LINCOLN – The Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) Board of Directors approved $5,000 in cost-sharing to help establish a demonstration farm on a 60-acre wellfield owned by Waverly.

On April 15, the LPSNRD board met by video/teleconference.

The City of Waverly has taken a proactive approach to protecting its water supply, and LPSNRD, along with other agencies, is helping however it can at the city’s request.

“Best management practices, such as cover crops, variable rate fertilization, soil sample analysis and more could be evaluated for their effectiveness in protecting groundwater, compared to traditional farming methods on the 60-acre plot,” LPSNRD Water Resources Specialist Dick Ehrman said.

An advisory group of Waverly-area stakeholders is also involved. The cost-sharing approved by the board is for the first year of the project.

The board also approved progress in work being done to help manage eastern Nebraska’s groundwater.

The Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA) project has been studying eastern Nebraska’s complex geology since 2006, with a goal of creating a geologic framework and water budget. Many rural residents of ENWRA’s six NRDs in the eastern portion of Nebraska, including Lower Platte South, have seen aerial electromagnetic (AEM) equipment suspended from a helicopter over their land, as it maps the geology to a depth of 400 feet or more.

The board voted to extend the Nebraska GeoCloud AEM-related partnership and the ENWRA coordinator position for two years. The extensions of four other project-related agreements were also approved and some of the agreements will require approval from other NRD boards.

“The pooling of resources by these NRDs to fund the Nebraska GeoCloud and support the ENWRA project will not only help guide their groundwater management well into the future, it will also benefit the eastern quarter of Nebraska economically and environmentally,” ENWRA Coordinator Katie Cameron said.

A watershed dam near Plattsmouth will get needed repairs, after the LPSNRD Board approved a contractor’s bid. Dam 7-C is one in a group of five dams that protect the city from flooding. The bid of $91,542 is to repair the spillway.

In other action, the LPSNRD Board of Directors:

- Approved continuing under agreement with NPAIT/PMA as a financial services provider

- Approved an annual operational agreement with NRCS/USDA

- Modified a joint funding agreement between the Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance and the USGS for the National Guard Platte River Chute Monitoring gage, near Ashland, to extend water quality monitoring for an additional year at no additional cost

- Approved four surface water quality best management practice cost-sharing applications totaling $54,972

- Approved an annual advertising agreement with the Lincoln Journal Star

- Approved a newsletter printing and distribution agreement with the Lincoln Journal Star

- Approved a removal and replacement agreement with Norris Public Power District for the Upper Salt 3-A Watershed Rehabilitation Project

- Approved a Removal and Replacement Agreement with Windstream Communications for the Upper Salt 3-A Watershed Rehabilitation Project

- Approved a staff salary increase of 2.5% for Fiscal Year 2021, starting July 1, 2020

- Approved continued landrights negotiations by staff for the Roberts/Honvlez Conservation Easement property in the Prairie Corridor on Haines Branch

- Approved applying for planning assistance from the USDA/NRCS for the Little Salt Creek Watershed Plan

The next monthly meeting is Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. Go to LPSNRD.org for details.

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