Central Platte NRD Board Approves 2023 FY Budget
The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s Board of Directors approved the 2023 budget of expenditures as advertised. Total requirements for the general fund and sinking fund are $28,448,376.11. Based on the balances on hand and estimated revenue the required property tax would be $4,395,462.13 which would be an increase of $411,839.44 from last year. The NRD Board anticipates an approximate 3.5% increase in the district’s total valuation but will not have that information from the 11 county assessors until August 20th. If we base the property tax request on last year’s valuation plus 3.5%, the levy for FY 2022/2023 would be approximately 0.023662 compared to last year’s levy of 0.022196. The public hearing to set the levy will be held at 1:45 p.m. on September 1st, just prior the August board meeting which is being held a week later to accommodate public notice requirements. Central Platte NRD’s Board of Directors meetings are held at 2:00 p.m. at the NRD office located at 215 Kaufman Avenue in Grand Island, Nebraska.
-Alda Crane Viewing Site The Board approved a contract in the amount of $58,290 with JEO Consulting to develop a final design, and permitting and construction services for boardwalk improvement features, parking lot paving/expansion, trail replacement details, and fishing access for the Alda Crane Viewing site along the Platte River near Alda, Nebraska. This project received $250,000 in grant funding from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) administered through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and $75,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET).
-Groundwater Management Plan The Water Utilization and Water Quality committees reviewed updates to the NRD’s proposed Ground Water Management Plan and approved sending the Plan to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources for review.
-Schroeder Property John Peterson, JEO Consulting, presented management options to maximize the hydrologic benefits for a 157-acre property in Dawson County to the Water Utilization Committee. The Board approved notifying the current renter that the property will be leased as dryland to retire the irrigated acres and gain credit for 107 acre-feet (AF) of water back to the Platte River starting in 2023. The Utilization Committee will review and determine which of the management options presented will best meet requirements of the Integrated Management Plan, the Basin-Wide Plan for Integrated Water Resources Management for over-appropriated areas in the Platte River Basin, and Nebraska’s New Depletions Plan.
-Manager’s Report Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, thanked everyone who helped make the CPNRD’s 50th anniversary open house a success. Over 175 individuals were in attendance. Vogt said the NRD received positive comments concerning staff and programs. Vogt also invited the Board to attend a kick-off event for the Nebraska Soil Carbon Project at the Raising Nebraska Building on Thursday, August 11, 2022. The Nebraska Soil Carbon Project is a collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, Central Platte and Upper Big Blue NRDs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, Cargill, Target, and McDonald’s. The Nature Conservancy manages the new program and is investing $8 million for farmers to implement these practices over the next few years. Increasing cropland soil carbon has multiple benefits for the producer and the environment including more stable yields, improved nutrient availability and water holding capacity, and climate stabilization. Private companies are looking for ways to decrease their carbon footprint and Nebraska’s growers can provide these benefits by improving their farming operations as they implement soil health practices. Markets to link these soil carbon buyers and suppliers gives companies a way to meet part of their greenhouse gas reduction goals while supporting farmers who are implementing conservation practices.
-New Staff Member Nelson Winkel was introduced to the Board. Winkel was hired to assist with writing burn plans for the CPNRD, NRCS and Rainwater Basin Joint Venture. Winkel’s may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (308) 385-6282.
-Violation Report Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that a Polk County landowner has three offenses for irrigating non-certified irrigated acres and will be sent Cease and Desist Order on the latest violation. The landowner has violated a prior Cease and Desist Order and a court order to cease irrigation until getting into compliance with CPNRD’s Rules and Regulations. That individual has a second court hearing in August for the unresolved violations. Zakrzewski also reported that nine producers remain out of compliance for the Groundwater Quality Management Program. Three of the nine producers violated Cease and Desist ordering by irrigating without getting into compliance with the CPNRD. The violations will be turned over to the NRD’s legal counsel. CPNRD has over 850 producers in Phase II/III areas who are required to submit annual reports.
-Nitrogen Use Efficiency The Water Quality Committee was provided a demonstration on the NRD’s Nitrogen Use Efficiency Dashboard currently being developed by NRD staff. The goal of the dashboard is to provide an educational tool for producers to visualize the amount of total nitrogen available in their soil and water before applying fertilizer and the costs of applying fertilizer to each of their fields.
-2021 Report of Water Use Activities Jesse Mintken, Assistant Manager, provided an update on the draft annual water activities in the Central Platte NRD. In 2006, the district began certifying historic groundwater and surface water irrigated acres. Since that time, additions and decertifications to the certified irrigated acres database have occurred through December 31, 2021, with a net result of 1,029,230 certified acres. In 2021, Mintken said there were 79 well permits issued. There were 119 transfers resulting in 934 acres of new irrigated lands with 872 acres used to offset the new uses. CPNRD retired 366 certified acres in Dawson County , and the estimated accretion to the Platte River from ground water retirements is 248 acre-feet (ac-ft). By the close of 2021, the CPNRD Water Bank had a balance of 2,665 ac-ft of water rights available for offset in the over-appropriated area.
-Natural Resources Conservation Service Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported that NRCS is finishing up processing the second year of applications received for the 1966 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) agreement with The Nature Conservancy for Nebraska Soil Carbon Project. Krolikowski said NRCS has completed two of the five years of the agreement. Farmers that choose to enroll in this program can receive cost share for adopting practices such as cover crops, no till, and/or diversified crop rotations. Their soils will be evaluated over this time for both carbon and water quality benefits and then quantified showing the results before and after implementing any of these conservation practices.
Carrie Thompson, Resource Conservationist of Lexington, reported that in Dawson County there are 58 active EQIP applications, with (20) applications already approved for funding this year including (3) written burn plans, (4) Livestock, (8) Irrigated to dryland, and 5 Gravity to pivot conversions. Thompson said there are (3) RCPP contracts for 504 acres of cover crops, (8) CSP renewal applications and (21) active CSP contracts.
-Cost-Share 23 applications through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs were approved in the amount of $104,884.74 for planned grazing, underground pipe, brush management, center pivot incentive, and flow meters.