Board of Directors Meeting
February 23, 2023 | 215 Kaufman Ave Grand Island NE 68803
Central Platte NRD to Move Forward with Bids for Proposed Education/Office Building
The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Board of Directors approved a contract with JEO in the amount of $470,425 to complete construction documents and bidding/negotiation on the proposed education/office building at the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Flood Reduction (PSM) site northwest of Grand Island. Based on the schematic design and design development, the new office building will be approximately 20,000 square feet in size on the main level with a lower level to match. The final design and bids are expected to be received in approximately six months. CPNRD has $1.7 million available from funds received through the Nebraska Natural Resources Development Fund for the PSM project that were approved by the Commission to be utilized for an education center in October 2022. The Board’s monthly meeting was held on February 23, 2023, at the CPNRD office located at 215 Kaufman Avenue in Grand Island, NE.
-Variance/Appeal Committee The board approved a request from a landowner to transfer water rights from Hall County within the area of the Loup Basin influence, to Howard County within the Loup Basin, pending approval from the Lower Loup Natural Resources District.
-Violation Report Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that 56 landowners/producers irrigated land totaling 321.7 acres that wasn’t certified, or approved for irrigation through a transfer in 2022. CPNRD has utilized infrared imagery to identify new irrigated areas in the District since 2004 to manage water uses, including the expansion of irrigated acres. The largest violation was 31.56 acres and the smallest violation was less than one acre. 19 of the violations are in Groundwater Management Areas that are in a declining status. Five of the landowners have had previous violations.
-Sensor Based Program The Board approved a new Sensor Based Management of Fertigation Cost Share Program for the 2023 growing season. The program will provide $11 per acre with a two-year commitment and a maximum of two fields or 320 acres. The goal of the cost-share is to provide financial assistance for landowners/operators to utilize a service that delivers real-time, imagery-based nutrient recommendations directly to users throughout the growing season; encouraging efficient management of nitrogen to address water quality management concerns in the District. To be eligible, land must be pivot or SDI irrigated with priority given to those using a chemigation system. Visit CPNRD’s website at cpnrd.org/cost share or contact the CPNRD at (308) 385-6282 to sign up for the program.
-Manager’s Report Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported on the following:
-Assistant Manager’s Report Jesse Mintken, Assistant Manager, gave an update on current projects including flood reduction studies. These studies are in the initial two-year phase of the process to outline projects that could benefit the watersheds. Learn more about the projects at: cpnrd.org/flood-reduction/in-the-works:
-Programs Budget The Programs Committee discussed budget items for the NRD’s 2023/2024 cost-share and information/education programs and will review final numbers in April.
-Natural Resources Conservation Service Carrie Thompson, Resource Conservationist of Lexington, showed photos of prescribed burn preparation in Dawson County. Thompson reported that upcoming prescribed burns to encourage rangeland restoration include three producers deferring their rangeland in preparation for burning in 2024 totaling 834 acres. Future burns: in 2025- 1 burn for 993 acres; in 2026- 1 burn for 550 acres; in 2027- 1 burn for 2,240 acres. Funding provided through CPNRD- NSWCP funds, CPNRD Prescribed Burn Cost-Share and the new Grassland Conservation Grant.
Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making funding available for agricultural producers and forest landowners nationwide to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided an additional $19.5 billion over five years for climate smart agriculture through several of the conservation programs that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) implements. NRCS is making available $850 million in fiscal year 2023 for its oversubscribed conservation programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
The IRA funding includes an additional $8.45 billion for EQIP, $4.95 billion for RCPP, $3.25 billion for CSP, and $1.4 billion for ACEP. The increased funding levels begin in fiscal year 2023 and rapidly build over four years. These additional investments are estimated to help hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers apply conservation to millions of acres of land. Additionally, the IRA provides $300 million to quantify carbon sequestration and greenhouse gases (GHG) through the collection and use of field-based data to assess conservation outcomes. Information gained will be used to improve practices and technical assistance to customers. To apply, contact your local USDA NRCS office.
-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin Representative, reported that applications will be accepted from March 16-31 through the Water Sustainability Fund. He also reported that there are two vacancies on the Commission for a groundwater representative and a public power representative. The positions are Governor-appointed.
-Cost-Share Applications for well decommissioning, center pivot incentive, planned grazing, prescribed burns, urban forestry and tree planting practices were approved in the amount of $59,417.90 through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs.
-Upcoming Board Meetings The Board changed the March and June meetings to the fifth Thursday of the month. Upcoming meeting will be held March 30, April 27, May 25 and June 29.