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Central Platte Natural Resources District board OKs drainage and acreage reserve agreements

Central Platte Natural Resources District board OKs drainage and acreage reserve agreements

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The Central Platte Natural Resources District’s board of directors approved on Thursday an agreement to improve drainage both upstream and downstream of the Platte Valley Industrial Park area in Grand Island.

The project will consist of grading existing county road ditches from Blaine Street to Schimmer Drive, easements and installation of a 36-inch storm sewer pipe that would 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 Central Platte NRD, Grand Island Economic Development Corp., Grand Island City Council and Hall County. CPNRD’s cost is estimated at $180,000 and will be funded in two fiscal budget years.

In other board action, they approved holding a public hearing to host a 30-Year Acreage Reserve Program to be included in CPNRD’s Ground Water Management Plan Rules and Regulations.

The conservation program will provide a long-term solution in protecting surface water rights. Irrigation districts will sign up for the program and surface water users will have the option to opt in or opt out of the program annually.

The program was developed to ensure that supplies in the Platte Basin are optimized and managed efficiently with maximum benefits and to meet water management obligations.

A public hearing will be held at 1:45 p.m. Jan. 22, 2021, to add the 30-Year Acreage Reserve Program to the Ground Water Management Plan Rules and Regulations.

Karen Griffith, project manager of Olsson Engineering Service, provided a progress report to the Water Quantity Committee on updates to the NRD’s Ground Water Management Plan.

Griffith reported that Olsson has evaluated the current plan triggers, updated data sets and maps, and has run more than 200 scenarios with the Cooperative Hydrology Study model and the Groundwater Evaluation Toolkit to predict what may happen with future management options. The committee requested that Olsson run a couple of additional scenarios as they continue updating the plan.

Jesse Bradley, assistant director, and Jennifer Schellpeper, division head for the Water Planning Division of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, reported about a program being developed to fine tune the water management framework for surface water and groundwater users. The program would bring together state Integrated Management Plan goals providing long-term certainty for the Platte Basin.

Partners include the five Platte Basin Natural Resources Districts (Central Platte, North Platte, South Platte, Twin Platte and Tri-Basin), Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, Nebraska Public Power District and the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program.

Financial contributions from the partners would allow for a long-term funding source for groundwater recharge provided by the surface water irrigation districts and other entities. Bradley said the partners will continue to work to implement a plan within the next two years.

Lyndon Vogt, CPNRD general manager, reported that the Interbasin Transfer Application to divert water from the Platte River to the Republican River was refiled. In July 2018, CPNRD filed a formal objection to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources on the application.

Vogt reported that the Central Platte and other NRDs recently were awarded an RCPP grant for the Nebraska Forest Restoration Partnership. The grant will allow Central Platte NRD to provide 75% cost-share for windbreak establishment and renovation, tree and shrub planting, weed barrier and drip irrigation.

Central Platte NRD has 21 members on the board of directors who serve four-year terms, with two directors in each of the 10 subdistricts and one at-large director. Directors in the same subdistrict are elected in alternate election years.

The 2020 general election assembled the following board: Subdistrict 1, Jay Richeson, Gothenburg; Subdistrict 2, Dwayne Margritz, Lexington; Subdistrict 3, Marvion Reichert Jr., Elm Creek; Subdistrict 4, Eric Davis, Kearney; Subdistrict 4, Lon Bohn, Gibbon (2-year rerm); Subdistrict 5, Jim Bendfeldt, Kearney; Subdistrict 6, Mick Reynolds, Wood River; Subdistrict 7, Jerry Wiese, Grand Island; Subdistrict 8, LeRoy Arends, Grand Island; Subdistrict 9, Doug Reeves, Central City; Subdistrict 10, Barry Obermiller, Grand Island.

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