NRD Budget Focus: Water

NRD Budget Focus: Water


Contact: Mike Mascoe, Public Information Specialist Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, 402-476-2729, mmascoe [at]        

NRD Budget Focus: Water

LINCOLN (NE) August 21, 2014 – Managing water resources is a main focus of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget unanimously approved by the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District Board of Directors on Wednesday.   The NRD will work with the communities of Waverly ($450,000), Cedar Creek ($344,000), Plattsmouth ($200,000) and others to complete stormwater management projects through its Community Assistance Program.   The construction of two new dams is in the budget to help protect lives and property.  Havlat Dam ($375,000) will be located south of Pleasant Dale and Piening Dam ($300,000) will be along Highway 34, near the Lancaster-Seward county line.   Significant rehabilitations of several dams in the Upper Salt Watershed ($325,000) are also planned.

Balanced revenues and expenditures in the budget total $24,176,136.   The budget requires just under $9 million in property taxes, a 2.5 percent increase over last year and the first increase in the NRD’s property tax requirement in seven years.   However, due to an overall increase in property valuations in the District, the NRD’s tax levy will still decrease from last year.  

Repairs and rehabilitations of drainage structures along Lincoln’s Salt Creek Levee ($1.5 million) will help keep the levee up to federal standards and maintain protection for a large part of the city.   These projects are in addition to routine maintenance of the levee and are expected to take several years to complete.

The NRD, along with the City of Lincoln, will participate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a feasibility study of ways to reduce flooding in the Deadman’s Run Watershed ($400,000).   Work on prioritized projects in the Stevens Creek ($1 million) and other watersheds will continue by both the city and the NRD.   Through an Interlocal Agreement on stormwater management, the City and NRD, for many years, have been systematically making Lincoln a safer place to live.

The geophysical mapping of aquifers in the NRD ($750,000) will continue in FY 2015. Enhancement of mapping projects already begun and the initiation of new projects are expected.   The data collected helps the NRD better understand and manage the District’s supply of ground water.

The budget also sets aside funds for NRD cost-sharing ($1 million) to help landowners install Best Management Practices, such as terraces that decrease soil erosion, improve water quality downstream and help to manage stormwater.  

The restoration of the March Wren Wetland, southwest of Interstate 80 and Highway 77, makes up a major portion of planned wetland activities ($470,000).   By studying the hydrology and geology of the area, the NRD hopes to increase the saline properties of the Marsh Wren Wetland and make it another of several successful NRD restorations of rare saline wetlands.

The NRD will assist in the removal of obstructions in the Platte River at Two Rivers State Recreation Area ($1.5 million) by the Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance.   Pilings left in the river from the demolition of old bridges there pose a safety threat to boaters and other recreational users, and they inhibit the flow of ice.

Construction has already begun on an extension of Lincoln’s Haymarket Ball Park Trail, along Salt Creek, from Charleston to 14 th Street ($187,500).   Completion is expected this fall.   Users of the NRD’s MoPac East Trail will benefit from the addition of a restroom at the trailhead in Walton ($30,000).

The District will also complete the update of its Hazard Mitigation Plan ($148,000) in FY 2015.   The plan and periodic updates are required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in order for Lincoln and other District communities to be eligible for federal assistance in case of natural disasters.

In March, the Board voluntarily adopted the NRD’s first Integrated Management Plan, which establishes goals and actions toward sustainable supplies of both ground water and surface water, District-wide.   To help implement the plan, the budget provides for setting up a system for monitoring and tracking depletions in ground water and surface water supplies and joining other NRDs in the Lower Platte River Basin to form a coalition for regional water management studies.

Other important NRD activities provided for in the budget include:

– Continuing to help the communities of Valparaiso, Hickman, Pleasant Dale, Davey, Union, Elmwood, Weeping Water/Otoe RWD #3 and the Lower Salt Creek area from Waverly to Ashland reduce elevated nitrate levels in ground water.

– Administering allocations, rules and regulations in the Dwight-Valparaiso-Brainard Special Ground Water Management Area declared in January.

– Implementation of a new mobile ground water data system.

– A vadose zone monitoring program (the vadose zone is the underground area between the root zone and ground water).

– Operating and maintaining 180 dams throughout the District.

– Continuing to work with the Nebraska Department of Roads and Cass County to extend the MoPac East Trail to the Lied Platte River Bridge at South Bend.

– Improvements to the Homestead Trailhead at Roca.

– Construction of a trail underpass at Rosa Parks Way and Salt Creek, in Lincoln.

– Continued participation in a sandbar study and a Cumulative Impact Study along the Platte River and continued efforts to keep District residents informed about NRD conservation programs and how they can help.

Detailed information about the budget is available at .