Sept. 28 Board Meeting

September 15, 2023

Held Thursday, September 28, 2023
Central Platte NRD Office, 215 Kaufman Ave. Grand Island NE

EA Presents Cover Crop Impact Study to Central Platte NRD Board
Dan Bigbee, Senior Environmental Scientist at EA Engineering, Science & Technology, presented the results of a cover crop study to the Central Platte NRD’s Board of Directors on Thursday. The Central Platte and Lower Loup NRDs partnered on a study to determine impacts on groundwater due to cover crop management. The Lower Loup Basin and Central Platte River Basin have diverse soil types and cropping practices that affect both water quantity and quality. The study researched the general influence of cereal rye cover crops on soil moisture, groundwater recharge, and nitrogen movement in the soil between the South Loup and Wood Rivers.  In 2019, an extended agreement was approved for a three-year study to determine the amount of water required to grow cover crops. Bigbee said the results that targeted northern Buffalo County where the Lower Loup and Central Platte NRDs have experienced localized groundwater declines, showed minimal seasonal impact of groundwater recharge on fields that implement cover crops compared to non-cover crop fields. Nitrate sampling comparing groundwater contamination on cover crop and non-cover crop fields showed a minor decrease in nitrate levels.


-Groundwater Management Rules & Regulations  The NRD’s Water Quality and Water Utilization committees reviewed draft changes to the CPNRD’s Rules & Regulations for the Enforcement of the Nebraska Groundwater Management and Protection Act. The Board scheduled a public hearing on the changes to be held at 1:45 p.m. on November 16, 2023. Approval of the proposed Rules & Regulations will be considered at the November meeting.

-Manager’s Report  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported on the following:

  • Nebraska Research District Agronomist Central Platte NRD will start advertising for a district agronomist when the agreement with UNL is finalized. The position will assist Dean Krull, UNL/CPNRD Demonstration Project Coordinator, and collect data for USDA research.
  • Integrated Programs Coordinator Andy Bishop, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, was successful in writing a grant for a shared position between the Central Platte and Tri-Basin NRDs to assist NRCS and the NRDs in promoting USDA conservation programs. The position will be advertised in the next few months.
  • B1 Reservoir Potential credit for not diverting water into B1 Reservoir near Lexington, except during excess flows, will be explored further. Vogt also reported that CPNRD was recently contacted by the Platte Basin Timelapse and the National Guard to install a camera at the reservoir to monitor wildlife.
  • MESONET The Central Platte NRD sponsors six MESONET weather stations within the District at $3,000 per year for each station. UNL and many other entities are interested in expanding the network statewide, which may result in up to 200 stations. To move forward, the project would require Legislative funding.

-Longitude 103 Contract  The Board approved a contract with Longitude 103 for ongoing support of the NRD’s current online transfer tool and the groundwater management producer reporting tool not to exceed $50,000.

-Long Range Implementation Plan  The Board approved the 2023 Long Range Implementation Plan. The Plan summarizes district activities including projections of financial, manpower, and land right needs of the district for the next five years.

-Executive Committee  The Executive Committee gave approval to staff to work with the Natural Resources Commission and Nebraska Department of Roads to potentially sell soil from the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Project to assist with a major road project in Hall County.

-Nebraska Association of Resources District (NARD)  Deb VanMatre, CPNRD Representative, reported that the NARD’s annual conference held this month was a success with over 400 people in attendance. During the Business Session, directors were encouraged to contact their County Farm Bureau delegates regarding Nebraska Farm Bureau’s proposed policy to introduce a Legislative Bill to take taxing authority away from Natural Resource Districts. If introduced as a Legislative Bill and approved by the Legislature, the NRDs would no longer be able to use local funding sources to match state grants to provide municipal protection for flood reduction, water quality, water use management, etc. The survey is available at VanMatre also provided a survey from those who attended the Basin Tour in the Central Platte NRD. Vogt said the tour was well-received.

-Service Awards  At the NARD Annual Conference, Dan Clement, Water Resources Specialist, and Deb Jarzynka, District Secretary were recognized for 35 years of service to the Central Platte NRD.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported on the FY 2023 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) activities in the CPNRD. Krolikowski reported that the FY 2024 application deadline is November 17, 2023.  Jason Scholz, Resource Conservationist, provided the following activity report for Hall County:

Federally funded programs/practice types

  • Irrigation conversions/dryland total 516 acres for $243,882
  • CRP 60.5 Ac general, 503 acres grassland
  • CSP Total of 5,100 acres to implement multiple different activities. Examples include Nutrient/pest management, cover crops, grazing practices, adding a resource conserving crop, etc. for $400,000.

NRD funded programs/practice types

  • Windbreak plantings five cost share tree plantings for $6,632.
  • Irrigation conversion total 529 acres treated for $49,877.
  • Rangeland improvements 38 acres cedar clearing for $3,031.

Combined funding and total acres

  • Irrigation related projects 1,044 acres treated total cost of $293,759.
  • Rangeland improvement 38 acres cedars cleared for $3,031.
  • CRP 564 acres combined enrollment.
  • CSP 5,100 acres treated for $400,000 for various activities to be implemented.
  • Windbreak Plantings five tree planting plans, usually around .5 acre per planting.
  • Over 6,700 acres covered through financial assistance for various conservation activities.

-Cost-Share  Seven applications for range management, underground pipe, center pivot incentive, streambank stabilization and cover crops were approved in the amount of $21,906.10 through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and Central Platte NRD cost-share programs.

-Upcoming Board Meetings  October 26, November 16, December 21