The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s property tax levy for the 2016/2017 fiscal budget and the property tax request are both down from the 2015/2016 fiscal budget. The levy was approved at 0.03582, down from 0.03842; while the tax request is $6,106,674.82, down $9,034.82. On Thursday, the board held a public hearing and took action at their board meeting to approve setting the levy rate.
The property taxes received by CPNRD provide funding to develop flood control projects, manage water quality and soil health, address groundwater and surface water uses, provide cost share to producers, recreation, wildlife habitat, and other natural resources benefits.
Other action/agenda items included:
-Groundwater Exchange Expansion- The board approved proposed changes to the Groundwater Exchange Rules & Regulations, expanding the Program to include the Loup Basin within the District and adding definition of terms. A public hearing will be held at 1:50 p.m. on Thursday, September 29, 2016 to take testimony on the proposed changes. If approved, the Groundwater Exchange pre-approval process for buyers and sellers would take place from October 3-November 23. The online Exchange would take place December 1-9, so that producers would have time to plan for spring planting.
-Little Sprouts Outdoor Classroom- The board approved $2,000 in funding to the Kearney Area Children’s Museum to help the Museum develop a Prairie Garden Walkway in their Little Sprouts Outdoor Classroom. Plants will be selected that represent the prairie throughout the four seasons of the year. Tours and workshops will be conducted focusing on biodiversity, characteristics of native prairie plants, and the role that these plants play in supporting the prairie ecosystem. CPNRD’s Community Grants Program provides community organizations grant funds to provide natural resources education to school groups or groups outside of their organization.
-NRCS December Event Request- The board approved $500 in funding to bring Gabe Brown, a renowned farmer/rancher from North Dakota, to speak at the Trotter Event Center in Ord, NE on December 5, 2016. Brown is a producer who uses zero synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides on his 5,000-acre farm/ ranch; while out yielding the county average by 25 percent. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and local RC&D are hosting the event.
-Kirkpatrick Lake Restoration- The board approved a letter of support for the City of Lexington’s grant request to the Nebraska Environmental Trust for funding to restore Kirkpatrick Lake. Renovation plans call for lake dredging to enhance aquatic vegetation growth and sustainable fish habitat; improving access to the water via tree removal and installation of ADA fishing piers; shoreline stabilization to minimize the amount of sediment entering the lake, and promoting greater water clarity. CPNRD would provide technical assistance towards the restoration.
-Annual Water Report- The board received a summary of water use activities that took place within the District in 2015. CPNRD has a total of 1,028,044 irrigated acres of which 936,554 acres are groundwater only; 14,315 acres are surface water only; and 77,175 acres are a co-mingled use. There were 160 transfers which totaled 1,955 acres of new irrigated lands; 1,094 certified acres were used to offset the new uses and 160 acres were retired. By the close of 2015, the CPNRD Water Bank had a balance of 2,566 acre-feet of water rights available for offset in the over-appropriated area. The surface water canals in Dawson County have diverted 37,359 acre-feet and the computed recharge back to the Platte River was 23,883 acre-feet. (The complete summary is attached.)
-Clean Community System Request- The board approved a funding request in the amount of $2,000 to be used for the operation of the Grand Island Area Clean Community Center facility and disposal of hazardous waste.
-Voting Delegate- The board selected Jim Bendfeldt, Kearney, as voting delegate and Jay Richeson, Gothenburg, as alternate, for the Nebraska Association of Resources District’s annual conference to be held September 26-27 in Kearney, NE.
-Cost Share- The board approved 10 cost share payments through the Nebraska Soil & Water Conservation Program and the CPNRD Cost Share Program for range planting, brush management, underground pipeline, grazing deferment, grassland conservation, cover crop, and center pivot incentive in the amount of $98,994.51.
-September Board Meeting- The upcoming board meeting will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016, to accommodate publishing requirements for the Groundwater Exchange public hearing.