Central Platte NRD Board Approves Agreement with Illinois Corn Growers Association
for Precision Conservation Management Position
The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) board of directors approved an agreement with the Illinois Corn Growers Association to add a Precision Conservation Specialist to the NRD staff for the Precision Conservation Management Program at their monthly meeting on Thursday. The specialist will be housed at the NRD’s newly constructed office located near Cozad, NE at the Thirty Mile Irrigation District headquarters.
Precision Conservation Management (PCM) is a program designed to help farmers understand and manage risks associated with adopting new conservation practices with the objective of helping farmers make sound financial decisions. It evaluates conservation practices on both their impact to the environment and their impact to family farmer profitability. PCM is looking to expand their reach into Nebraska with Frito Lay (PepsiCo) growers in the western area of the District.
The program originated from the Illinois Corn Growers Association, making up the conservation arm of the entity. PCM is funded by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Along with applied economics, water quality outcomes and carbon sequestration values are generated.
-Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Project Dan Fricke and John Peterson, JEO Consulting Group, presented information on the Flood Alert and Monitoring System for the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores (PSM) Flood Risk Reduction Project. Fricke said the monitoring equipment will be deployed and data loggers will be at the same locations as previous years. Data from the monitoring equipment will be processed, models will be calibrated, and maps will be generated for various flood scenarios. Fricke said the new Flood Alert and Monitoring System is valuable because it measures real-world conditions and variability that will support the NRD’s flood risk awareness and preparedness efforts.
The board approved Change Order No. 1 for Kokes Construction LLC which is a deduction in the amount of $665.40 from the original contract, bringing the new total to $699,059.60. The deduction was made to account for the reduced amount of rock riprap installed for bank stabilization at the PSM Project. (Drop Structure Photos)
-Irrigation Violation Report Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that of the 47 initial 2020 irrigation violations, only seven are not in compliance with the Groundwater Management Rules and Regulations. Zakrzewski said five of the seven are nearly completed. The remaining two may require further action if they do not come into compliance soon.
-Building Committee The committee discussed course of future action to build a new office and/or education center at the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Project site. Costs and designs will be provided to the board in June.
-2022 FY Budget The Budget Committee reviewed the proposed 2022 fiscal year budget. The board will review and approve the budget in June for the budget hearing in July. The hearing to set CPNRD’s levy will be held prior to the August board meeting, which is scheduled on September 2nd to allow time to advertise after receiving the county valuations.
-Education Presentation Elaina McHargue, Central City High School, presented on her research project titled An Analysis of the Effects of Wetland Area on Algal Growth in Nearby Lakes in Eastern Nebraska. McHargue used GIS to integrate wetland data with water quality data from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy as part of her research.
-Managers Report Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, gave a progress report on the Nitrogen Management cease and desist orders filed earlier this year. Bernard Katzberg received a Cease and Desist Order for not filing his crop report forms in 2020. Katzberg violated the filing by continuing to irrigate. He has paid an $11,000 fine to the CPNRD. Overall, Katzberg is the third individual that has paid a fine for irrigating after a cease and desist has been filed. Vogt said two additional individuals have active cease and desist orders that have not irrigated but will be enforced if violated.
Vogt also reported that 18 producers remain out of compliance with the NRD’s Nitrogen Management Program for not submitting certification and reports for the 2020 irrigation season.
-Staff Presentations Angela Warner, GIS Coordinator and Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, gave presentations on their staff responsibilities.
-Natural Resources Conservation Service Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported that NRCS staff are nearing completion of the contract development and obligation process for the FY 2021 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds. In the local EQIP CPNRD fund pools, approximately 100 applications were received by the November 2020 deadline and met eligibility criteria for ranking. Contract offers will be extended until all funds are allocated. Krolikowski said last week NRCS received additional $298,000 in second round EQIP funds and will begin contacting applicants to extend contract offers.
Krolikowski also reported that the Conservation Stewardship Program, (CStP), FY2021 classic applications that were received by November 2020 have been ranked. Applications that were preapproved will be field verified by NRCS staff. Once this review process is complete the contracts will be developed. The obligation deadline for all FY2021 CStP classic applications is August 20, 2021. Krolikowski said the competition for these funds continues to be very high. Last year, 86 of the 1,248 applications preapproved statewide received funding with the total obligation in the amount of $10,310,000.
-Cost-Share The board approved two applications for well decommissioning through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs in the amount of $3,000.
-Committee Name Change The Water Quality Committee name was changed to Water Utilization Committee.
-Upcoming Board Meetings June 24, July 22, September 2 (August meeting)