Lower Elkhorn NRD Expands Groundwater Monitoring Program in Pierce County

Lower Elkhorn NRD Expands Groundwater Monitoring Program in Pierce County


NORFOLK, Nebraska -- The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) recently announced they will receive $8,750 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) for the “LENRD Establishment of Baseline Vadose Zone Sampling in Pierce County” project.  This is the first year of award with a potential for 2nd year funding of an additional $8,750. The project is one of the 118 projects receiving $20,000,000 in grant awards from the NET this year. Of these, 73 were new applications and 45 are carry-over projects.

Within the LENRD, citizens rely on groundwater as the primary source of water for all uses. Maintaining a safe drinking water source is one of the most important priorities of the LENRD. This has been increasingly difficult within areas of Pierce County, as groundwater nitrate levels in many areas exceed the maximum contaminant level, and in some areas, continue to increase. This condition is well documented by over 40 years of groundwater sampling data that has been collected by the LENRD.

Through this project, the LENRD will expand its groundwater monitoring program by establishing baseline vadose zone nitrate data. Through the collection of a minimum of 11 cores spread throughout the area of Pierce County designated as the Phase 3 Groundwater Management Area, the LENRD will be able to determine the nitrate load moving through the soil profile, and will monitor the nitrate load in response to best management practices being implemented by producers. After establishing this baseline data-set, the LENRD intends to return to the sample location sites every 5 years for additional monitoring.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $328 million in grants to over 2,300 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.