Action_January Board Meeting

January 27, 2023

Bendfeldt Steps Down from Central Platte NRD Board   –   January 26, 2023

(GRAND ISLAND, NE) –  Jim Bendfeldt, Director on the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) Board,  stepped down for personal reasons at their monthly meeting on Thursday. Bendfeldt was a very active member for the 17 years he served on the Board. In September 2022, he was inducted into the NRD Hall of Fame by the Nebraska Association of Resources District (NARD) for his significant contributions to improving the state’s natural resources.  In 2007, Bendfeldt initiated the idea to implement the first water bank in Nebraska and donated 2.4 acre-feet to start the first transaction. He was one of the first in Kearney, Nebraska, to successfully implement conservation practices providing reductions in soil moisture loss, fuel needs, soil erosion and irrigation scheduling.

Bendfeldt was elected in 2005 to Subdistrict 5 to replace John Tarrell. He has served on the NRD’s Western Projects, Water Quality, Variance, Budget, Executive, Integrated Management, Water Banking, Programs, Policy and Building committees, and on the NARD Board of Directors. Bendfeldt was elected Secretary from 2009-2012, Vice-Chairman from 2013-2016 and Chairman from 2017-2020.

He also announced that he had removed himself from the NARD Board of Directors. Deb VanMatre, of Gibbon, was elected to represent Central Platte NRD on the NARD Board.

Mick Reynolds, Deb VanMatre, Lon Bohn, and Ryan Kegley were selected to serve on a Search Committee to recommend board members for Bendfeldt’s replacement. Subdistrict 5 is located in southern Buffalo County from Kearney to the eastern Buffalo-Hall County line. The NRD will advertise for candidates and letters of interest will be accepted until February 20, 2023. The Executive Committee will interview potential board members and make a recommendation to the board at the March meeting. Those interested in applying may contact Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, at (308) 385-6282 or send their letter of interest to

-Board Officer Election  Mick Reynolds, of Wood River, was elected Chairman of the Board and Jerry Wiese, of Grand Island, was elected Vice-Chairman. Both have served one of their eligible two terms. In December, the Nominating Committee recommended that Reynolds and Wiese serve their second consecutive terms.

-Committee Signups  Board members selected two committees to serve on for 2023. Committee chairmen include Lon Bohn, Water Quality; Doug Reeves, Programs; Brian Keiser, Western Projects; Tom Downey, Water Utilization; and Ed Stoltenberg, Eastern Projects.

-Groundwater Management Plan  The Board approved an amendment to compensate Olsson up to $5,000 for finalizing updates to the NRD’s Groundwater Management Plan.

-Amended Easement Requirement  The Board approved an amendment to remove the ‘no deep-rooted’ clause on sub-irrigated dryland crops for permanent conservation easements. To make the change on current contracts, funding partners including CPNRD, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Environmental Trust, would need to agree to the amendment on the individual conservation easement contracts.

-Nebraska Classroom Resolution  The board approved adopting and entering into a Declaration of Trust to become a participant of the Nebraska CLASS Trust for the purpose of Central Platte NRD to jointly invest money with other public agencies to enhance investment earnings.

-Platte-Republican Diversion  The Board ratified CPNRD’s Executive Committee decision to appeal the no standing determination by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR) regarding the Platte to Republican Basin High Flow Diversion Project.

-Building Committee  The Building Committee provided additional information on the proposed new education center and office. No action will be taken until the full board has had the appropriate information to review for at least a month and has had the opportunity to have their questions addressed.

-Manager’s Report  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, provided reports on the following:
Board Retreat  The board retreat will be February 9, 2023, at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island.

Perkins County Canal CPNRD staff has participated in three meetings with senators and Governor Pillen to review the Perkins County Canal proposal and what it means for the State. The South Platte River Coalition and NeDNR have visited with approximately two-thirds of the senators. The Governor is in support of moving forward and has included the funds for the project in his budget recommendation to the legislature.

Violations  William Soll is out of compliance with the Water Quality Management Program. A complaint was filed in the Polk County District Court on Dec 21, 2022.  He has until February 6th to respond.  Richard Urban is in compliance with CPNRD’s Groundwater Quality Program but violated the Court’s previous order. CPNRD filed an additional order on December 6, 2022, for Urban’s irrigation violations. He owes an additional $5,000 for his violations of the judge’s order.

108th Legislative Session  The Legislative session began January 4th and runs until June 9th. January 18th was the last day for bill introduction.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Jacob Kendrick, Resource Conservationist, reported the following for the Central City field office:
EQIP Applications  Merrick County has 54 applications targeting irrigation water use, soil health and grazing systems including 27 center pivot conversions, 13 subsurface drip conversions, 4 cover crops and 5 livestock system developments.
Central City Staff  Laura Rubeck, Soil Conservationist, was introduced to the Board. Rubeck has been employed with NRCS for several years. She has a Masters degree in Agronomy, specializing in Range and Forage Science from UNL; and is the incoming President for the Society of Range Management Nebraska Section.
Eastern Nebraska Soil Health Conference will be held at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center on February 9, 2023, in Ithaca, NE. The conference will include presentations by Green Cover, UNL, ISU, Local Growers with topics on interseeding cover crops, grazing cover crops and biochar as a soil amendment. RSVP by Feb 4th @

Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, provided a summary of the FY 2023 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) initial allocations to each Natural Resources District in Nebraska; with CPNRD’s allocation estimated at $579,385. He reported that NRCS has begun preparing the applications for assessment and ranking that were received by the November 18th application cutoff date. The ranking deadline for all eligible applications in the state and special initiative ranking pools is set for January 31st and the ranking deadline for local ranking pools is set for February 21st. Following the ranking of these applications, contract offers will be extended immediately to the highest ranked applications so that fund obligation can be completed as early as possible in FY 2023. Currently the obligation deadline for all approved applications is set for April 1st.

-Cost-Share  Applications for center pivot incentive, burn preparation, tree planting and well decommissioning through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs were approved for funding in the amount of $69,724.93.

-Upcoming Events
Board Meetings
 February 23, March 23, April 27

Central Platte NRD’s annual Water Programs Update

9:30 – 2:30 on Thursday, February 16, 2023
Merrick County Youth & Ag Education Center, 1784 Fairgrounds Rd, Central City
No registration fee, lunch will be provided with an RSVP. Attendance replaces the requirement to take the Nitrogen Management Certification Test for producers in Phases I/II the NRD’s Groundwater Quality Management Program.
Continuing Education Credits Available
-Professional Water Well Contractors License through the Nebraska Health & Human Services
-Soil & Water Management credentials for Certified Crop Advisors

9:30  Welcome: Lyndon Vogt, General Manager
9:40  Groundwater Management Plan Updates: Courtney Widup Water Resources Technician
10:05   Drainage Law Landowner vs Renter Responsibilities: Don Blankenau, Attorney
10:45   Water Quantity Update: Luke Zakrzewski- GIS Image Analyst
11:20    Water Quality & Nitrogen Use: Central Platte NRD Staff
12:00   Lunch
12:45   Nitrogen Management Timeline Fertigation Trials: UNL/CPNRD Sentinel Fertigation
Dean Krull, UNL Demo Project Coordinator; Taylor Cross, UNL Graduate Research Student; James Herrick, Implementation Specialist
1:15      Landowner Testimonial Transition to Data-Driven Fertigation, Noah Seim, Seim Farms
2:00   2023 Weather Outlook, Martha Durr-State Climatologist
**RSVP with Marcia Lee, Information/Education Specialist, by February 10th |  (308) 385-6282  |