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Board accepting applications for irrigation wells in Sheridan County

The Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District (UNWNRD)  Board of Directors voted to accept applications for 2020 to allow irrigation wells and additional irrigated acres in groundwater management sub-area 3, or southern Sheridan County, for a second year.

In 2018, the UNWNRD Board of Directors began the process of amending the Groundwater Rules and Regulations due to increasing groundwater levels and other concerns raised by the residents of southern Sheridan County.

“When ranchers begin to lose hay meadows due to excess water, it makes sense to allow for additional wells and irrigated acres, so producers can meet the needs for a successful operation,” stated Mike Strasburger, UNWNRD director, and Sheridan
County resident.

The UNWNRD Board held a series of public meetings to discuss
the issues and options to correct this problem. In December of 2018, the Board voted to suspend the well moratorium in sub-area 3, which has been in effect since 2003, based on rising groundwater levels in southern Sheridan County.

In 2019, the UNWNRD Board received three applications to expand irrigated acres in southern Sheridan County. The three applications are all in various stages of completion.

“With static groundwater levels increasing and the encroachment of
surface water still posing problems for the residents of southern Sheridan County, the Board voted to accept additional applications in 2020,” said Lynn Webster, assistant manager of the UNWNRD.

According to the rules and regulations, the UNWNRD Board will allow for up to 1,300 total additional irrigated acres in sub-area 3, with a maximum of 130 acres per application. A list of criteria will be used to rank each application to ensure a prime location for each of these expansion sites. NRD staff will be available to work with any landowner interested in submitting a form.

Applications will be accepted through April 1. Approvals will be made no later than July.
For additional information or to begin the application process contact Webster at 308-432-6190 or

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