Central Platte NRD Updates Transfer Rules and Addresses Groundwater Declines- Public Hearing to be held in April

Central Platte NRD Updates Transfer Rules and Addresses Groundwater Declines- Public Hearing to be held in April


(GRAND ISLAND, NE)- The Central Platte Natural Resources District's Board of Directors approved updates to the Rules & Regulations for Groundwater Use in Fully & Over Appropriated Areas. The approved changes include: a December 31, 2014 deadline to certify irrigated acres; allowances for limited transfers on Class VIIe soils; and transfers of groundwater for irrigation of cropland on Class Vw, VIw, VIs, VIIw, VIIs, VIIIw, or VIIIs soils if approved by the Corps of Engineers and NRCS.

To address ground water declines, transfers and supplemental wells will not be allowed into any sub-area if the ground water declines are 25% or more of the acceptable decline as defined in the Rules & Regulations. A public hearing to address proposed changes will be held at 1:00 p.m. on April 24, 2014.


-Presentation- Dean Krull, UNL/CPNRD demo project coordinator, gave an update on the Groundwater Pumping Program started in 2013 that receives data collected with the Adcon Telemetry Program. This pilot program provides a vast amount of real-time data from the 11 meters installed, allowing the NRD to view information such as water usage from fields and allows landowners to check their own readings such as gallons per minute used, inches applied each day and throughout the season, and soil moisture readings through a website called McCrometer Connect. Krull said the NRD plans to install 13 more meters in each management subdistrict over the next five years. Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources is also interested in partnering with the CPNRD to fund up to 24 additional probes for the program.

-Appointment- Jerry Milner of Grand Island was appointed to the vacant seat in Sub-District 6, after the board approved the recommendation from the Nominating Committee. Milner will fill the current remaining term through December 31, 2014 and will remain on the November election ballot with Kelly Markham, also of Grand Island.

-NRCS Report- James Huntwork, USDA-NRCS district liaison, reported on programs available in the CPNRD through the recently passed Farm Bill. Below are new programs available:

-Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP): consolidates other program components to provide long-term viability of the nation's food supply by preventing conversion of productive lands to non-agricultural uses.

-Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP): will support projects that improve soil quality, water quality, water quantity, air quality, or wildlife habitat in a specific area.

-Beginning Farmers/Ranchers, Underserved Producers & Veterans: TIP, EQIP, CSP & ACEP programs all allow extra provisions for these producers. Huntwork said NRCS has begun streamlining administration to better serve the public and will continue to use Technical Service Providers for their programs. The Farm Bill also switched annual funding to "no-year" funding, providing the opportunity to focus more on direct conservation planning and deliberate funding.

-Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The landowner appeal from Merrick County on determination of irrigated acres was approved.

-Water Resources Committee- The committee reported that construction is nearly complete on two of the Dawson County canals with the Thirty Mile Canal scheduled for completion on April 15 and Cozad scheduled to be completed by May 2. A tour and dedication of the canals will be held in June. The board approved the following Change Orders:

-Orchard Alfalfa #2: addition of a culvert on Phase 2 in the amount of $2,570.

-Cozad Canal #6: permit from the railroad that covers the increasing amount of insurance for right away on Phase 3 in the amount of $27,490.00, which wasn't required as part of the bid.

-Director Ladd Reeves requested a financial summary of the canal rehabilitation projects.

-Programs Committee- The committee's agenda included:

-College Scholarships- The board approved the following students to receive $1,000 for the 2014-15 year: Mitchell Baker, Carlye Kush, Elizabeth Lutz of Grand Island; Julia Burchell, Issac Richter of Kearney; Mitchel Herbig, Jonathan Royle of Central City; Carson Schultz, Wood River; Tyler Plejdrup, Cairo; and Tyler Tomasek, Hordville.

-Final review and changes to the Information/Education & Cost Share budgets were advanced to the Executive Committee.

-Western Projects Committee- The committee's agenda includes:

-The committee tabled a a decision on the request from David Burkholder, Dawson County Drainage District #4, to financially assist in the construction of a double box culvert on the lower end of the Drainage District's system in the amount of $50,000.

-The board approved a request from the Johnson Lake Foundation to help seed two acres of the hike/bike trail along Johnson Lake in the amount of $1,000.

-Reviewed the proposed 2015 Fiscal budget request, advancing it to the Executive Committee.

-Legislation- Lyndon Vogt, general manager, reported that the governor has five days to approve or reject funding requests. The nearly $8 billion budget includes $31 million for one time money and ongoing funding for water initiatives, including research. Vogt also reported on LB 1098, the bill that would restructure the Natural Resources Commission by expanding it to 27 members. The governor would appoint the 11 additional members. The new commission would recommend which projects would be funded by the Water Sustainability Fund to ensure all Nebraskans benefit from state tax dollars. Amendment 2594 added several provisions to LB 1098, which will be debated next week. 
CPNRD directors Dick Mercer and Mick Reynolds served on the Water Funding Task Force.

-Election Report- Dianne Miller, administrative director, reported filings for the November election. Non-Incumbents include: Pete Wardyn, Christopher Henry and Andrew Hoffmeister for Subdistrict 2, Kelly Markham and Jerry Milner for Subdistrict 6, and Jim Eriksen for Subdistrict 7. There are no candidates running in Subdistrict 5. The only seat on the Primary ballot will be Subdistrict 2 since there are more than two candidates.

-Cost Share- The board approved 6 cost share applications in the amount of $9,614.75. Practices approved include: well decommissioning, tree planting and soil moisture sensor.