More Convenient Irrigation Reporting Helps Landowners

More Convenient Irrigation Reporting Helps Landowners



CPNRD Board Approves Combined Form for More Convenient Irrigation Reporting

(GRAND ISLAND, NE) Landowners in Phases II and III of the Central Platte Natural Resources District’s groundwater management areas will now only be required to fill out one form per year instead of two forms; requiring less paperwork and more convenience for irrigation reporting.  The board approved combining the current spring and fall Groundwater Quality Management reporting forms into just one form; which will be due on March 1 st of each year.  The past forms required the spring form to be turned in by March 1 st and the fall report due by December 31.  The change was recommended by the NRD’s new Water Quality Subcommittee at the monthly board meeting on Thursday.  The new form also allows landowners & managers more time to fill out the form since reporting for the 2014 irrigation season will not be due until March 1, 2015. The Central Platte NRD began requiring irrigation reports in the two phase areas when the Groundwater Management Program was started in 1987 to reduce high nitrogen levels in the District.  The new form is available on the CPNRD website at: .  Other action items:

-Eastern Projects Committee-   Jess Mintken, projects manager, reported that PCUL 1 of the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project is forty percent done and PCUL 2 is seventy percent done- both are on schedule to be completed by December.  The board approved two change orders from Pruss Excavation Co. for the Project including a change order for PCUL 1 in the amount of $43,017.42 for additional work on foundation channel & spillway excavation, topsoil placement, weed control and placement of spoils.  The second change order was for PCLU 2 in the amount of $1,922.00 for excavation of the north & south dams, core trench, and foundation channel cleanout.

-NRCS Report- October 17 th is the cut-off date for landowners to apply to receive funding for conservation practices through the EQIP Program, reported USDA-NRCS district liaison James Huntwork.   Huntwork said special emphasis programs for 2015 will be cover crops, irrigation water management probes and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). 2014 was the largest funding year CPNRD landowners have ever received with 92 contracts totaling $2,708,780.79 and conservation practices contracted on 15,015 acres, reported Grant Linder, NRCS resource conservationist.  The increase is credited to the new Farm Bill funding.  EQIP contracts approved in 2014:

- Water Conservation: $1.9 million; 49 contracts/6,500 acres
- Grazing Lands: $210,000; 13 contracts/4,500 acres
- Soil Health: $200,000; 19 contracts/3,100 acres
- Forestry: $41,000; 10 contracts/190 acres
- Animal Feeding Operation: $435,000; 1 contract/700 acres

The breakdown per field office includes: Merrick County-16 contracts, Hall County-18 contracts, Buffalo County-43 contracts, Dawson County-15 contracts.

-PRRIP-   Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program’s first increment 10,000 acre goal of land acquisition has been met and exceeded.  The Program owns or has specified land rights on approximately 10,150 acres and is in active negotiations on another 900 acres between Lexington and Chapman.  They are looking to sell or trade a few parcels and will continue to seek tracts to acquire in prioritized reaches of the river.  The Program will pay property taxes of roughly $149,000 in 2014.  The Program is starting to develop a plan for the review of the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s target flows for the Platte River.  Ongoing research and monitoring on the Platte is showing the Service’s current target flows to be ineffective in accomplishing the objectives they have set out.   One possible approach discussed is an “effects analysis” being used by biologists working on other river systems including the Missouri River.   The Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District continues work on the J-2 Regulating Reservoirs Project.  The DNR approved their petition for the Project’s extension of the Phelps Canal.  The Program’s Land Advisory Committee includes a member and alternate from Central Platte NRD, a member and alternate from Tri-Basin NRD and a joint member and alternate.  The board appointed John Thorburn (as member) and Jim Bendfeldt (as alternate) for three-year terms. 

-Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee-   The subcommittee discussed the NRD’s Water Banking Program with Richael Young of Mammoth Trading; which has a website that matches sellers and buyers of water rights.  Mammoth Trading will work with the CPNRD staff to incorporate the NRD’s rules and regulations in their database.  Mammoth is one of a handful of water banking entities in the state. The subcommittee also reported that a pending Cease & Desist case in Custer County will be given 30 additional days to come into compliance with the NRD’s rules and regulations.  Inaction by the party would result in a Cease & Desist lawsuit to be filed following the October 23 board of directors meeting.

-Cost Share- The board approved 2 applications for cost share.  Applications through the CPNRD cost share programs included drain tile and well decommissioning. Funding approved through both programs totaled: $5,750.00.

-Financial Report- The board approved the September financial report.

-Service Awards- The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts presented certificates to board and staff members in five year increments.  Keith Stafford and Ladd Reeves were recognized for serving as directors for 20 years; Tom Backer, staff for 30 years; Sandy Noecker, staff for 35 years.

-Upcoming Events : 
October 23- Board of Directors meeting.
November 4- Election Day
November 11- Veterans Day observed.  CPNRD office closed.
November 20- Board of Directors meeting
December 18- Board of Directors meeting followed by Conservation & Service awards.
December 25 & January 1- CPNRD office closed.
January 6-8- Groundwater Management District Association Winter Meeting, Scottsdale AZ.
January 27-28- Nebraska Association of Resources District Legislative Conference, Lincoln NE.