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25,800 Acres Treated for Phragmites in Central Platte NRD

25,800 Acres Treated for Phragmites in Central Platte NRD

Rich Walters, Platte Valley Weed Management Area, reported that 25,800 acres have been treated for invasive Phragmites along the Platte River in the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) since 2009. Walters gave his report at the CPNRD’s board of directors meeting on Thursday. Walters said with the help of over 700 landowners, Phragmites have been reduced by 86 percent and purple loosestrife, also an invasive plant, has been reduced by 70 percent through continued maintenance.

In 2009, the Platte Valley Weed Management Area and West Central Weed Management Area collaborated to control Phragmites in 16 counties in south-central Nebraska, including approximately 315 river miles of the Platte River. A total of $5.5 million has been spent with 91 percent of the funds being used for herbicide and mechanical control, and the remaining funds used for monitoring, public outreach, legal/insurance costs, and project coordination. The Central Platte NRD has provided $418,118 towards the project in cooperation with 12 other federal, state, and local funding partners.

OTHER ACTION/AGENDA ITEMS

-Water Quantity The board approved issuing Cease & Desist Orders to two individuals in Polk and Dawson counties who irrigated acres that were not certified during the 2017 crop year.

A water transfer was approved from Hall County in CPNRD to Howard County in the Lower Loup NRD (LLNRD) at a 1:1 ratio pending approval from the LLNRD. The board denied an irrigation appeal from Lexington, NE. and requested that the landowners work with NRD staff to offset acres.

-Water Quality Of the approximately 1,000 producers who are required to submit annual reports, four producers have been issued a Cease & Desist Order for not submitting their 2017 crop forms for the Groundwater Quality Management Program. Those producers include: Doug Engel-Columbus, Kristen Klein-Cairo, William Soll-Columbus, and James Winchester-Gibbon. If these producers irrigate without getting back into compliance, they will be violating the NRD’s Rules and Regulations and could be fined by a District Court up to $5,000 each day that they irrigate. The producers were notified by two certified letters and five postal letters of the potential action.

-User-Friendly Crop Reporting Forms Sandy Noecker, data compliance officer, reported that the crop reporting forms will soon be more user-friendly for producers. New features will include auto-fill abilities from year-to-year reporting, save features for each page, and comment areas for producers to provide additional details. The changes will save producers time in filling out the reports and provide more accurate data for both producers and the CPNRD.

-College Scholarships Five applicants were selected to receive the Ron Bishop-CPNRD College Scholarship Program including: Madison Vahle-Grand Island, Chandler Flynn-Lexington, McKinley Harm-Gothenburg, Alex Stocker-Grand Island, and Kortni Burnett-Shelton. Applicants must be college juniors or college seniors majoring in a natural resources field to qualify for the scholarship.

-TAPS Funding Request The board approved a funding request from Chuck Burr, UNL, in the amount of $1,000 for the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS). TAPS will host three Farm Management Competitions for the 2018 growing season including corn under sprinkler irrigation, corn with subsurface drip irrigation, and grain sorghum under sprinkler irrigation. All competitions will include UNL scientists, farmers, and state and local agency teams. The program will also look at additional tools and techniques offered by the ag industry to make irrigated crop production more profitable and more water and nitrogen efficient.

-Groundwater Quality Presentations Two seniors from Central City High School’s scientific research class presented their groundwater quality projects to the board. The students worked with current and former hydrologists Brandi Flyr and Duane Woodward on their projects.

-Natural Resources Conservation Service Mike Pavel, resources conservationist, reported that the Buffalo County office had 50 tree orders including 16 district plantings and 12 new EQIP contracts.

-2019 Fiscal Budgets The Programs, Eastern Projects, and Water Resources committees forwarded their proposed 2019 fiscal budgets to the Budget Committee.

-Cost-Share Eight applications were approved through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program and the Central Platte NRD in the amount of $9,007.50 for streambank stabilization, grazing deferment, and well decommissioning.

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