CPNRD has Met Post-1997 Management Goals

April 9, 2024

March 28, 2024

Shellpeper Reports that Central Platte NRD has Met Post-1997 Management Goals

Jennifer Shellpeper, Water Planning Division Manager with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, updated the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Board of Directors on Nebraska’s Upper Platte Basin Robust Review at their monthly meeting held on March 28, 2024.

The Robust Review includes water use activities and management activities to fulfill the goals and objectives of the Upper Platte Basin-Wide Plan and the Upper Platte Basin individual NRD Integrated Management Plans. The incorporation of post-1997 changes in production practices and new irrigated acres into the water budget is a significant aspect of the review, with projections extending to 2070.

Shellpeper reported that CPNRD’s management practices have been effective, with the results of the extensive models showing that CPNRD has reached and exceeded the established targets with no additional management needed.

Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, said CPNRD is “Sitting in a good position and we’ll continue to monitor our groundwater uses and availability.”


Manager’s Report  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported the following:
-Nitrogen Management Deadline Extended  The annual Nitrogen Management crop report deadline has been extended through April 30th due to the change in the reporting format this year. The extension is attributed to a change in the reporting format, which has caused overload issues on the submission site.

-Jim Macy, NDEE, Retirement  Director Macy announced his retirement from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy effective April 17th. Macy has been the director for the past 9 years, Thad Fineran will serve as the Interim Director. Fineran is currently chief of staff to the adjutant general for the Nebraska National Guard. A national recruitment firm has been hired to conduct a search for a new director.

-Alda Crane Deck  Rehabilitation of the Alda Crane Deck and walking path will begin in April. Vogt said the timing of the construction is unfortunate, but necessary, with the Nebraska Environmental Trust grant expiring June 30, 2024. Permitting of the project, which is out of CPNRD’s hands, took over a year.

-Integrated Water Management Specialist  The Integrated Water Management Specialist position will be advertised again since the individual who accepted the position, has since changed their mind.

-Agronomist Position  The CPNRD is still attempting to fill the Agronomist position. The 3-year position, shared with UNL, was created to assist in gathering data to support federal cropping models.

Variance/Appeals Committee  The Board denied a variance request from a landowner in Merrick County.

Programs Committee  The Committee’s agenda included:
-Visit Kearney Request:  Sarah Focke, Tourism and Convention Manager, requested $25,000 to develop a wildlife exhibit within the Kearney Visitors Bureau’s new office and visitor center, currently under construction. This exhibit would aim to educate visitors about the natural environment and wildlife in Central Nebraska and Kearney. The Committee will review the request and present a recommendation to the Board in April.

-2025 FY Budgets: Reviewed recommendations for Cost Share Programs and the Information/Education budgets. The cost-share recommendations will be reviewed again in April and the Information/Education budget will be forwarded to the Budget Committee.

Violation Report  Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that 48 of the 50 violation letters that were mailed in February have responded and are working towards compliance with CPNRD’s Groundwater Management Program. Zakrzewski said 20 of the violations have been fully resolved.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)  Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported that NRCS and CPNRD recently held their FY2025 Local Working Group (LWG) meeting. The Local Working Group recommends to the NRCS State Conservationist how conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) would be used most effectively in their area. Krolikowski said that after reviewing the current cost-share programs available to producers, the recommendation was to continue with all the current programs available. The demand for financial assistance has remained high relative to available funds, so the recommendation was to implement gradual adjustments in some payment rates to provide access to the available funds.

Jason Scholz, Resources Conservationist, Grand Island Field Office, reported on the following programs:
-Environmental Quality and Incentives Program (EQIP) – Ranking deadline coming up April 5th

-Conservation Stewarship Program (CSP) – Deadline to apply for CSP renewals is May 3rd

-Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – Contracting wrapping up for IRA EQIP and CSP, with limited chances for slippage. Practices deemed to be climate-smart or supporting climate-smart practices. The application deadline is March 31st

-Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – General Signup deadline March 29th. The Grassland CRP signup is  April 29-May 24

-Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Funding available for projects for cover crops, irrigation system conversions and forestry practices. The ranking deadline April 5th

-Upcoming  Scholz reported that the Field Office will begin:
• Annual National Food Security Act Manual (NFSAM) status reviews for HEL/Wetland compliance
• Application cutoff time periods are typically in the fall, applications are taken year-round.
• Irrigation design reviews and checkouts for cost-shared irrigation systems.

Nebraska Association of Resources District  Mick Reynolds reported that he attended the NARD Board meeting as a substitute for Deb VanMatre, CPNRD Representative. The NARD Board elected the following new officers: Marty Graff, NARD President (Ainsworth); Ryan Reuter, NARD Vice President (Minatare); Mason Hoffman, NARD Secretary-Treasurer (Juniata); Dr. Orval Gigstad, NARD Past President (Syracuse); Managers Committee Chairman, J. Scott Sobotka, general manager of the Lower Big Blue NRD (Beatrice).

VanMatre provided an update on the NARD’s annual legislative conference held in Washington D.C., where attendees engaged with Nebraska’s representatives to address water and other funding initiatives. Representatives from CPNRD, including VanMatre, Jesse Mintken (Assistant Manager), Kelly Cole (Administrative Assistant), and Angela Warner (GIS Coordinator), participated in the discussions.

Cost-Share Applications  The Board approved 11 applications through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs for $39,556.35. Practices approved included burn preparation, tree planting, grazing deferment, soil moisture sensors, flow meters and well decommissioning.

2025 FY Budget  The Eastern Projects and Western Projects committees reviewed their 2025 preliminary budgets. The committees will meet again in April.

Upcoming Board Meetings  April 25, May 23, June 27
Central Platte NRD’s Board of Directors meetings are held at 2:00 p.m. at the CPNRD office located at 215 Kaufman Ave in Grand Island.