BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2023
Central Platte NRD Board Approves Rules and Regulations
The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Board of Directors approved the proposed and amended Rules and Regulations for the Enforcement of the Nebraska Groundwater Management and Protection Act at their November 16th Board of Directors meeting. The Rules and Regulations were updated to align with CPNRD’s Groundwater Management Plan to manage groundwater quality and quantity. The approved Rules and Regulations did not include the penalties for violations. Instead, the Board approved the same penalties that were in the previous Rules and Regulations as a policy to allow staff to impose a penalty if the landowner prefers to waive their hearing before the Board of Directors. The Policy is titled the CPNRD Violation Policy for Groundwater Use in Fully and Over-Appropriated Areas.
OTHER ACTION ITEMS
-Prescribed Fire Program The Board approved increasing the proposed rate structure and cost share availability of the Prescribed Fire Program. The rate was increased to:
The Board also extended the 50% cost share eligibility to landowners who are not enrolled in another program or contract. CPNRD staff will continue to develop burn plans, assist with prescribed burns, and assist with grants to aid Prescribed Burn Associations. CPNRD implemented the program in 2004 to promote and encourage landowners to form Prescribed Burn Associations. The NRD has conducted/assisted with 306 prescribed burns totaling 51,832 acres since 2004. Most of the prescribed burns for landowners vary from around 20 acres up to 160 acres. Although CPNRD has met goals to educate landowners on the safe and effective use of prescribed fire for land management, the subsidized rate was less than the Prescribed Burn Associations needed to charge to cover their expenses and was competing with private industries. CPNRD’s rate set in 2004 was also outdated and did not cover the NRD’s expenses.
-Auditor Report The Board approved the 2022/2023 audit as presented by Jake Klabenes, CPA Audit Director, Core CPAs.
-Crane Viewing Site Construction The Board reviewed three bids submitted for the Alda Crane Viewing Site Improvements and selected Diamond Engineering of Grand Island with the low bid of $596,677.35. The site is located two miles south of the I-80 Exit 305 along the Platte River. Construction will include replacing the wooden viewing deck, paving the recreational trail and two parking lots. Riprap will be added to stabilize the stream bank and provide access to the fishing pond. CPNRD will provide a 20% match to the $250,000 received through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), administered by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. CPNRD also received $75,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund (NET) to be used exclusively for repairs on the stream bank near the deck. Construction will begin in late winter/early spring and is scheduled to be completed by June 2024. The crane deck provides a safe area for the public to view Sandhill and Whooping cranes as they migrate through Nebraska in the spring. In the mid 1990’s, CPNRD was a partner in building the site to increase public safety by reducing the extra in-flow of traffic and cars parking on nearby county roads, which are heavily used by residents. The site also increases public awareness of Nebraska’s Platte River wildlife. Additional crane viewing information by calling (308) 385-6282 or by visiting cpnrd.org/conservation/crane-viewing or nebraskaflyway.com.
-Manager’s Report Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported on the following:
Marcia Lee, Information/Education Specialist Received the 2023 Project WET Educator of the Year Award this month. Lee was selected from nominations submitted nationwide as an outstanding community educator who uses the Project Wet curriculum to teach students the value of water. To be eligible for the award, educators must be trained in the curriculum, carry out the mission of Project WET, inspire and prepare the next generation of water stewards. Press Release
David Carr, Range Management Specialist Selected to receive the Lead Igniter Award on December 5, 2023, at the Nebraska Prescribed Fire Conference at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Kearney. This award is presented by the Nebraska Prescribed Fire Council to individuals who have made significant contributions to the use and knowledge of prescribed fire in Nebraska.
Duane Woodward, retired CPNRD Hydrologist Selected to receive the Maurice Kramer Groundwater Achievement Award. The Award is a tribute to Maurice Kremer, a Nebraska native who served in the legislature where he was best known for establishing the Natural Resources Districts and helping pass laws to protect Nebraska’s groundwater resources. The Award recognizes Nebraskans who have made a significant impact in the conservation and protection of the State’s groundwater resources through research, education or management activities. The award will be presented to Woodward at the NWRA/NSIA annual conference luncheon on November 20, 2023, in Kearney.
Nebraska Research District Agronomist
CPNRD received the agreement with UNL to hire a research agronomist position. The position is currently being advertised as a three-year, grant-funded position that will work with UNL and Dean Krull, Demonstration Project Coordinator, on research and Nitrate issues. The NRD will also begin advertising for a second agronomy position to be shared with Tri-Basin NRD to work with private landowners on conservation and local, state and federal cost share assistance.
State Fair and Outdoor Learning Area Monitoring Well
Seim Ag Technology has offered to donate an Eco Log 1000 sensor for measuring water level, temperature, and conductivity. This equipment will be installed in the groundwater monitoring well at the Outdoor Learning area at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds. CPNRD is planning to install monitors in the Raising Nebraska Building and at the NRD office to display real-time water level and temperature.
– Board Officer Nominating Committee Keith Ostermeier, Marvin Reichert, and Alicia Haussler were elected as the Board Officer Nominating Committee to make recommendations for Secretary and Treasurer at the December Board meeting. Board officers are eligible to serve two, two-year terms.
– Nebraska Public Agency Investment Trust (NPAIT) The Board approved the application for investment of funds with NPAIT.
-Natural Resources Conservation Service Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported the NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) signup deadline for producers interested in improving water quality and quantity in their farming operations is Friday, November 17, 2023. Producers in the Central Platte and Twin Platte NRDs are eligible to apply for more efficient irrigation techniques, installing conservation practices, and assisting farmers with converting irrigated acres to non-irrigated farmland through the Ogallala Aquifer and Platte River Recovery Project. The practices to address surface and groundwater quality and quantity concerns are improved irrigation systems and technologies to increase irrigation efficiency to reduce impacts to the Platte River and the local groundwater supply. Phases II/III areas of the CPNRD’s Groundwater Quality Management Program will also be a focus since parts of these areas have elevated nitrate levels.
-Cost-Share Applications for brush management, underground pipe, center pivot incentive, burn preparation, cover crops and well decommissioning were approved through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs for $13,546.94.
-Upcoming Board Meetings December 21, January 25, February 22
Central Platte NRD’s Board of Directors meetings are held at 2:00 p.m. at the CPNRD office located at 215 Kaufman Ave in Grand Island.