Central Platte NRD Board approves infrared photography to enforce water quality program

Press Release Central Platte Natural Resources District

GRAND ISLAND — On Thursday, November 17, the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) Board of Directors addressed the Infrared (IR) photography used by staff to see changes in irrigation practices for the Groundwater Management Program. The IR Imagery of the entire District has been taken in August each year since 2004 and is used to determine if irrigation is present on acres that are not certified. IR imagery has been submitted as evidence to courts in the past to enforce irrigated acre compliance for the NRD’s Groundwater Quantity Program.

The Water Quality Committee was shown the violations that have occurred in 2022 by landowners and producers who were issued Cease and Desist orders for not submitting annual crop reports and/or results from soil and water samples. The orders restrict violators from irrigating until they are back in compliance with the Program by submitting the required information.

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The Board approved a motion to provide the IR imagery as evidence of the violations for the Groundwater Quality Program. Staff will notify the landowners and producers a final time to attempt to comply before turning the violations over to legal counsel.

-Nominating Committee: The Board elected Marvion Reichert, Brian Keiser, and Ed Kyes as the Board Nominating Committee to make recommendations for Board chairman and vice-chairman. Board officers may serve two, two-year terms. Chairman Mick Reynolds, Wood River, and Jerry Wiese, Grand Island, have both served one term and are eligible for re-election.

-General Election: Marcia Lee, Information/Education Specialist, provided statewide results from the 2022 General Election and the Central Platte NRD Board of Directors races. CPNRD has 21 members on the Board who serve four-year terms, with two directors in each of the 10 sub-districts and one at-large director. The following Board members were unopposed in the Primary and re-elected in the General Election:

Ryan Kegley, Kearney (2-year term) — Lon Bohn, Gibbon (4-year term)

Jerry Milner, Grand Island

Alicia Haussler, Grand Island

Chuck Maser, Grand Island

Keith Ostermeier, Grand Island

-NARD By-Law Changes: The Board ratified changes that the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) had approved concerning NARD, NARD Foundation and NARD Risk Pool By-Laws.

-Manager’s Report: Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported on the two Groundwater Management Plan (GMP) public information meetings. Mallory Morton, Olsson, provided a review of the draft changes to the GMP and Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, provided a review of current groundwater conditions. A question-and-answer session allowed discussion with the public. No changes were suggested to be made to the plan requirements or triggers.

Perkins County Canal: Vogt reported that a work group had been established to assist in bringing new and incumbent Senators up to speed on the Perkins County Canal and Nebraska water issues. All Senators will be invited to a presentation on the Canal prior to the session starting.

NWRAs: Vogt attended the NWRA Leadership and Annual Conference earlier this month. Vogt said the discussion focused on drought, infrastructure funding and building back better requirements when using federal funds. Complete notes from the conference that were compiled by multiple participants from Nebraska were provided to the Board.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service: Joe Krolikowski, District Conservationist, reported on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Ogallala Aquifer and Platte River Recovery Project. The signup for this program is a competitive program with ongoing signup. This project provides financial incentives to producers who utilize key conservation practices within the Central Platte and Twin Platte NRD boundaries. Farmers can adopt practices that help reduce water consumption by converting irrigated land to non-irrigated land on a permanent or temporary basis. Surface and groundwater quality and quantity concerns will also be addressed with the implementation of improved irrigation systems and management technologies to increase irrigation efficiency, reducing impacts to the Platte River and the local groundwater supply.

-Precision Conservation Program: Darren Cudaback, Precision Conservation Specialist, reported on the Precision Conservation Program with Frito Lay growers in Dawson County. Cudaback has signed up 60 producers for improved farming practices on 91,000 acres including no-till, strip till, 10% nitrogen reduction applied and autonomous irrigation equipment. Cudaback said a new program initiated for 2023 will provide financial incentives up to $7,200 for producers to switch from diesel to electronic powered equipment.

-Cost-Share: Four applications for irrigation management, prescribed burn preparation and center pivot incentive cost-share programs through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and CPNRD were approved totaling $26,678.90

Board of Director Meetings: December 15, January 26, February 23

Board Retreats: February 9, 2023 — Stuhr Museum in Grand Island

Water Programs Update: February 16, 2023 — Merrick County Extension Office

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