ACTION AT BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Thursday, May 25, 2023
1:45 p.m. Public Hearing | 2:00 p.m. Board Meeting
Central Platte NRD Office 215 Kaufman Ave. Grand Island NE 68803
Central Platte NRD Board Approves Groundwater Management Plan
The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Board of Directors approved updates to both the water quantity and water quality portions of the CPNRD Groundwater Management Plan on Thursday at their May meeting. The Plan will become effective on July 1, 2023. A full text of the rewritten plan is available at www.cpnrd.org 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.
-Search Committee The Search Committee reported that they interviewed Todd Arends 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. Todd Arends, LeRoy’s son, was selected and appointed to complete the remainder of the term that ends in December 2024.
-Spring Groundwater Levels Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that the spring 2023 static groundwater levels showed declines in all 24 Ground Water Management Areas within the CPNRD compared to groundwater levels in 1982. The 1982 levels were established as the standard for the NRD’s Groundwater Management Plan with maximum acceptable declines and a margin of safety calculated for each of the District’s 24 Ground Water Management Areas (GWMA). Zakrzewski said 376 wells, four wells per township, were included in the assessment. From 1982 to 2023 the CPNRD has an accumulated loss of -1.30 feet since 1982. Four of the GWMAs (2, 16, 17, 18) triggered below 25% decline. (See map). Three GWMA continue to show declines and are under additional management restrictions including:
– GWMA 9 is down 1.18 ft. from the previous year (-9.06 ft. to -10.24 ft).
– GWMA 16 is down 3.26 ft. from previous year (-2.17 ft. to -5.43 ft.).
– GWMA 20 down 2.15 ft. from previous year (-4.78 ft. to -6.93 ft.).
-Wood River Watershed John Petersen, PE, JEO Consulting Group, gave a presentation on alternatives to the Wood River Watershed Flood Risk Reduction Plan since the project was officially upgraded to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in February 2023 to better understand flooding impacts and potential solutions within the Lower Wood River Watershed, including expanding the work area to include the Upper Wood River sub-basin. The expanded plan requires governmental reviews as part of the (EIS) process and the updated planning process will run through early 2024.
The Wood River Watershed Plan studies the entire watershed with the focus on reducing flood risk in the area between Kearney and Grand Island. Potential projects include but are not limited to diversion channels, channel and ditch widening, levees or berms, and roadway modifications. At the town of Wood River, the Wood River has an incised channel with high banks. This interferes with rainfall naturally draining overland into the river. Rain falling between the river and Highway 30 through town cannot naturally drain to the river and creates excess stormwater ponding. In large flood events, water that escapes Wood River cannot easily re-enter the channel as water levels recede. Instead, water flows east approximately three miles northeast of town, flooding the business district of Wood River along Highway 30.
JEO reviewed potential alternatives with the Board including performing field work including wetland delineations, geotechnical investigations, and archaeological surveys to further analyze potential alternatives and locations. Petersen said the draft plan will be completed by September 2023. Once the plan has been finalized, project design can begin on the proposed alternative, starting possibly late 2024 through 2026 if pursued. Construction would start following the design phase.
-Variance/Appeals Committee The Board denied a variance request from a producer in Custer County.
-Manager’s Report Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, provided the following updates:
-Irrigation Violation Report Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that 45 of the 56 producers who received cease and desist orders are now in compliance with the Groundwater Management Program, and he expects the remaining 11 producers to complete their paperwork in the near future.
-Natural Resources Conservation Service Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, provided a summary of activities and current happenings at the Natural Resources Conservation Service within CPNRD.
-2024 FY Budget The Budget Committee reviewed proposed budget items for the 2024 fiscal year.
-Cost-Share Five applications were approved for burn preparation, center pivot incentive, flow meters, and well decommissioning through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD
cost-share programs in the amount of $19,177.85.
-Upcoming Board Meetings June 29, July 27, August 31