April 27 Board Meeting

April 28, 2023


Central Platte NRD Board Selects Search Committee for Sub-District 8
At their monthly meeting on Thursday, the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Board of Directors selected Keith Ostermeier, Alicia Haussler, Charles Maser, Mick Reynolds and Jerry Milner to serve as the Search Committee to fill the vacancy in Sub-District 8, previously held by LeRoy Arends of Grand Island. Arends passed away in March and had been a director on the Board since 2005. Sub-District 8 is located in Grand Island, a map of the area is available at The position is for a two-year term to end in December 2024. Those interested may send a letter to the CPNRD or contact Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, at (308) 385-6282 or email

-Groundwater Management Plan  The Board approved proposed changes to the CPNRD’s Groundwater Management Plan and set a public hearing for Thursday, May 25, 2023, at 1:45 p.m.  The hearing will be held just prior to the May Board meeting at the CPNRD Office located at 215 Kaufman Ave in Grand Island. A full-text of the rewritten plan is available at or can be requested by calling (308) 385-6282. Substantial Changes Include:
1) Water Quantity Phase I trigger will change to a range of 0-25% of the Maximum Acceptable Decline (MAD). Phase II would apply to any area with declines greater than 25% of the MAD. Phase III would be changed to 50% decline in water levels relative to the MADs. If water levels in a given GWMA continued to decline and reached 75% of the MAD, the GWMA would be at a Phase IV level. A Phase V designation would be implemented if that MAD is 100% reached or exceeded.

2) The preferred option for groundwater quantity management controls related to each phase is measuring devices and a limit on the volume of groundwater pumped. Phase I has no additional management requirements. Phase II remains as is with limitations on transfers and supplemental wells. When the Phase III trigger is reached, measurement devices will be required on all active irrigation wells in the GWMA, and the owner or operator of every active well will be required to report annual water usage to the CPNRD. At the Phase IV trigger, CPNRD would allocate groundwater use to prevent the GWMA from reaching the MAD. If the initial allocation is insufficient to prevent reaching the MAD, and that MAD is reached or exceeded, this would trigger a Phase V designation, requiring a reduction of the allocation.

3) Ground Water Management Areas 7 and 9 were subdivided due to differences in irrigation development that have occurred across those GWMAs.

4) Water Quality Phase III trigger will be lowered to 10.1 ppm nitrate. Phase I remains 0-7.5 ppm, Phase II will be 7.6 to 10.0 ppm and Phase III will be 10.1 ppm and above. Phase IV remains an area where nitrate concentrations are not decreasing.

-College Scholarships  The Board approved the top five applicants for the CPNRD-Ron Bishop Memorial College Scholarship Program to receive $1,000 scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year. The awardees include: Emma Ziemba of Kearney, Dawson Kosmicki of Cairo, Ty Swanson of Wood River, Madelyn Graham of Grand Island, and MacKenzie Smith of Kearney. The Central Platte NRD’s scholarship program awards scholarships for up to five college students annually. Applicants must be a college junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in a natural resources course of study at an accredited college or university.

-Violation Reports  Tricia Dudley, Water Quality Specialist, reported that 61 producers are in violation of the CPNRD’s Nitrogen Management Program for not submitting annual reports, water samples, and/or soil samples. The Board authorized issuing cease and desist orders to the violators.  Two repeat violators have been fined by the court for 2021 and 2022 violations including William Soll ($5,000) and Richard Urban ($15,000).  Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that 36 of the 56 producers who received violation notices on land that was irrigated without proper certification or through a transfer are now in compliance with the CPNRD’s Rules and Regulations. Zakrzewski said he expects all the violators to follow through with necessary paperwork within the next month.

-Building Committee The Board approved Downey Drilling’s bid in the amount of $71,839.50 to drill a well at the Prairie Silver Moores Flood Reduction Project. The well will be utilized for an equipment shop and potentially for the NRD’s proposed Education Center/Office if the Board approves the proposed building when costs are available.

-Manager’s Report  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported on the following:
Update on Platte – Republican Diversion (PRD): On March 30th the appeal brief was filed for the Inter-Basin Transfer (IBT) Application Order in which the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR) dismissed CPNRD as a third party-objector. A motion was also filed to bypass the Court of Appeals to take the appeal directly to the Nebraska Supreme Court. On April 17, 2023, the petition to bypass the Court of Appeals was granted. The Attorney General’s Office will prepare and file a brief on response, allowing partners to have the opportunity to file a reply brief.  After the briefing schedule concludes in the next 4-6 months, the case will be docketed for oral argument. Partners of the appeal include Central Platte NRD, Lower Loup NRD, and Loup Public Power District.

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE):  Vogt reported that two beneficial Platte Basin meetings have been held recently with NDEE to discuss how we can assist each other with water quality concerns and on respective programs.

Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Basin Tour: CPNRD will be hosting the NARD basin tour this year. The tour will leave Kearney on June 12th and end in Kearney on June 13th. The tour will include CPNRD’s potential Nebraska Watershed & Flood Prevention Program (WFPO) projects, past and current flood control projects, the potential new office location, and the NRD’s crane viewing decks. Other sites will include the Outdoor Learning Area at the Nebraska State Fair, Bayer Water Utilization Center, Cozad Ditch Company headgates, and the Thirty Mile Irrigation District/CPNRD office.

Nebraska Research District Agronomist: Vogt reported that he has received a draft statement of work, provided by the USDA, that will provide 50% cost share for an agronomist position through UNL for three years. The focus will be on crop production, nitrogen loss, ground truthing crop, and soil models developed by the USDA Adaptive Cropping Systems Lab in Beltsville, Maryland. The modeling process hopes to develop decision support tools for producers that will be realistic, readily available, and simple to use. This position will also work with Dean Krull, UNL/CPNRD Demonstration Project Coordinator, and directly with CPNRD producers that have above-average residual nitrate results.

Vogt also reported on a USDA Conservation Collaboration Grant with Rain Water Basin Joint Venture that would assist in funding an Integrated Water Programs Coordinator. The shared position with CPNRD and Tri-Basin NRD would promote and assist in voluntary enrollment in Farm Bill Conservation Programs.

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin Representative, provided a report on the grant requests for 14 small projects ($250,000 or less) requesting a total of $2.36 million; 4 large projects ($250,000+) requesting a total of $13 million; and 1 CSO (Omaha – combined sewer overflow) project that automatically gets 10% of the appropriation. The proposed projects that qualified following the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources review have not been released.

The Commission will receive an $11 million appropriation and $2.1 million coming back from project closeouts. From the $11 million appropriation, the following are funding obligations:
• $3.623 million to fully fund a project approved last year
• $1.08 million to the CSO
• $1.08 million to the small projects (by our rules small projects get 10% of appropriation)
• $ 5.3 million to the large projects
The Commission has the discretion to apply the $2.1 million from project closeouts to large projects, small projects, or a combination of both.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Janelle Taubenheim, Resource Conservationist of Kearney, reported on two staff members: Augie Ruvalcaba will be the new soil conservation technician in Buffalo County; and Michaela Buchli, UNK graduate student who will begin working in Clay Center for NRCS in June. Taubenheim also reported on the EQIP & RCPP contract obligations in Buffalo County including:
• 3 Urban Agriculture
• Pivots: 1 EQIP|1 RCPP
• Subsurface Drip Irrigation – 4 EQIP 1 RCPP
• Wetland Restoration – 1 EQIP
• Grazing Improvements – 7 EQIP
• Range Plantings -1 EQIP
• Cover Crops – 2 RCPP
• New EQIP Practice being tested is Low Tunnels to be utilized as frost blankets, sun shade and insect netting.

Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, provided the USDA’s five-year Strategic Plan that lists the NRCS mission, vision and the following four goals: 1) support productive agriculture lands in Nebraska through addressing priority resource concerns; 2) attract, engage, and retain effective and motivated workforce proud to represent Nebraska NRCS; 3) build and utilize a conservation delivery system essential for Nebraska; 4) engage effectively with partners and customers to achieve conservation outcomes for Nebraska.

-Cost-Share  Five applications were approved for burn preparation, sensor-based management of fertigation, flow meters, tree planting, and well decommissioning through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs in the amount of $14,274.05.

-2024 FY Budget  The Eastern Projects, Western Projects and Programs committees reviewed budget recommendations for the 2024 Fiscal Year. The budgets will be forwarded to the Budget Committee.

-Upcoming Board Meetings  May 25, June 29, July 27