Lower Elkhorn NRD Will Restore and Establish Tree Windbreaks

Lower Elkhorn NRD Will Restore and Establish Tree Windbreaks


NORFOLK, Nebraska – Recently, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors signed a letter of support to apply for grant funding to restore and establish tree windbreaks across the district.

The Nebraska Forest Service is applying for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) grant with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and has requested the LENRD’s support. If this RCPP proposal is selected for funding, the LENRD would provide $300,000 through the Nebraska Forest Restoration Partnership over the next five years as a match for the grant. This match would be a reduction in the current tree cost-share budget. In return, additional funds and technical assistance would be made available to the LENRD. 

“This grant would allow further opportunities to expand our current programs and develop more windbreaks across northeast Nebraska," said Todd Stewart, LENRD natural resources technician. "I’m excited for the opportunity to work with area landowners to accomplish this.”

In other action, the board approved a contract with HDR to create a Board of Consultants to perform a peer review of the Willow Creek Dam Under-seepage Study. Through this process, experts in the field will review the study to determine which action to take to further secure the dam, located southwest of Pierce. The two options proposed include a relief well system or a seepage berm as potential mitigation measures for the elevated piezometric pressures on the dam. The board also voted to sign a contract with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to reimburse 50 percent or the LENRD’s costs paid to HDR for the review.

The board is also looking to gather more information and potential ways to reduce the toxic algae and improve water quality in the lake at the Willow Creek State Recreation Area. The board voted to sign a contract with FYRA Engineering to study the internal phosphorus loading within the Willow Creek Reservoir. 

"This is a multi-phase approach to determine what could potentially be done to combat the issue,” said LENRD General Manager Mike Sousek. 

The board voted 9 to 5 to begin with the first step in the process which involves the collection and analysis of core soil samples.

The board also approved an interlocal agreement for up to $1.7 million with the City of West Point for their levee project. The agreement was set to expire in June and needed to be updated. Work on the project will begin in 2021. This project will protect the City of West Point from flood waters and bring the levee into compliance with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards.

In other business, the board voted to apply for a technical assistance grant through the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). The LENRD would provide $15,580 for one year to support hiring a full-time employee stationed in the Pierce NRCS office.  This individual would be working on nutrient management plans and irrigation water management in Pierce County.

The LENRD board and staff meet each month to develop and implement management plans to protect our natural resources for the future. The next LENRD board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25. Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails at