Vogel Appointed to Lower Platte South NRD Board

Vogel Appointed to Lower Platte South NRD Board


LINCOLN, Nebraska – The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) Board of Directors, meeting on Wednesday, appointed retired USDA scientist and research leader Ken Vogel to serve a two-year term on the Board.  Vogel was among five Subdistrict 3 residents to apply for the seat, following the death of Director Mike DeKalb, in November.  Subdistrict 3 includes northeast Lincoln and extends north and west, including Davey, Ceresco and Prairie Home.  Under Nebraska statutes, Vogel will serve on the Board through 2022, when the seat will be up for election.

Vogel, of Lincoln, finished second to DeKalb in the November General Election by 56 votes, out of more than 12,000 votes cast.  His appointment comes after interviews of all five applicants by the Board’s Executive Subcommittee and approval by the Board.  In his 39 years with the USDA, Vogel was stationed at the University of Nebraska as an adjunct professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and is, currently, a UNL emeritus professor.  In his application letter to the Board, Vogel emphasized his support for the Deadmans Run Flood Reduction Project and the importance of LPSNRD being proactive toward the effects of global warming on the environment.

Wednesday afternoon’s meeting was the final monthly meeting for four directors on the 21-member Board.  Subdistrict 5 Director Greg Osborn and Milt Schmidt, of Subdistrict 9, were not re-elected in November.  Director Sarah Wilson, Subdistrict 2, and Director Dan Steinkruger, Subdistrict 8, did not seek re-election.  Combined, the four outgoing directors represent more than 27-years of continuous service on the Board.  Steinkruger, whose current service began in 2017, also served from 1995 until 2009.  Board Chair Larry Ruth thanked them for their service.  Directors are elected to four-year terms, with 10 or 11 seats up for election every two years.  A subdistrict map is available at

Also recognized during the meeting was retiring USDA/NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson.  Derickson retires after more than 35 years of federal service.  He has served as Nebraska State Conservationist since 2010, working closely with the Lower Platte South on many conservation projects. 

The Board heard a report on Phase II and Phase III groundwater quality investigations in the areas surrounding public water supply wells for the communities of Emerald, Pleasant Dale and Greenwood.  In 2017, routine testing by LPSNRD triggered a two-year verification study of those areas to document that contaminant levels are elevated and to determine whether those levels are all or in part the result of nonpoint sources.  The two-year verification study has concluded nitrate levels are being elevated by nonpoint sources in all three areas.  Nonpoint source nitrate contamination is, generally, caused by the over-application of fertilizer by landowners.  The LPSNRD staff is continuing to work with the three communities on public outreach and appropriate steps toward lowering the elevated nitrate levels.

In other action the Board:

  • Approved an addendum to an agreement with the Nebraska Army National Guard, Lower Platte North NRD and the Papio-Missouri River NRD related to the operation and maintenance of the completed Western Sarpy Clear Creek Flood Control Project (WSCC), located northeast of Ashland, along the Platte River
  • Approved a landrights easement from the Department of the Army over Camp Ashland property also related to WSCC
  • Approved a professional services agreement for accounting and payroll software and services ($7,000)
  • Approved various changes in LPSNRD Operating and Personnel Policies
  • Authorized the general manager to approve a one-year extension of an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Corrections to provide two work crews
  • Authorized the general manager to extend, up to six months, an agreement with the City of Lincoln to utilize LPSNRD property at 1440 Adams Street for COVID-19 control purposes
  • Approved cost-sharing on conservation projects with three landowners totaling $30,000
  • Approved the 2021 schedule of adjusted average costs in our area for conservation improvements.  The schedule serves as a base to determine cost-sharing with landowners and is reviewed annually.
  • Increased the maximum cost-sharing amounts for surface water quality best management practices by $2,500 for both the LPSNRD fall and summer programs, effective in the next application period
  • Contracted with the Flatwater Group for the Little Salt Creek Watershed Improvement Work Plan Environmental Assessment ($295,000)
  • Contracted with Gana Trucking and Excavation for a Marsh Wren berm repair project (not to exceed $28,025)
  • Ratified the general manager’s approval of an amendment to the Upper Salt 3-A Reimbursable Agreement with USDA/NRCS
  • Held a hearing and determined the Ragusa Trust, in the Dwight-Valparaiso-Brainard Special Management Area, violated district groundwater pumping allocations and a penalty of twice the amount of water over-pumped was imposed.