Lower Elkhorn NRD Discusses High Levels of Nitrate in Groundwater

Lower Elkhorn NRD Discusses High Levels of Nitrate in Groundwater


WEST POINT, Nebraska – Almost 300 people attended the Open House Public Hearing at the Nielsen Center in West Point on Thursday night. The public was provided the opportunity to learn more about the rising levels of nitrate in our groundwater, along with the proposed boundaries and requirements in portions of Cuming, Colfax and Dodge Counties.

The Hearing was hosted by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD), giving the public the opportunity to address the issue, one-on-one, with the Board of Directors and Staff.  After engaging in the educational portion of the Open House, the public was invited to either leave written or oral comments for the Board.

LENRD Assistant Manager Brian Bruckner said, “We were very pleased with the turnout. We hope everyone took advantage of the time to meet with us and get their questions answered as we work together towards a solution that will improve and protect groundwater quality.”

The next step will be to compile the written and oral testimony and present all comments to the board for review. The proposed changes to the Groundwater Management Plan will then be placed on the agenda for discussion at an upcoming board meeting.

LENRD General Manager Mike Sousek said, “It was a successful event and I hope the public left with a better understanding of the challenges the district is facing.  We appreciate the feedback and the sharing of local ideas as we develop plans for local solutions.”

The LENRD recently launched a new website which brings to light the concerns that are plaguing northeast Nebraska. Please visit to find out more about the rising levels of nitrate across the LENRD’s 15-county district and the steps that are being taken to address the environmental and health issues associated with this problem.

The LENRD board held their March board meeting following the Open House Public Hearing. During the meeting, the board approved an agreement to assist the Village of Winslow with a demolition project for homes destroyed during the 2019 flood. Winslow’s flood levee does not provide protection for a 100-year storm, therefore, the village is looking to relocate out of the floodplain.

The Village applied for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This funding will pay for a percentage of the structures left in the floodplain, and the homeowner would have the option to accept or deny the buyout. The Village would then be responsible for the demolition of the property.  The board approved the agreement to cost share with the Village to provide funding for a portion of the demolition, not to exceed $109,562.50.

In other action the board also approved an agreement to assist the Village of Pender with flood control. After two significant flood events in 2018 and 2019, the community of Pender completed two studies to define the source of the flood hazards in Pender. From these studies, a mitigation project was identified to better protect the Village. The board voted to provide 50% of the local costs for the west detention cell and west drainage ditch projects along with the Rattlesnake improvement project, not to exceed $527,671.88.

To learn more about the 12 responsibilities of Nebraska’s NRDs and how your local district can work with you and your community to protect your natural resources, visit and sign up for our monthly emails. The next board of directors meeting will be Thursday, April 22, at the LENRD office in Norfolk at 7:30 p.m.