LENRD August Board Meeting Recap, Budget Hearing Thursday

NORFOLK – Board members with the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD), reaffirmed their commitment to locally led conservation late last month.

According to a release from LENRD, the board of directors recently approved this resolution on their commitment to the management of natural resources for the future and the importance of local control.

Current water quality data indicates elevated concentrations of nitrate in portions of the LENRD, reaching levels that could pose health threats to humans and the environment. It’s during these times when the LENRD board members are put in tough situations.

The board also discussed the Scrap Tire Partnership Program with the Loess Hills RC&D and the Papio-Missouri River NRD. The board instructed the staff to submit a letter of commitment for the program through the Nebraska Environmental Trust.  If awarded, the grant could provide funding for collections for three consecutive years.

Staff presented changes to the conservation cost-share docket and the board approved the updates for fiscal year 2022. Changes to the Community Forestry Program and the Forestry Incentive for Public Facilities Program were also presented. These updates will simplify the administration of the programs as well as create more flexibility for the participants.

An update was given on the Willow Creek Artesian Pressure Mitigation Project. The production wells will be installed this fall. This is the first step in the process of reducing the artesian pressures near the dam. The board approved the bid with Dietz Well for $95,510 to complete the project.

A presentation was given by JEO and Long Spring Consulting Group’s on the LENRD’s hydrogeologic groundwater model along with the graphic user interface (GUI) which will be the cloud-based tool used by district staff to evaluate proposed uses of groundwater. Phase 2B of the project is nearing completion and project partners are reviewing the model calibrations. This phase of the project was facilitated by a grant from the NeDNR Water Sustainability Fund which paid for 60% of the project.

When completed, the groundwater model will allow the district to complete simulations that will help to illustrate the changes to groundwater and surface water systems. The model also will benefit the district by allowing for the ability to utilize a sophisticated hydrogeologic grid constructed on tight gridlines and integrates the aerial electromagnetic flight data, which is a first of its kind in the United States. The board reviewed the proposed contract for the GUI web-based program with Long Spring and voted to accept the terms of the agreement.

The board approved a proposal with Hollman Media to improve and update the district’s database. This will help to improve the system and make it more user-friendly for the staff and the producers. It will also be a more secure solution for the district’s records.

The board also approved an additional 1% increase in restricted funds authority for fiscal year 2022 and set the budget hearing Thursday, September 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the LENRD office in Norfolk.

To learn more about the 12 responsibilities of Nebraska’s NRDs and how your local district can work with you and your community to protect your natural resources, visit lenrd.org and sign up for their monthly emails.

The next board of directors meeting will be Thursday, September 23 at the LENRD office in Norfolk at 7:30 p.m. and on Facebook Live.

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