GRAND ISLAND — The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) board of directors selected Downey Drilling to construct 12 dedicated monitoring wells in Buffalo and southern Hall counties in the amount of $27,546.42. CPNRD staff measures 450-500 wells throughout the District each spring and fall to monitor groundwater levels as part of the Groundwater Quantity Management Program. The new wells will replace irrigation wells that are no longer accessible to measure. The wells may also be used to monitor nitrate in the vadose zone in the future.
-Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Andy Bishop, Coordinator, gave an update on the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture’s (RWBJV) programs and employee partnerships. Central Platte NRD, RWBJV and NRCS currently have three joint easement specialists including Michelle Steffen, Krystal Bialas and Elison Wagner. The partnership has provided additional opportunities to meet long-term and short-term private lands objectives and habitat improvement for waterfowl and wildlife.
-Platte Valley Industrial Park The board approved a Scope of Services contract with Olsson Inc. up to $87,500 to design a drainage ditch from Wildwood Drive to Locust Street for the Platte Valley Industrial Park in Grand Island, Nebraska. The project will consist of grading existing county road ditches from Blaine Street to Schimmer Drive, easements, and installation of a 36" storm sewer pipe that will drain into the south channel of the Wood River Flood Control Project. Central Platte NRD will manage construction and acquisition of all right-of-way and/or easements within city limits.
The estimated $650,000 project cost will be shared by the partners including Central Platte NRD, Grand Island Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Grand Island. Hall County is a partner in the project through in-kind services with easements and ditch work. Central Platte NRD’s cost is estimated to be $180,000 and will be funded in two fiscal budget years. The final design is scheduled to be completed by August 1, 2021.
-Outdoor Classroom Request An outdoor classroom application from M.E.S. Clover Academy was denied due to the location of the proposed classroom.
-Managers Report Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, provided the following updates:
-Cease and Desist violation: Bernard Katzberg is not currently in compliance and will have an upcoming court date for violating the cease and desist order filed last year.
-Retreat: The board is invited to attend an in-person presentation by Don Blankenau, District Attorney, on Director and NRD Responsibilities on March 18, 2021. The board retreat will be scheduled for December/January.
-Policy Committee The Policy Committee met to review statute revisions and updates to CPNRD’s General Policy and By-Laws. The revisions will be provided to the board for consideration at the March 25th board meeting.
-Natural Resources Conservation Service Janelle Taubenheim, Resources Conservationist, reported there are 38 applications for the 2021 EQIP Signup 1 in the Lexington field office. The EQIP contracts include 8 grazing improvement, 3 Cover Crop or Soils Erosion, 3 Written Burn Plan, 6 Dryland, 1 SDI, 17 pivot applications. There have been 29 CSP Classic applications including 8 high priority, 1 medium priority; 9 renewals and 4 pre-approved applications.
Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported that NRCS staff are preparing the 2021 CSP contract renewals that have an obligation deadline of February 26, 2021. District-wide, the NRCS is working on the 2021 CSP Classic applications with a ranking deadline of March 12, 2021. The obligation deadline for new CStP Classic contracts is planned for mid-July.
Krolikowski also reported that the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), administered by Farm Service Agency, has extended signups with no deadline; and renewal contracts are being accepted until September. NRCS is responsible for conducting field visits, conservation planning and contracting documents for the CRP program.
-Nebraska Natural Resources Commission Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin Representative, reported that applications for the Water Sustainability Fund are being accepted until July 31, 2021.
-Cost-Share Applications were approved for center pivot incentive, flow meter, tree planting, and well decommissioning practices through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD cost-share programs.
-Upcoming Board Meetings March 25, April 22, May 27