Lower Elkhorn NRD to Repair Flood Damage at Willow Creek

Lower Elkhorn NRD to Repair Flood Damage at Willow Creek


NORFOLK, Nebraska – At their June board meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors voted to repair the damages at the Willow Creek State Recreation Area (SRA) southwest of Pierce. The 2019 flood caused an estimated $229,400 worth of damages to the recreation area. The LENRD owns the property and is in a lease agreement with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission (NGPC) for the management of the area. The NGPC is requesting assistance for only a portion of the damages that were not covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The LENRD board agreed to pay 50%, up to $24,000, to repair the damaged fishing decks, lake crossing, fishing piers, and hiking/biking trail at the Willow Creek SRA.

In other action, the board approved the Interlocal Agreement with the City of Clarkson for their levee project. The term of the agreement is 3 years and enables the LENRD to assist the City in obtaining accreditation by FEMA for their flood control levee. Accreditation will show that the levee provides protection from a 100-year storm.

The board also approved the recommended changes to the Agroforestry Program, the water well decommissioning program, and the Conservation Cost-share Program. The Agroforestry program will increase to a maximum payment per job/landowner to $20,000 per year for renovations or establishments. The Conservation Cost-Share program will add variable rate irrigation systems. The water well decommissioning program will also increase to a maximum payment per well to $1,000 for hand dug wells and $700 for all other wells.

The LENRD staff are working proactively with landowners and farm operators to achieve 100% compliance with the Phase 2 & 3 reporting forms in the Groundwater Management Areas. The board directed staff to issue notices of violation, as deemed necessary, to the producers who have yet to submit their reports.

The board also directed staff to proceed with a NRCS Watershed Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) application for the North Fork Elkhorn Watershed. If approved, the funding would be used to evaluate potential flood prevention, watershed protection, and agricultural water management projects in the area which includes the communities of Plainview, Foster, Osmond, Wausa, McLean, and Pierce.

In other business, the board approved the 2020 Master Plan. This plan is required by state statute every 10 years and includes updates and responses to the district’s goals and 12 responsibilities.

The board also approved the salary allowance adjustment of 1.483% and the step and grade changes for the staff for Fiscal Year 2021.

The LENRD board & 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 Thursday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. Watch for further updates and stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails at