Lower Elkhorn NRD Open House for Public to Ask Questions, Get Answers

Lower Elkhorn NRD Open House for Public to Ask Questions, Get Answers


WEST POINT, Nebraska – The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) staff and board members are inviting the public to an open house public hearing next week to learn about and discuss proposed changes to its groundwater management area in portions of Cuming, Colfax and Dodge counties.

The event will take place on Thursday, March 25, at the Nielsen Center in West Point from 5-7 p.m.

According to LENRD Assistant Manager Brian Bruckner, the open house format provides the opportunity for a constructive dialogue between interested parties or stakeholders and staff and board members, which isn’t offered at a traditional public hearing.

“At a traditional public hearing, the elected body is typically seated at the front of the room, and those who want to provide verbal feedback are provided the opportunity to address them," Bruckner said. "That opportunity will also exist at this event, but stakeholders can also engage in separate conversations with elected officials and staff members to relay their point of view, and if necessary, receive an answer to a specific question or concern. It helps to ease the tension by providing a setting that encourages participation and allows for a meaningful exchange of information that is relevant to an issue. We can address concerns with more information or provide data to help participants understand the issue better."

At the open house, staff members will be manning display tables that showcase information related to the proposed changes to the Groundwater Management Area. Board and staff members will be available to engage in one-on-one conversations about the proposed changes.

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to provide written or oral feedback to the district, and both forms of testimony carry equal weight at the hearing. A court reporter will be present and will be creating an official record of the oral comments that are received.  Those comments will be transcribed and provided in written form to the district.

Writing materials will also be provided to allow stakeholders, who wish to provide feedback on the proposed changes in written form. The written testimony and the transcription of the oral comments will be provided to the Board of Directors, at a later date, and they will review the testimony prior to taking any additional action.

“We fully recognize that these proposed changes would require some adaptation from farm operations to comply with the Phase 2 area requirements, and this hearing will provide growers with the opportunity to inform the LENRD on that process," Bruckner said. "In addition, the community of Dodge is dealing with water quality issues for groundwater nitrate. We’re hopeful that we get some response from those residents as well."

The open house public hearing is part of the formal process of delineation of a management area and the Lower Elkhorn NRD is hoping for good attendance and engagement from the public. For anyone concerned about attending due to the ongoing pandemic, the Lower Elkhorn NRD selected the Nielsen Community Center to allow for sufficient social distancing and health protection measures.

For those unable to attend, written testimony can be provided to the Lower Elkhorn NRD in advance and up to 7 p.m. on March 25. Email written testimony to the district at lenrd [at] or mail to Lower Elkhorn NRD, 1508 Square Turn Blvd., Norfolk, NE 68701

A map of the proposed Phase 2 Groundwater Management Area can be found on the LENRD website at

Open House Public Hearing
Thursday, March 25 | 5-7 p.m.
Nielsen Center
West Point, Nebraska

Find additional information on the proposed Phase 2 Groundwater Management Area at the following links:

Article 1: Increased Nitrate Levels in the Groundwater Could Put Your Family's Health at Risk (Jan. 21, 2021)

Article 2: Managing Groundwater with Local Control and Local Solutions is Key (Feb. 26, 2021)

Article 3: Rising Levels of Nitrates are Contaminating Nebraska's Groundwater (March 10, 2021)

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) serves all or parts of 15-counties in northeast Nebraska. Visit the LENRD website to sign up for monthly emails from the district. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.