WAHOO – After much debate over chicken barns in the county, the natural resources district is staying on the fence.

    At their regular meeting on Monday night, the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District Board of Directors voted unanimously not to take a position for or against concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO).

    The Saunders County Board of Supervisors recently approved a conditional use permit for a 12-barn chicken operation near Morse Bluff, and another similar facility is planned for Lancaster County near the Saunders County border. Both proposals have drawn a lot of opposition.

    Chairman Gene Ruzicka said the LPNNRD has been neutral on this type of livestock operation for many years. But they have never put it in writing.

    Board Member Bob Meduna said the NRD must stay out of the way of the agency that regulates such operations, which is the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, formerly known

as the Department of Environmental Quality.

    “We do not have jurisdiction,” he said.

    However, some members said there could be situations where the NRD may need to be a part of the discussion.

    “If it affects water quality or water quantity, that’s when we can become involved,” said Ruzicka.

    Several board members brought up concerns about nutrient management, which includes processing manure and deceased animals into fertilizer. Nitrates and storm water runoff were also mentioned.

    “It is not just the nutrient management plan and manure on the fields that becomes a concern on our board,” said Board Member Nancy Meyer. “It is runoff from the sites.”

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