Ed Kyes have both served two, consecutive two-year terms; which is the maximum allowable under the NRD’s bylaws. The election for the seats will be held at the January 24th board meeting.
-Service Awards- Director Mike Dobesh received an outgoing award for his 4 years of service. Staff members Mark Czaplewski, biologist, was recognized for 15 years of service and Duane Woodward, hydrologist, for 20 years of service.
(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- On Thursday, the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s Board of Directors took action to double the current rate that they pay for water rights, effective immediately. The directors approved $8,000 per acre-foot of depletion to the river; which is up from $3,750. The increase was recommended because of the current market value for water rights. Water rights that are purchased by the NRD are deposited into the NRD’s Water Bank and are used to help get water levels back to what they were in 1997; which is required by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and other water management plans. Other action:
-Class 4e & 6e Soils- Directors also took action to change the current rules and regulations to allow Class 4e and 6e soils to be developed as long as those acres are offset. The directors set the offsets at a one-to-one ratio and limited the number of acres that could be developed to a maximum of 15 acres. Soil classifications are a factor in what can be developed and many landowners were unable to run their pivots full circle or utilize their entire fields due to classifications established in the 1990s. New technology combined with the soil classification determinations were used in the decision to change the rule; which will take effect when the Rules & Regulations are updated. A public hearing date will be set at the December board of directors meeting.
-Cozad Canal- Simon Contractors of North Platte, NE., was awarded the bid for Phase III of Cozad Canal Rehabilitation. The winning bid came in at $3,620,606.50. Phase III includes 35 structures, walkways, head gates, grading and seeding. Construction will be completed in two segments: from January - April 2013 and from September 2013 - April 2014. Bids were also submitted from Midlands Contracting of Kearney and Paul Reed Construction of Gering.
-MRS Presentation- Jared Abraham and Jim Cannia, USGS, gave a presentation on the Magnetic Resonance Sounding Project. MRS is a quick, non-invasive surface geophysical technique that directly measures how much groundwater is available for use without having to drill test holes and conduct aquifer pump tests. Duane Woodward, CPNRD hydrologist, is an engineer and co-author of a book on the Project.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist, reported the following:
- HELC/WEC- NRCS operations in each state are implementing a non-biased process for determinations of highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation. Huntwork said field offices within the NRD will conduct determinations in neighboring counties to improve efficiencies in determinations and reviews.
-LiDAR- The area in Custer County where the NRD does not have LiDAR data has now been flown and the data will be available for use in the latter part of 2013.
-Retirement- Current NRCS chief, Dave White, will be retiring effective December 31, 2012.
--Elections- General election results were distributed. In the contested races, incumbents Dwayne Margritz and Marvion Reichert were re-elected in their sub-districts for a four-year term. Keith Stafford was unopposed and will take the place of Mike Dobesh, who did not file for his seat in sub-district 4. Dan Ohlman was elected for a two-year term to fill the vacancy of the late Scott Woodman. Incumbents not contested and who will retain their seats include: Jay Richeson, Jim Bendfeldt, Mick Reynolds, Jerry Wiese, LeRoy Arends and Barry Obermiller.
-Nominating Committee- The board elected Dick Mercer, Bill Vasey and Mick Reynolds as the Nominating Committee to recommend a chairman and vice-chairman of the board to serve two-year terms starting in January. Current chairman Barry Obermiller and vice-chairman Ed Kyes have both served two, consecutive two-year terms; which is the maximum allowable under the NRD’s bylaws.
-Budget & Executive Committee- The committee reviewed current advertising for the nationwide search for a new general manager. Resumes are being accepted until December 15, 2012. The board approved a contract with current general manager, Ron Bishop, to employ him as a sub-contractor for the NRD starting July 1, 2013, which is his effective retirement date as general manager. The contract states that Bishop will work off-site as a consultant to the new general manager as needed to allow a smooth transition in the position.
-Cost Share- The board approved 20 applications for cost share. One application was approved through the Soil & Water Conservation Program for underground pipeline $4,060. Central Platte NRD Cost Share programs: 1 center pivot application for $7,500; 1 streambank stabilization $3,000; 1 soil moisture sensor $2,000; and 16 well decommissioning applications for $12,000. Total approved for both cost share programs: $28,560.00.
-Upcoming Meetings- December 20, January 24, February 28, March 28, April 25
--Joint Variance/Appeals and Water Resources Committee Meeting-
-Groundwater Management Areas- The committee discussed continuous declines in groundwater levels in two areas of the Groundwater Management Program. The board approved the recommendation that staff take the recent groundwater level measurements into consideration when ranking applications to expand irrigated acres below Chapman, discounting value in those areas of decline. The committee will re-evaluate the levels next month when all of the field data is available and prior to selecting applications for expansion.
-Instream Flow Project- The committee directed staff to pursue purchase of a recharge cell that is located southeast of Gothenburg. The 50-acre cell would hold up to 200 ac/ft of water that would soak back into the Platte River to provide instream flows.
-Southside Canal- Kevin Prior, Olsson Associates, presented plans and specifications for bridge designs and box culverts for Phase I of the canal rehab. The board approved the advertisement, opening, award date and construction schedules. The project is expected to be completed in June 2014.
-Thirty Mile Canal- Kent Cordes, Miller & Associates, presented plans and specifications for Phase III of the canal rehab, which focuses on laterals and spillways including five drop structures, two siphon/check structures and two pipe laterals. Discussion included an underestimation by Miller & Associates on the cost of tree removal for Phases I and II. Staff was directed to work with the Platte Basin Habitat Enhancement Program executives to modify the current grant approval. The board approved the advertisement, opening, award date and construction schedules. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2014. Due to scheduling concerns, the board approved allowing the executive committee to award the bid.
-Waterbank Price- The committee discussed the current price of water being offered for landowners retiring water rights for the NRD Water Bank. General manager, Ron Bishop, said the NRD currently uses county assessors’ valuations that include a three-year average, saying that prices lag behind actual market value. Bishop and Water Resources Committee chairman Jay Richeson will bring a recommendation to the committee in November.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist of Grand Island, reported that the final phase of LiDAR data acquisition for the entire CPNRD, minus the portion of the district that lies in Custer County, will be completed in early November 2012. Huntwork said the initial phase of LiDAR data collection for the portion of Custer County within the CPNRD will occur in the near future, depending on harvest and leaf drop from deciduous tree species to determine the optimum time period for coverage area flights. Final data for this area is estimated to be usable by October 2013.
--Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee Meeting- The committee reviewed appeals from Buffalo and Polk counties. The board denied both appeals.
--Cost Share- The board approved 25 applications for cost share. One application approved through the Soil & Water Conservation Program: soil moisture sensor $2,000. CPNRD cost share program applications: 24 well decommissioning applications for $19,500. Total approved for all cost share programs: $21,500.00.
--Budget Committee- Barry Obermiller, chairman, announced the schedule to start advertising for the NRD’s general manager position. Resumes will be received from Nov. 1-Dec. 15 and will be advertised nationally. The executive committee will review and narrow the applicants through January with a contract being offered in February. Current general manager Ron Bishop will retire on June 30, 2013.
--Future board meetings will be held on November 15, December 20 and January 24.
--Western Projects Committee- The board approved the committee’s recommendation to help restore Gothenburg’s Lake Helen in the amount of $50,000 in 2013, with the possibility of adding $50,000 to the Fiscal 2014 budget. Bruce Clymer, Gothenburg city administrator, presented the request to the committee in August. The proposed project includes complete excavation, grading, riprap, grids to eliminate geese from landing on the lake, a boat ramp and fish stocking. Total cost of the project is estimated at $1.5 million.
--Water Resources Committee-
-Nitrogen Policy- The board updated a policy regarding applying Nitrogen in the fall as a carrier for weed control pesticides. The policy states that landowners may apply up to 20 pounds of Nitrogen per acre along with other nutrient as part of weed control applications in Phases II and III of the management area. The policy is effective immediately and will be added to the Groundwater Management Program’s rules and regulations in the future. The previous policy did not include Phase II and only allowed 10 pounds of Nitrogen per acre.
-Canal Tour- The board will take a bus tour of the four Dawson County canals on November 9, 2012, and will meet the canals’ boards and staff.
-Southside Canal- Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that an engineering firm is working on bridge designs for Southside Canal, which will be available for the October board meeting. The project is expected to be constructed in phases.
-Cozad Canal- The board approved a recommendation from Kevin Prior, Olsson Associates to accept bids for Phase III Cozad Canal Rehabilitation, which is for the last phase of the project. Phase III includes 35 structures, walkways, headgates, grading and seeding. Bids will be advertised the first three weeks of October with the bid opening on November 1. The board will award the contract on November 15. Construction times will be in two segments from January to April 2013 and September 2013 through April 2014.
-Thirty Mile Canal- A request from the Canal that the NRD change the restriction for the use of a new well on land currently irrigated by surface water was approved. The policy states that a surface water user can drill and use a new well in place of surface water, as long as the surface water is leased back to the Canal and is active. If the surface water is not leased back to the canal, the current Rules and Regulations would be in affect which states that surface water must be paid for and must be used before the well can be used. The Canal would also want this change to be limited to 1,000 acres. The Board is considering this change in policy a case study on the impacts to the groundwater levels in that area, which is specific to the Thirty Mile Canal.
-NPPD- Randy Zach, NPPD, said the NPPD is planning to have a response for the NRD within the next two weeks in regards to the NRD’s request for the use of Dawson County land for the transfer of excess flows for the proposed Elm Creek Project.
-CNPPID- Bishop reported that the CNPPID recently filed as an opponent for the NRD’s three applications for excess flows that the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources is considering. Bishop said he “wasn’t sure what the opposition means exactly” but the NRD’s attorney has filed the appropriate paperwork and he hopes to have more details soon.
-Instream Flow Project- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, gave an update on the demonstration-research project that is located in the Odessa and Overton areas. The project will provide additional flows to the Platte when the River is low by using three non-decommissioned wells with submersibles to run water through natural drains and county road ditches. Meters will be used to measure the input to the River. The wells will pump water in the spring prior to irrigation and in the fall following harvest. Another benefit of the project is that it will provide needed dewatering for landowners in the area. The project is expected to begin in the spring of 2013.
--Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The committee reviewed the application that will be used to rank the requests for new irrigated acres in the area below Chapman. The application will be available to the public on Monday, October 1st on the NRD’s website and by stopping by the NRD office in Grand Island.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist, distributed a summary of conservation practices applied within the NRD through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP). Grant Linder, resources conservationist of Grand Island, reported that those practices include installation of 28 center pivots at $968,400; and 19 grazing management systems at $449,200. Linder said 75 EQIP contracts totaled $1.7 million and 29 CSP contracts totaled $3.1 million; for a total of 104 practices totaling $5.8 million were installed within the Central Platte NRD.
--PRRIP-Mark Czaplewski, biologist, gave an update on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program. Czaplewski said on August 30th the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) released their 12-month finding on a petition to list the Platte River Caddisfly as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The FWS found that listing the caddisfly is not warranted at this time since their numbers aren’t in decline, habitats are broader than originally thought, and several conservation organizations are believed to offer support for the caddisfly. Czaplewski also reported:
- The Program’s Governance Committee met in September and was attended by Anne Castle, Dept. of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water & Science, who made a presentation on the DOI’s support of the Program and the America’s Great Outdoors Program.
-The Land Advisory Committee (LAC), has acquired or is in negotiation on 9,825 acres and plans to dispose of 379 acres, leaving only 553 additional acres to meet their 10,000 acre first increment goal.
-There’s a growing interest within the Program’s Independent Science Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee to take a fresh look at the Platte River target flows. Any potential changes to them would likely not happen during the Program’s first increment.
-In the fall of 2009, the Board appointed Mark Czaplewskias the Program’s Land Advisory Committee representative and Bob Schanou as alternate for a three-year term. The board took action to approve the re-appointment of Czaplewski and Schanou.
-Ron Bishop reported that Czaplewski was recently appointed at the NARD Conference - Platte Basin meeting to a three-year term as one of the two Governance Committee positions selected by the NRDs in the central and upper Platte Basin. The board affirmed the appointment by the Basin representatives.
--COHYST- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the COHYST Sponsor’s Group has completed their new budget with a major item being the RFP that was awarded to Riverside Technology of Fort Collins, CO. The contract with Riverside will include updating the new land use data for 2006-2010. Woodward also reported that the modeling effort has been postponed slightly since the geology in the model isn’t calibrating the data points as accurately as the group would like. A new program is currently being reviewed.
--LRIP- The District’s 2012-2017 Long Range Implementation Plan was approved with one amendment. The Plan will be sent to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources for review as required by State law.
--Cost Share- The board approved 17 applications for cost share. One application approved through the Soil & Water Conservation Program: underground pipeline $4,060. CPNRD cost share program applications: 1 center pivot applications for $7,500; 1 streambank stabilization for $3,000; 3 cover crop for $1,500; and 11 well decommissioning applications for $10,500. Total approved for all cost share programs: $26,560.00.
--40th Anniversary- The board of directors will hold an Open House following the October 25th board meeting to celebrate the NRD’s 40th anniversary. The public is invited to attend the board meeting, which starts at 1:00 p.m., with the Open House to be held from 2:30-4:00 p.m. The public will have the opportunity to visit casually with board and staff members after a short presentation about the NRDs accomplishments over the past 40 years.
--40th Awards- The Nebraska Association of Resources District presented awards at their annual conference last week to board members and staff from the 23 Natural Resources Districts that have served the districts for 40 years. Dick Mercer, Kearney, was the sole director from CPNRD that received the award. CPNRD staff included: Ron Bishop, general manager; Milt Moravek, assistant manager; and Dianne Miller, administrative director.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ August 30, 2012
Central Platte NRD Board Approves Levy for Fiscal 2013 Budget
(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- The Central Platte Natural Resources District set the levy for their FY 2013 Budget at their Board of Directors meeting on Thursday. The levy was approved at the rate of 0.04471; with the property tax request at $4,936,309.96. The amount is down from last year’s rate of 0.05250. Homeowners living in a home valued at $100,000 within the District will pay $44.71 in property taxes for water quality and quantity benefits such as flood control, nitrate management, erosion management, snagging & clearing of streams, canal rehabilitation, recreation, cost share to landowners and other natural resources benefits. Other action taken:
--Canals- Kent Cordes, Miller & Associates, presented bids for Phase II of Thirty Mile Canal rehabilitation in Dawson County. The construction contract for concrete structures was awarded to Midlands Contracting Inc. of Kearney with a low bid of $1.2 million. BSB Construction Inc. of Curtis was awarded the contract for tree removal and dirt work for $1.3 million.
--Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The following was on the agenda: Impacts Below Chapman Area: The NRD will again open up 2,500 acres in the area defined as impacts below Chapman to new limited irrigation. This area includes Hall County north of Airport Road, and the eastern portion of the District north and east of C Road in Merrick County. For a map, see the NRD website at: www.cpnrd.org. Landowners in the area may apply for new irrigated acres from October 1—November 30. An application will be available on the NRD website and by calling the NRD office beginning October 1st. Due to the potential number of applications and limited application time period, the NRD requests that no appointments be made. Applicants will be responsible for completing and submitting all required materials.
-CRP Policy: The clarification was made that acres can only be certified as irrigated if the acres in question were irrigated the year before it went into a federal program and has to be irrigated two years after coming out of the program, before it can be transferred.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist, distributed a summary on possible changes to the NRCS structure, including potential office closings, new technology and funding challenges. David Carr, range management specialist, was presented an award from Ben Wheeler of the Prescribed Burn Task Force for his leadership and development of the statewide program.
--Water Lease Agreement- The board reviewed and took action to approve a water lease agreement with the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program. The Agreement sets a price for the water the CPNRD will provide to the Platte River between Gothenburg and Grand Island, Nebraska. The amount is set per acre-feet and allows for a percentage increase per year if necessary.
--Truck Bids- The board reviewed bids to trade in the NRD’s 2007 Chevrolet 4-wheel drive extended cab. Approval was given to Plum Creek Motors of Lexington, NE, with a low bid of $10,917.25 to purchase a 2013 4-wheel drive ½ ton full-size crew cab pickup.
--NARD Annual Conference- Jim Bendfeldt of Kearney was select as voting delegate and Bill Vasey of Lexington as alternate for the Nebraska Association of Resources District’s annual conference to be held September 24-25 in Kearney, NE. The board also discussed resolutions that will be voted on during the conference.
--40th Anniversary- The board of directors will hold an Open House following the October 25th board meeting to celebrate the NRD’s 40th anniversary. The public is invited to attend the board meeting, which starts at 1:00 p.m., with the Open House starting at 2:30 p.m. The public will have the opportunity to visit with board and staff members after a short presentation about the NRDs accomplishments over the past 40 years.
--LRIP- Marcia Lee, information/education specialist, distributed drafts of the 2012-2017 Long Range Implementation Plan for review. The board will take action to approve the Plan in September.
--Cost Share- The board approved 20 applications for cost share. Application approved through the Soil & Water Conservation Program: planned grazing & underground pipeline $5,270. CPNRD applications: 4 center pivot applications for $24,809; 1 urban forestry $5,000; and 13 well decommissioning applications for $9,750 through the Central Platte NRD Cost Share programs. Total approved for both cost share programs: $44,829.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist, presented the LiDAR agreement that will provide district-wide coverage of topographic elevation developed from aerial radar detection. The Central Platte NRD’s cost will be $40,000 for Custer County, providing necessary data for several projects and programs. Huntwork said the data would be collected from November 2012 to March 2013, with the results available for use in August 2013. Other NRDs and partners involved in collecting statewide data include: Lower Platte North, Twin Platte, Lower Loup, North Platte, and Middle Niobrara NRDs; Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Quality and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Teri Edeal, resources conservationist, reported on projects and programs that the Lexington field office staff has been working on including the Prescribed Burn Task Force, Wetland Reserve Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, soil erosion, tree/weed barrier and invasive species contracts.
--Cozad Canal- BSB of Curtis, NE, was awarded the contract for Phase II of the canal rehabilitation with the low bid of $892,772. Kevin Prior, Olsson Associates, presented the bids and said the Cozad Canal board had approved the bid on Wednesday. This Phase of rehabilitation will include tree removal and dirt work.
--Thirty Mile Canal- Kent Cordes reported on plans for Phase II of the Thirty Mile Canal, which will include 19 miles of tree removal and several structures and bridges. The board authorized advertising for the bidding with the start date of the project to be September 15, 2012.
--NARD Retirement Plan- The board approved amendments to sections 414h and 457 regarding military personnel.
--Cost Share- 56 applications were approved for cost share through the following programs: Soil & Water Conservation Program- 25 applications for renozzle, underground pipeline, brush management, pasture planting, moisture sensors, windbreak renovation, pipeline to surge valve ($111,725.95); CPNRD applications: 11 center pivot ($75,763.64), 4 2 flow meters ($2,000), 1 prescribed burn ($258.75), and 15 well decommissioning applications ($8,750). The total approved for both cost share programs was $201,498.34.
--Upcoming Meetings- August 30, September 27, October 25, November 15, December 20.
The Central Platte Natural Resources District approved the proposed budget of expenditures and estimated liabilities on Thursday for purpose of holding a public hearing next month. Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that the initial projection shows only an additional $120,000 increase will be needed from taxpayers in the District. The hearing is scheduled for July 26th, just prior to the July board meeting.
--Western Projects Committee- The following items are on the committee’s agenda:
-Elm Creek Project- Kevin Prior, Olsson Associates, presented options on how to proceed with the proposed Elm Creek Project. The board authorized staff to continue working with the Nebraska Public Power District, State of Nebraska, Platte River Program and the engineering firm to see how to best proceed.
-Cozad Canal- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, presented information on liquidated damage on the canal in regards to Ho Chunk Construction Company. The board took action took assess a penalty fine of $17,500 for 35 days over contract time at a rate of $500 per day. The board also took action to approve advertisement for Phase II of the canal construction.
--CNPPID Proposal- Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that the presentation to the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District board to assist them in converting to conjunctive use water management, was “a cold reception.” Bishop said there were misconceptions among those who spoke against the project on what the NRD was actually proposing. The CPNRD and Twin Platte NRDs offered the CNPPID board financial assistance for future conjunctive management studies and financial assistance to landowners to switch to groundwater use. Bishop said, “We hope they will consider our proposal, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
--Executive and Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The board approved the committees’ recommendation to spend up to $100,000 to finish coverage for the District, specifically Custer County, for the LIDAR program. James Huntwork, NRCS, negotiated the cost with other NRDs and NRCS, who accepted CPNRD’s offer to purchase the coverage for $40,000. A final agreement will be reviewed next month. The Variance/Appeals Committee denied an appeal from Dawson County on the basis that the landowner had no proof of irrigation.
--Water Banking Agreements- The board took action to approve the following plans:
Platte Basin Water Project Coalition Interlocal Cooperation Agreement- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the following NRDs: South Platte, Twin Platte, North Platte, Tri-Basin and Central Platte. This agreement would allow utilization of the new Water Cash Fund through the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Legislature for Platte Basin water management activities and would take the place of the PBHEP. The board also approved Ron Bishop as representative and Mark Czaplewski and Duane Woodward as alternates for this program.
J-2 Regulating Reservoir- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the following NRDs: Central Platte, Tri-Basin and Twin Platte. The agreement would allow excess flows from the Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District supply canals to be stored and later put into the Platte River when needed to meet U.S. Fish & Wildlife target flows. The excess flows would be used as credit for requirements of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Project.
Financial Management Agreement- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Community Foundation, and the following NRDs: Central Platte, South Platte, Tri-Basin, and Twin Platte. The agreement states that the Nebraska Community Foundation will be utilized for administrative and financial management support for water management activities.
--Clean Community System- Betty Curtis, Clean Community Service, gave a report on the programs that CCS provides and how the $20,000 that the NRD provides is used. The board requested that Curtis contact the other NRDs that are covered by her services to request funding from them as well.
--Contract Amendments- The board took action to approve amendments
-Cozad Canal- Olsson Associated requested an additional $15,000 for additional costs related to staying on the site to oversee the extended time taken by Ho Chunk Construction Company.
-Southside (Orchard Alfalfa)- Amendment was for canal design in the amount of $162,100.
--Hazard Mitigation- The board approved a resolution to approve the Hazard Mitigation Plan by FEMA. The 29 other participants including cities, counties and other agencies will now need to approve the resolution before the Plan takes effect. Once all participants have signed the Plan, they will be protected from loss of life and property due to natural disasters.
--Water Levels- Jesse Mintken and Shane Max reported that water levels throughout the District have changed very little from Spring 2011 to Spring 2012, and are very similar to levels from 1982 as well. The District checked 507 wells this spring and the average across the District remains two feet above or below the 1982 levels. Maps are available on the NRD website at: www.cpnrd.org.
--PRRIP- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Program’s Governance Committee met on June 12-13 in Cheyenne. He said that some positive news has come in as a result of finalization of a Program study of potential impacts on flows in the lower Platte that might affect the endangered pallid sturgeon that occasionally use that section of the river. The Program’s Lower Platte Stage Change study was recently peer reviewed by a panel of independent experts and approved by the Governance Committee. The bottom line of the report is that Program flow management actions in the central Platte likely avoid adverse impacts to pallid sturgeon in the lower Platte. The Governance Committee doesn’t consider the study a Program policy statement, but it is certainly an encouraging step. The Technical and the Independent Science Advisory Committees are working with the Executive Director Office to develop a “State of the Platte” report that will summarize what we’re learned so far about the pallid sturgeon question as well as all the “big science questions” facing the Program. Channel restrictions related to a “choke point” in the lower North Platte River near North Platte continue to hamper the passage of flows the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service hope to deliver from their environmental account in Lake McConaughy to the central Platte for endangered species. The Program continues to work on how to deal with the choke point issue.
The Program continues to close in on completing the first increment land goal of 10,000 acres. To date, the Program has acquired (via fee title purchase, sponsorship agreement, conservation easement and lease) a total of 9,527 acres and plans to dispose of 379 acres, leaving only 852 additional acres to meet their goal. The Program is currently in the process of disposing of some of the lands acquired that were purchased to get habitat lands, but that are not needed for habitat. The land totals will drop slightly as these acres will either be sold at auction or to preferred buyers as detailed in Program land disposal plans.
Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the Water Action Committee finalized the recharge study which studied the amount of recharge from Phelps County Canal needed to recharge the basin by adding groundwater to the Platte River. Monitoring on the project will continue.
--Tree Program- Kelly Cole, programs coordinator, reported that the NRD sold 48,025 trees in 2012, down from the 54,275 sold last year. The NRD has sold a total of 3,469,381 trees since 1973. Cole also reported that weed barrier sales were also down from 28 miles sold in 2011 to 15 sold this year. Sales from weed barrier sold since 1991 total 503 miles.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist, reported that the annual meeting for the Local Working Group will be held on July 10, 2012. The meeting agenda includes discussing ranking pools and criteria, priority system, and payment schedules for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). A public forum will be held from 9:45-10:15 a.m. at the Central Platte NRD office in Grand Island.
--Partial Retirement- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, was recognized for 43 years of service to the Central Platte NRD. Moravek will continue his employment at the NRD on a part-time basis.
--Cost Share- 17 applications were approved for cost share through the CPNRD well decommissioning program in the amount of $12,500.
--Upcoming Board Meetings- Thursdays: July 26, August 30 and September 27.
MAY 24, 2012
CENTRAL PLATTE NRD REMINDS IRRIGATORS OF '2&10' RULE
(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- The Central Platte Natural Resources District staff reported that they have set a timeline to notify landowners on the ‘2 & 10” rule; which requires landowners to irrigate at least two years by the year 2019 in order to keep their certified irrigation status. The report was given to the board of directors at their monthly meeting in Grand Island. Reminders about the rule and necessary proof of irrigation requirements will be sent or published starting in 2013 and every two years following. Ongoing reminders will also be utilized on radio programs and news releases to the media. Other action taken:
--Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The sub-committee’s agenda included:
LiDAR: James Huntwork, NRCS, discussed four options that have been compiled to achieve district-wide LiDAR. LiDAR is topographic elevations developed from aerial radar detection. The only county that is currently not covered by the LiDAR imagery is Custer County. The NRCS is working with other NRDs to provide more statewide coverage, which would also provide a cost savings to all partners. Jim Bedfeldt, committee chairman, said there are ‘immense opportunities’ to use district-wide lidar that would apply to several projects and programs. The committee, staff and NRCS will meet within the next two weeks to decide which option best suites the Central Platte NRD. The board gave approval to the committee to make the decision on the cost of the project on behalf of the board since the decision needs to be made prior to the June board meeting.
Public Hearings: Two public hearings were held for landowners who submitted appeals. The first was from Ronald Follmer of Buffalo County. The board denied his appeal for determination of certified irrigated acres because he didn’t meet any of the requirements as set by the rules and regulations. The second was from Jerry Woitaszewski of Hall County. The board approved his appeal for determination of non-compliance with the NRD’s Rules and Regulations for groundwater irrigation. The appeal involving 11.1 acres of cover crop was approved because Woitaszewski acted in good faith to follow the rules as set by the board of directors.
--Eastern Projects Committee- The committee agenda included:
GI Dewatering Study: Kevin Prior and Karen O’Connor, Olsson Associates, presented information about the draft 2012 Grand Island Dewatering System Study. The Study would improve and slightly expand the previous project implemented in 1998. Prior reported that the Grand Island City Council was receptive to the proposed updates and that the Council expressed that they would like the Central Platte NRD to be involved in the project.
Clarks Floodplain: Milt Moravek, assistant manager, gave an update on the Clarks Floodplain mapping, reporting that an updated study is needed to meet FEMA requirements. Moravek said that the Silver Creek is the major source of flooding in the area and that it’s likely other communities along the Creek would request funding in the future. The board approved participation in the study up to $5,000; which is 50% of the expected cost of the study. The study and funding will be a part of the 2013 Fiscal Budget.
--Budget Committee- Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that the committee reviewed the proposed budget requests from each program and that staff will send out a preliminary budget prior to the June board meeting. The board will take action to approve the preliminary budget in June for purpose of the public hearing to be held in July prior to the board meeting.
--Water Banking Agreements- Ron Bishop distributed three agreements to the board and requested that they review them and provide input so that action may be taken to approve the agreements at the June 28th board meeting. Following is a description of the draft agreements:
Platte Basin Water Project Coalition Interlocal Cooperation Agreement- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the following NRDs: South Platte, Twin Platte, North Platte, Tri-Basin and Central Platte. This agreement would allow utilization of the new Water Cash Fund through the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Legislature for Platte Basin water management activities and would take the place of the Platte Basin Habitat Enhancement Program.
J-2 Regulating Reservoir- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the following NRDs: Central Platte, Tri-Basin and Twin Platte. The agreement would allow excess flows from the Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District supply canals to be stored and later put into the Platte River when needed to meet U.S. Fish & Wildlife target flows. The excess flows would be used as credit for requirements of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Project.
Financial Management Agreement- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Community Foundation, and the following NRDs: Central Platte, South Platte, Tri-Basin, and Twin Platte. The agreement states that the Nebraska Community Foundation will be utilized for administrative and financial management support for water management activities.
--Proposed Project: Ron Bishop reported that those board members present at the special joint board meeting with the Twin Platte NRD held on May 9th, voted unanimously to approve an offer to the Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District (CNPPID) to assist them financially at converting their surface water irrigation project to a groundwater irrigation project and recharge program. He said a presentation to the CNPPID board set for May 25 has been postponed until June 22 so that the entire CNPPID board would be in attendance for the presentation. Bishop and Kent Miller, Twin Platte NRD general manager, will present the offer to aid in helping surface water irrigators to switch to groundwater irrigation.
--Lawsuit- Ron Bishop reported that the Hall County Court found in favor of the Central Platte NRD in lawsuit filed by Les Denning so the suit has been dismissed. The judge stated that putting a well down does not make a field irrigated.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist of Grand Island, reported that the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) and NRCS are compiling a report on future needs and the makeup of NRCS field offices in the state due to the looming potential for significant budget reductions in 2013 and beyond.
--Cost Share- 6 applications were approved for cost share through the CPNRD well decommissioning program in the amount of $4,250.
--Upcoming Board Meetings- Thursdays, June 28, July 26 and August 30.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ APRIL 26, 2012
Central Platte NRD Board Approves 107 Water Applications
The Department of Natural Resources approved proposed changes to the NRD’s irrigation rules and regulations and the Integrated Management Plan, paving the way for 107 new irrigation applications to be approved Thursday by the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors. 117 applications were ranked by the staff for the area opening up for new irrigation below Chapman totaling 2,419.34 acres. The maximum number of acres available was 2,500. Only one application was approved per landowner. Orders for the rules and regulations and the Integrated Management Plan were also approved for publication.
--Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The committee clarified the “Irrigation History” rule in the NRD’s irrigation rules and regulations in regards to CRP land saying that in order to be certified as irrigated a landowner must have: FSA records and/or county tax documents that show that the land was irrigated the year prior to being enrolled in a federal conservation program. Another addition is that if the land comes out of a federal program, then it must be put into irrigated production for at least two years before a water transfer would be allowed.
--Water Resources Committee- The following items were on the agenda:
1. Budget- The 2013 Fiscal Budget was reviewed and advanced to the Budget Committee.
2. Canals- Ron Bishop reported that two sizable checks would be written within the next week for the 6 Mile Canal and the 30 Mile Canal. The board authorized Olsson Associates to start the second phase as outlined in the contract for the Southside Orchard Alfalfa rehab design.
3. Water Banking- Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that purchases for the Water Bank from irrigators are slow and that the NRD is still waiting to hear back from DNR on the excess flow application that was submitted nine months ago. He also reported that CPNRD is in line to get 10 percent of the J2 Reservoir water that is currently being planned; which will provide the NRD with up to 2,000 acre/feet of water per year. He also suggested that the Western Projects Committee meet in the near future to discuss how to proceed with the proposed Elm Creek project.
4. 2-out-of-10 Rule- Director Mike Dobesh questioned whether the NRD is doing enough to be sure that producers understand the rule and whether records will be available to prove that irrigators are complying with the rule when necessary. The board directed staff to present a check mark list, timeline or options to avoid confusion in the next eight years.
5. Joint Board Mtg- The Twin Platte and Central Platte NRDs will hold a joint board meeting on May 9 in Kearney. The agenda will include a presentation by Brown and Caldwell on an extensive conjunctive management study regarding increased flows to the Platte River. The boards will discuss and possibly take action on the presentation.
--Eastern Projects Committee- Lalit Jha, JEO, requested approval of a modified Scope of Services contract for the Prairie/Silver/Moores flood control project. The new contract was approved by the board.
--U.S. Senator Conference Call- During the board meeting, directors spoke with U.S. Senator Ben Nelson via conference call regarding the Farm Bill.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist of Grand Island, reported on work being done by the NRCS and NRD staff to provide LIDAR technology throughout the District and possibly the entire state. LIDAR is used to determine topography, slopes and land classes. Huntwork said he hopes to have a cost estimate at the next board meeting. Mike Pavel of Kearney, reported on projects that the Kearney field office are working on.
--Lawsuit- Ron Bishop reported that a lawsuit has been filed against the NRD by Jim Riley in the District Court of Buffalo County. Riley’s allegation is that 5.9 acres of property that he acquired was previously irrigated and that the NRD is not allowing those acres to be irrigated.
--Legislative Wrap-Up- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, reported that the Legislature adjourned Sine Die on April 18th of the 60-day session. Natural resources bills affecting the Central Platte NRD that passed the Legislature and were approved by Governor Heineman were LB391e, LB 526e, LB 743, LB950/950Ae, and LB 1125e. Moravek said study sessions for LR 554/556, LR 539, and LR 608 would also be of interest to the District.
--Cooperative Hydrology Study- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the committee recently put out proposals for contract bids to look at land use acres from 2006-2010. The new data sets will be extensive, including 27 land types and uses. Woodward said previous land use sets put together go back to the 1950s.
--Cost Share- 12 applications were approved for cost share: Soil & Water Conservation Program- planned grazing ($900); CPNRD applications: 2 flow meters ($1,000) and 9 well decommissioning applications ($8,750). The total approved for both cost share programs was $10,650.
(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- Two new cost share programs were approved by the Central Platte Natural Resources District board of directors at their monthly meeting on Thursday. Beginning July 1, 2012, the NRD will cost share on cover crops and soil moisture sensors. The purpose of cost sharing on cover crops is to manage soil fertility and quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in agro-ecosystems. Directors supported cost sharing on high intensity soil moisture sensors, which will measure water content in soil, because it is a good management tool for the operator and it will also provide three years of data from the probe. Both of these programs are to provide an opportunity for landowners to try the management practices to see how effective they will be in their operations. For more information, contact Kelly Cole at the NRD (308) 385-6282.
The board also approved 10 of 31 college scholarship applications received. The NRD provides $1,000 to students majoring in natural resources career. Priority is given to students already attending college who are successful in their natural resources studies. Awardees: Courtney Anthony, UNL; Kristen Harders, South Dakota School of Mines & Tech; Travis Line, Colby Community College; Jonathan Royle, Chadron State College; Noel Bruner, Shelton High School; Anastasia Johnson, UNL; Amanda Hefner, UNL; Nicholas Herbig, UNL; Alec Ibach, UNL; Tyler Plejdrup, UNL.
--Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The board approved an application form for the area that may be opened up for 1,100 acres of new irrigation below Chapman, NE. As part of the District’s Integrated Management Plan, the board approved the area to be opened up last month; however, the Plan is pending the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) approval. A decision by the NDNR is expected within 30 days.
--Committee Budgets- The Eastern, Western and Programs committees reviewed proposed 2013 fiscal budgets and will advance them to the budget committee.
--Canals- Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that the Executive Committee awarded the low bid of $299,058.00 for 1.5 miles of clearing on the Thirty Mile Canal rehabilitation to Ho Chunk, South Sioux City, NE.. The bid letting for this first phase of the project was held on March 1st. Ho Chunk was awarded the first phase of canal work for the Cozad Ditch Company’s rehabilitation in December.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist of Grand Island, reported that the Ogallala Aquifer/Platte River Recovery Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) Project received a FY 2012 fund allocation of $389,000.00. The project is in year 3 of 5 and included a fund request of $2,000,000.00 for each year of the 5-year project. The Central Platte NRD has one application approved for 21.8 acres in the amount of $11,445. Huntwork also reported that NRCS is putting together a proposal to determine what it will cost to fly over the area needed in the District using Lidar technology.
--Ice Jam- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, reported that seven partners have deposited $37,000 in an emergency fund to use in the case of an ice jam on the Platte River this spring. The partners include Central Platte NRD and Tri-Basin NRDs, and the counties of Phelps, Buffalo, Merrick, Polk, and Hamilton. The counties of Hall, Dawson and Platte did not approve the Interlocal Agreement and would not be eligible for help if an emergency arises.
--Legislative Update- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, reported that the only action that will affect the NRD is LB 526e; which the NRDs supported. The bill changes provisions for water transfers.
--PPRIP- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program’s Governance Committee recent meeting in Kearney. He said the Program is closing in on the first increment land goal of 10,000 acres. As of earlier this month, the Program had under contract a total of 9,527 acres and plans to excess, or dispose of around 379 acres, leaving only around 852 additional acres to meet their goal.
Czaplewski said that some uncertainty remains with near-term federal funding of the Program, but the Committee has plans in place to deal with such circumstances including not expending at the rate previously anticipated. The current budget will more heavily utilize unspent funds from past years budgets and state of Colorado and Wyoming dollars. Funding priorities are beginning to focus more on major Water Plan Projects including the proposed J2 Reregulating Reservoir; which would be owned and operated by the CNPPID. If constructed, one-quarter of the water-related benefits of that project (estimated to be nearly 41,000 ac/ft) would be held by the State of Nebraska and would be available to help meet the state’s Program water goals.
Czaplewski also reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released some of the Environmental Account water available to them from Lake McConaughy in an effort to improve downstream habitat for threatened and endangered species including maintenance of the channel and recharge to wet meadows. Releases started in late February and continued through early March. They have plans to make additional releases including spring and fall releases for whooping cranes and summer flows for least terns and piping plovers. Channel restrictions related to a “choke point” in the river near North Platte continue to hamper the passage of flows they hope to deliver to the central Platte. The Program continues to work on how to deal with the choke point issue. The PRRIP has liability insurance in place in the event of any associated damages related to the flow release.
--Cost Share- The board approved 24 applications for cost share. Soil & Water Conservation Program application: underground pipeline for $4,060. CPNRD applications: 1 center pivot applications for $7,500; 2 streambank stabilization for $5,750; 5 tree cost share for $4,693.38; 1 flow meter for $500, 1 prescribed burn for $1,478; and 13 well decommissioning applications for $12,000 through the Central Platte NRD Cost Share programs. Total approved for both cost share programs: $35,981.38.
--Public Hearings- Directors took action to approve changes to both the Integrated Management Plan and the NRD’s irrigation Rules & Regulations. Changes to the plans will not take effect until official approval from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, which is expected within the next 60 days. The major change in both plans opens up the area east of Chapman; which is defined as the area with impacts to the Platte River below Chapman within the CPNRD, to new limited irrigation. (MAP) Landowners in the area may apply for new irrigated acres from February 28-April 15. An application is available on the NRD website and available by calling the NRD office. Due to the potential number of applications and limited application time period, the NRD requests that no appointments be made. Applicants will be responsible for completing and submitting all required materials. Since the DNR has not officially approved the plans, the opening up of this area is pending approval and none of the applications will be approved until the Central Platte NRD receives approval from the DNR.
Radio Sponsorship: The board approved sponsorship of $5,000 with the Upper Republican and other NRDs for a 30-second spot that will run on KRVN, KFAB and KLIN for six months.
2013 Budgets: The committee approved the information/education proposed budget and will forward it to the Budget Committee. They also discussed the proposed cost share budget and will continue to work on it at the March committee meeting.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist of Grand Island, reported that staff are currently working through the process of obligating Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts in accordance with available program funding and associated application ranking scores. Following is a summary of applications received, the requested fund total, and application treatment acres for each NRCS Field Office in the CPNRD. The current EQIP fund allocation for the CPNRD is $600,483.00.
# of Applications
--UNL Request for Landowner Information- The board approved the attorney’s recommendation to provide information to UNL in separate databases for research, surveys and possible interviews. The databases will include landowner name and addresses in one database and crop and field information in a separate database.
--Legislation Update- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, reported on the following bills:
LB 526e- Senator Carlson’s priority bill, on select file with emergency clause. Ron Bishop said this bill would benefit the NRD by allowing the transfer of both consumptive use and recharge water from Six Mile Canal to Thirty Mile Canal. Currently only consumptive use can be transferred.
LB 653- Senator Christiansen’s priority bill, would allow an inter-basin transfer without a permit from the Department of Natural Resources in times of flooding.
LB950- Senator Christiansen’s bill, which proposes to redirect any payments from the Republican Basin NRDs to the Water Resources Cash Fund rather than the Water Contingency Cash Fund after the bill becomes law. The bill is supported by the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation.
--Cost Share- The board approved 18 applications for cost share including: 1 center pivot applications at $6,843.22; 1 streambank stabilization at $3,000; 3 tree apps at $3,784.89 and 13 well decommissioning applications at $11,500. Total approved for the cost share programs is $25,128.11.
--Upcoming Board Meetings- Board of directors meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month. Upcoming dates: March 22, April 26, May 24.
(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- On Thursday the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors took action on several significant items. The first item approved was changes to the Integrated Management Plan; which the NRD developed with the Department of Natural Resources to better manage groundwater and surface water in the District. The changes set up a new area of groundwater management consisting of those areas within the NRD whose groundwater impacts the Platte River below Chapman, NE (parts of northern Hall County, Howard, Nance, Platte, Polk, and all of Merrick County except the southwest corner) within the Central Platte NRD.
In the new management area, variances will still be required to irrigate lands not already certified as irrigated, but offsets to depletions to the Platte River caused by new irrigation will not have to be made at the time of the variance is granted and will only have to be made in the future if the state (DNR) determines that a downstream surface water user or groundwater user are being negatively impacted by that new use.
--Water Resources Committee- In addition to the IMP, the committee had recommendations for the board on the following:
2. Criteria/ Rules & Regulations: The new management area in the IMP will be included in the Rules and Regulations. Criteria has been developed to provide a ranking system to be used for approving variances in the new management area. These changes can be found on the NRD’s website at: www.cpnrd.org and copies are also available at the NRD office in Grand Island or by calling (308) 385-6282. Note: A public hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. on February 23, 2012, for the proposed changes to both the IMP and the Rules and Regulations.
3. 30 Mile Canal: The board took action to approve the agreement to acquire 50 percent interest in the Canal. The NRD will share management, income and expense responsibilities. Benefits for the NRD include the transfer of water rights to aide in getting the over-appropriated
area of the District back to a fully appropriated status as required by LB 962 and the Platte River Program. This will satisfy requirements without having to regulate landowners. Benefits for the canal shareholders are to generate adequate income to maintain their project through the rehabilitation of the Canal.
4. Southside Irrigation Co. (Orchard/Alfalfa): The board approved a management/lease agreement, similar to the arrangement with Cozad Canal Co. The agreement is contingent on approval of the Southside shareholders; who are considering becoming an Irrigation District which would allow the NRD to develop interlocal agreements with them.
--Elections- The board elected Alicia Haussler as treasurer of the board and Jim Bendfeldt as secretary of the board. The board also elected Jim Bendfeldt as NARD board member with Bill Vasey as alternate. Vasey has been the NARD director for 8 years and felt that someone else should have the opportunity to serve in that position, but requested that he remain alternate.
--Cozad Rehab- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, showed photographs of the construction progress of the Cozad Canal rehabilitation and said that it’s going well. Ho Chunk Builders has been removing trees and grading the side slopes of the canal. (Photos attached.)
--Thirty Mile Canal Bid Docs- Kent Cordes, Miller & Associates, provided an update on the bidding schedule for the project. Phase I will consist of 12+ miles of channel clearing and grading; split into five bid packages. The board approved the bid date of February 20, 2012, with contracts to be awarded on February 23rd. Cordes said ideally March 1- April 1 would be beginning construction date, however; the area has been designated as habitat for the American Burying Beetle (an endangered species.) If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission find that construction would disturb the beetles habitat, then construction would likely start in October 2012. The area is also subject to the Migratory Bird Act which wouldn’t allow tree removal from April 1- September 30.
--Land Acquisition- Moravek reported that due to the recent increase in land prices, there has been no activity to acquire land for the Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project dams. A reappraisal has been completed on all properties and will be sent to landowners next week.
--Committee Sign-Ups- Directors selected two committees to serve on in 2012. The following were voted in as chairman for the committees: Water Resources- Jay Richeson, Eastern Projects-Mick Reynolds, Western Projects-Dick Mercer, Programs-Bob Schanou.
--COHYST- Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the Cooperative Hydrology Study is being calibrated and verified. He said a focus area has been established to evaluate where calibration issues need attention and they will start adding drought period information soon. A peer review is scheduled for March 2012.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist of Grand Island, reported that the NRCS staff is currently working through the process of offering Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contract offers to high ranking applications. The contract fund obligation deadline for the initial allocation is February 21, 2012. Huntwork provided the following timeline associated with other EQIP application fund code administration for FY 2012:
February 3: Organic Initiative, High Tunnel Initiative, On-Farm Energy, Ogallala Initiative, existing AWEP, WHIP and National Water Quality Initiative—1st application cutoff date.
February 21: Unobligated local funds may be swept by State Office for redistribution.
March 30: Organic Initiative, High Tunnel Initiative, On-Farm Energy, Ogallala Initiative, existing AWEP, WHIP & National Water Quality Initiative—2nd application cutoff date.
April 1: Unobligated funds may be swept by NHQ for redistribution in all programs.
June 1: Organic Initiative, High Tunnel Initiative, On-Farm Energy, Ogallala Initiative, existing AWEP, WHIP and National Water Quality Initiative—3rd application cutoff date.
--Legislation- Milt Moravek reported that there aren’t many natural resources bills to watch this session, with Central Platte NRD’s LB 484 unlikely to make it out of committee for discussion. Dick Mercer, director, said other bills to watch include LB 975, LB 1076 and LB 1134.
--Programs Committee- The committee discussed adding new practices to the cost share program but took no action.
--Cost Share- The board approved 44 applications for cost share. Soil & Water Conservation Program applications: amendment and range seeding for $3,123.09. CPNRD applications: 8 center pivot applications for $53,078; 1 streambank stabilization for $3,000; 13 tree cost share for $11,507.29; 3 flow meters for $1,500 and 17 well decommissioning applications for $18,750 through the Central Platte NRD Cost Share programs. Total approved for both cost share programs totaled $90,958.38.
--November Election- Filing date for incumbents in February 15; for non-incumbents it’s March 1.
CONTACT: Ron Bishop -General Manager | Milt Moravek -Assistant Manager | Marcia Lee- Information/Education Specialist