May 25 Public Hearing/Board Mtg

May 12, 2023

Thursday, May 25, 2023
1:45 Public Hearing  |  2:00 Board of Directors Meeting

Central Platte NRD Board to Hold Public Hearing for Proposed Groundwater Management Plan

The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at 1:45 p.m.  The hearing will be held just prior to the May Board meeting at the CPNRD Office located at 215 Kaufman Ave in Grand Island. A full text of the rewritten plan is available at or can be requested by calling (308) 385-6282. Substantial changes:

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.

The Central Platte NRD’s Board of Directors meeting will be held following the public hearing at 2:00 p.m.

-Wood River Watershed  JEO Consulting Group will give a presentation on alternatives to the Wood River Watershed Flood Risk Reduction Plan. After multiple reviews and discussions, it has been determined more planning efforts are needed 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 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The project was officially upgraded to an EIS in February 2023, and the updated planning process will run through early 2024.

Although the Wood River Watershed Plan studies the entire watershed, the focus is 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. According to current floodplain maps, water from Wood River cannot inundate developments within the city at anything less than a 500-year event. At the 500-year mark, everything north of the Union Pacific railroad tracks, including HWY30, would be inundated.

JEO will review potential alternatives with the Board including performing field work including wetland delineations, geotechnical investigations, and archaeological surveys to further analyze potential alternatives and locations. 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.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service  Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, will report.

-Search Committee  The Search Committee will report on efforts 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. Sub-District 8 is located in Grand Island. A map of the area is available on the CPNRD’s website at The position is a two-year term to end in December 2024.

-Variance/Appeals Committee The Board will consider an irrigation appeal from a producer in Custer County.

-Groundwater Levels  Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, will report on the spring 2023 static groundwater level results along with a comparison of the 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).

-Manager’s Report  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, will report.

-Nebraska Association of Resources District  Deb VanMatre, CPNRD Representative, will report.

-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin Representative, will report.

-2024 FY Budget  The Budget Committee will review proposed budget items for the 2024 fiscal year.

-Cost-Share  Applications through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs will be considered.

-Upcoming Board Meetings  June 29, July 27, August 31