Central Platte NRD Board Approves Preliminary Budget for Public Hearing
(Grand Island, NE)- The Central Platte Natural Resources District approved the proposed budget of expenditures and estimated liabilities on Thursday for purpose of holding a public hearing next month. Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that the initial projection shows only an additional $120,000 increase will be needed from taxpayers in the District. The hearing is scheduled for July 26th, just prior to the July board meeting.
--Western Projects Committee- The following items are on the committee’s agenda:
-Elm Creek Project- Kevin Prior, Olsson Associates, presented options on how to proceed with the proposed Elm Creek Project. The board authorized staff to continue working with the Nebraska Public Power District, State of Nebraska, Platte River Program and the engineering firm to see how to best proceed.
-Cozad Canal- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, presented information on liquidated damage on the canal in regards to Ho Chunk Construction Company. The board took action took assess a penalty fine of $17,500 for 35 days over contract time at a rate of $500 per day. The board also took action to approve advertisement for Phase II of the canal construction.
--CNPPID Proposal- Ron Bishop, general manager, reported that the presentation to the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District board to assist them in converting to conjunctive use water management, was “a cold reception.” Bishop said there were misconceptions among those who spoke against the project on what the NRD was actually proposing. The CPNRD and Twin Platte NRDs offered the CNPPID board financial assistance for future conjunctive management studies and financial assistance to landowners to switch to groundwater use. Bishop said, “We hope they will consider our proposal, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
--Executive and Variance/Appeals Sub-Committee- The board approved the committees’ recommendation to spend up to $100,000 to finish coverage for the District, specifically Custer County, for the LIDAR program. James Huntwork, NRCS, negotiated the cost with other NRDs and NRCS, who accepted CPNRD’s offer to purchase the coverage for $40,000. A final agreement will be reviewed next month. The Variance/Appeals Committee denied an appeal from Dawson County on the basis that the landowner had no proof of irrigation.
--Water Banking Agreements- The board took action to approve the following plans:
Platte Basin Water Project Coalition Interlocal Cooperation Agreement- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the following NRDs: South Platte, Twin Platte, North Platte, Tri-Basin and Central Platte. This agreement would allow utilization of the new Water Cash Fund through the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Legislature for Platte Basin water management activities and would take the place of the PBHEP. The board also approved Ron Bishop as representative and Mark Czaplewski and Duane Woodward as alternates for this program.
J-2 Regulating Reservoir- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and the following NRDs: Central Platte, Tri-Basin and Twin Platte. The agreement would allow excess flows from the Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District supply canals to be stored and later put into the Platte River when needed to meet U.S. Fish & Wildlife target flows. The excess flows would be used as credit for requirements of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Project.
Financial Management Agreement- Parties: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Community Foundation, and the following NRDs: Central Platte, South Platte, Tri-
Basin, and Twin Platte. The agreement states that the Nebraska Community Foundation will be utilized for administrative and financial management support for water management activities.
--Clean Community System- Betty Curtis, Clean Community Service, gave a report on the programs that CCS provides and how the $20,000 that the NRD provides is used. The board requested that Curtis contact the other NRDs that are covered by her services to request funding from them as well.
--Contract Amendments- The board took action to approve amendments
--Hazard Mitigation- The board approved a resolution to approve the Hazard Mitigation Plan by FEMA. The 29 other participants including cities, counties and other agencies will now need to approve the resolution before the Plan takes effect. Once all participants have signed the Plan, they will be protected from loss of life and property due to natural disasters.
--Water Levels- Jesse Mintken and Shane Max reported that water levels throughout the District have changed very little from Spring 2011 to Spring 2012, and are very similar to levels from 1982 as well. The District checked 507 wells this spring and the average across the District remains two feet above or below the 1982 levels. Maps are available on the NRD website at: www.cpnrd.org.
--PRRIP- Mark Czaplewski, biologist, reported that the Program’s Governance Committee met on June 12-13 in
Channel restrictions related to a “choke point” in the lower North Platte River near
The Program continues to close in on completing the first increment land goal of 10,000 acres. To date, the Program has acquired (via fee title purchase, sponsorship agreement, conservation easement and lease) a total of 9,527 acres and plans to dispose of 379 acres, leaving only 852 additional acres to meet their goal. The Program is currently in the process of disposing of some of the lands acquired that were purchased to get habitat lands, but that are not needed for habitat. The land totals will drop slightly as these acres will either be sold at auction or to preferred buyers as detailed in Program land disposal plans.
Duane Woodward, hydrologist, reported that the Water Action Committee finalized the recharge study which studied the amount of recharge from Phelps County Canal needed to recharge the basin by adding groundwater to the Platte River. Monitoring on the project will continue.
--Tree Program- Kelly Cole, programs coordinator, reported that the NRD sold 48,025 trees in 2012, down from the 54,275 sold last year. The NRD has sold a total of 3,469,381 trees since 1973. Cole also reported that weed barrier sales were also down from 28 miles sold in 2011 to 15 sold this year. Sales from weed barrier sold since 1991 total 503 miles.
--NRCS- James Huntwork, district conservationist, reported that the annual meeting for the Local Working Group will be held on July 10, 2012. The meeting agenda includes discussing ranking pools and criteria, priority system, and payment schedules for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). A public forum will be held from 9:45-10:15 a.m. at the Central Platte NRD office in Grand Island.
--Partial Retirement- Milt Moravek, assistant manager, was recognized for 43 years of service to the Central Platte NRD. Moravek will continue his employment at the NRD on a part-time basis.
--Cost Share- 17 applications were approved for cost share through the CPNRD well decommissioning program in the amount of $12,500.
--Upcoming Board Meetings- Thursdays: July 26, August 30 and September 27.
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