Nearly 2,800 New Irrigated Acres Approved For LENRD Landowners, 123 Applications Received

NORFOLK – Throughout the month of October the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) offered the opportunity for landowners within its boundaries to submit applications to expand irrigated acres.

According to a release from LENRD, board members voted to accept these applications for standard variances in some portions of the District during their meeting on Monday, December 2.

The district received 123 applications for new irrigated acres during the sign-up period from October 1 – 31.  Eligible applications were processed using LENRD’s scoring and ranking process, which integrates several categories that are each assigned different score values within the subcategory. Each eligible application was given a total score and, subsequently, the applications are ranked from highest to lowest score.

The board voted to allow up to 292.24 acre-feet of new peak season streamflow depletions in the LENRD’s Hydrologically Connected (10/50 Area), which calculates to 2,795 new irrigated acres. Another item that was voted on was to allow for the development of 2,509.92 new irrigated acres in the LENRD’s Non-Hydrologically Connected (Non 10/50 Area). These approvals were determined from the final rankings as provided by District staff, a cut-off was established to determine the number of acre-feet of new depletions and the number of new irrigated acres that would be made available for each respective management area.

In other action, the board approved the annual groundwater allocations for the Quantity Management Subareas subject to allocations for the 2020 growing season. The board voted to establish the 2020 allocation amounts at:  18 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems, 14 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Eastern Madison County Quantity Subarea, 17 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 12 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems and 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Wayne County Quantity Subarea. These groundwater allocation amounts have remained unchanged since first being imposed for the 2013 pumping season.

In other business, the board approved five Community Forestry Incentive applications for a total cost of $13,719.69. The communities receiving grants this year include the City of Norfolk, Norfolk Public Schools, the Village of Pilger, the City of Wakefield and the City of West Point.

The LENRD board & staff meet each month to develop and implement management plans for the future of our natural resources. The next LENRD board meeting will be Thursday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk. Stay connected with the LENRD by subscribing to their monthly emails at www.lenrd.org.

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