The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s (CPNRD) Groundwater Exchange is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 3rd. The CPNRD board of directors approved expanding the Groundwater Exchange to include the Loup Basin within the District and to add definition of terms to their Rules & Regulations at their September board meeting. A public hearing on the proposed changes was held prior to the board meeting.
The Groundwater Exchange pre-approval process for buyers and sellers to meet with CPNRD staff will take place from October 3 to November 23, so that producers will have time to plan for spring planting. During the pre-approval process, staff will verify that all participants are in compliance with the NRD’s Rules and Regulations, document whether the participant is acting as a buyer or seller, the location and amount of water use, and whether the buyers want to purchase water for irrigation or for streamflow.
The online bid window for those pre-approved will be open from December 1 through December 9, 2016. Buyers and sellers will go online to the CPNRD Exchange website with the personal ID that staff has provided to them. Sellers will enter the amount that they would like to receive for their water use, and buyers will enter how much they are willing to pay.
Central Platte NRD and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources have partnered in the financial cost to develop an algorithm that selects the best matches based on information that each seller and buyer enters- such as the price, location of water, and the depletion to the river. The program then generates a report of all the matched exchanges. The NRD’s Rules and Regulations regarding the transfers of groundwater irrigated acres are built into the computer program. Bids are based on acres, consumptive use, and streamflow depletion to the Platte River. The National Economic Research Associates (NERA) is the consulting firm who developed the computer program, accepts the bids, and provides CPNRD with the results. For more information, contact CPNRD at (308) 385-6282 or visit www.market4water.com.
OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS:
-Krolikowski New NRCS District Liaison James Huntwork, former CPNRD district liaison, announced that Joe Krolikowski has been selected as CPNRD’s new District liaison. Krolikowski has been employed at the Grand Island Field Office as the irrigation specialist for 15 years. Huntwork now holds the ASTC/Field Operations position for the Central Area Natural Resources Conservation Service.
-United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Jesse Mintken, assistant manager, reported that the permit from the USACE has been received and CPNRD will make plans for proceeding with a bid letting for construction on the Upper Prairie/Silver/Moores Flood Control Project. Project construction is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
-GISH Monarch Habitat Project The board approved the use of approximately four acres of land along the Wood River Flood Control Project for the Grand Island Senior High Success Academy (GISH) to develop a Monarch butterfly way station. GISH students will develop the site with CPNRD providing annual maintenance. Other project partners include Roots and Shoots, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Vlcek Gardens, and Pheasants Forever.
-Crane Viewing Two requests were presented regarding crane viewing. A request from the Audubon at Lillian Rowe Sanctuary to remove the pullout located on Elm Island south of the visitor center and create a new viewing pull-out just south of the south channel on the west side of 43 Road near Gibbon, NE was approved in the amount of $2,500. Audubon is making the change because the current location is no longer a good crane viewing location and to remedy safety issues. The goal of the new site is to provide more space for parking and to reduce the number of cars parking on rural roads.
A request from the Grand Island Convention & Visitors Bureau for funding towards an economic impact study of the annual crane migration in Central Nebraska was denied.
-Sediment & Erosion Plan The board approved updates to the NRD’s Sediment and Erosion Plan. The plan now includes new requirements approved by the Legislature. The major changes to the Plan include adding a section of Frontier County that is now within the CPNRD and eliminating the 90 percent cost share requirement. The Plan will be sent to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission for approval. A public hearing will be held following their approval.
-Online Reporting Form Jay Richeson, Water Resources Committee chairman, reported that after a year of using the new online crop reporting form, the staff has had an overall good response from producers. A contract with GIS Workshop in the amount of $8,000 was approved by the board to update the form. Updates will include allowing new owners to submit updates to previously submitted forms and to provide staff the flexibility to personalize letters that are sent to producers.
School Land Easement Request The board postponed action on a request from the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds for CPNRD to hold a conservation easement to implement a wetland in Buffalo County. The board requested more information from Westervelt Ecological Services, who would implement the wetland.
-Platte River Program Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program’s (PRRIP) Governance Committee is proposing a 13-year extension to meet the water goals. The preliminary cost for the extension are estimated at $118 million. A vote on the extension is scheduled for November 2, 2016. Comments are currently being accepted by the PRRIP Governance Committee.
-Cost Share The board approved 20 cost share applications through the Central Platte NRD Cost Share Program and the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation Program in the amount of $70,272.88. Practices approved include planned grazing, brush management, underground pipeline, windbreak renovation, center pivot incentive, soil moisture sensor, flow meter and well decommissioning.
-Commission Report Mick Reynolds, CPNRD’s Nebraska Natural Resources Commission representative, reported that projects totaling $45 million have been requested through the Water Sustainability Fund with $25 million available. The Commission will finalize rankings and take action on the applications on December 12, 2016.
-Awards Dianne Miller, administrative director, was recognized for 45 years of service by the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) during their annual conference on Tuesday. Miller began working for the Mid-Platte Valley Watershed in 1971, which was merged into the Natural Resources Districts and has been an employed by the Central Platte Natural Resources District since the NRDs were formed in 1972.
The Ken Seim family of Chapman, NE. received the Master Conservationist Agricultural Award during the NARD conference as well. The Seim family has implemented new techniques and technology to improve water and soil conservation on their operation for over 25 years.