New Groundwater Management Rules and Regulations Effective March 1

Following the adoption of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District’s (P-MRNRD) new Groundwater Management Plan in February, new rules and regulations go into effect on March 1, 2018.  While this may seem ominous, the new rules don’t require everything to change all at once.

For instance, requirements to follow new fertilizer application dates won’t apply until after the 2018 crops are harvested.  Once crops are harvested, organic and low-level non-organic nitrogen fertilizer (<40 lbs N per acre) can be applied in all areas of the District.  Application of higher levels of non-organic nitrogen fertilizer (>40 lbs N per acre) must wait until after March 1, 2019, in the Platte and Elkhorn River valley (HCA area) and until after November 1, 2018, across the rest of the NRD (Non-HCA area).

The main requirement that does go into effect March 1, 2018, is that anyone within the District proposing to construct a high capacity well (those pumping over 50 gallons per minute) must submit for a Water Supply Well Permit from the District.  The application form for the permit is available online, or can be printed and submitted via email, fax at 402-896-6543, or by mail.  Please visit our Groundwater Quantity page for instructions and more details.

 

 

Finally, the District will be reviewing and considering a new Groundwater Management Program cost-share policy at its Subcommittee and Board of Directors meetings on March 6th and 8th respectively.  This policy would make cost-share available from the NRD to landowners to improve irrigation efficiency and help landowners in Phase II Groundwater Quality Management areas pay for soil nutrient testing.  It would also provide cost-share for up to five years for irrigators in the Platte and Elkhorn River valley to purchase and install flow meters.  After five years, flow meters will be required on all irrigation wells in this area.

It is also the intention of the NRD to continue to offer educational opportunities about the new Groundwater Management Plan in areas across the District.  Topics will include irrigation management, nutrient management, domestic well groundwater testing and wellhead protection.

 

 

The Time to Plan a Windbreak is Today

The past few years, northeast Nebraska, as well as other parts of the Midwest, have experienced some extreme weather conditions.  From flooding, to blistering heat, lack of rainfall, and strong winds have all taken a toll on the land, livestock, and wildlife that make this area of Nebraska unique.  Nature provides us with a tool that we can use to help protect against extreme weather forces and that tool is trees!

Trees provide several benefits for landowners and producers.  Trees provide protection for crops and livestock.  They protect soil from wind erosion, and well-designed shelterbelts can distribute drifting snow more evenly across the fields.  Trees can provide shelter in the winter and shade in the summer which can lessen the stress on livestock.

 

 

Trees can also provide benefit for humans.  Trees can reduce home heating and cooling costs by up to 30% by planting a good shelterbelt.  They can minimize snow drifts in roads, driveways, and around the house or farm.  Trees can even be used to help with noise reduction.

Trees also provide numerous benefits for wildlife.  Shelterbelts can provide habitat for wildlife, and they can also provide stream bank stabilization for streams and rivers.  Steam bank stabilization helps protect aquatic habitat, and trees can also help remove contaminants that would otherwise get into our water.

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (NRD) would like to encourage landowners to start planning now.  Orders are currently being taken at all NRD and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices for planting in the spring.  Landowners can order from a list of some forty-one species of trees and shrubs.  The price for 25 seedlings is $22.

For more information about tree orders, planting or the NRD cost-share program, contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and NRD office located at 1505 Broadway in Dakota City or by phone at (402) 494-4949.  A listing of all conservation trees and shrubs are also available online at www.nrdtrees.org

 

Public Hearings for New Groundwater Management Plan

Three public hearings are scheduled across the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (P-MRNRD) to gather community feedback on the District’s new Groundwater Management Plan.

The current P-MRNRD Groundwater Management Plan for the six-county NRD area including Sarpy, Douglas, Washington, and Dakota Counties plus the eastern portions of Burt and Thurston Counties in Nebraska, acknowledged a lack of existing information about groundwater quantity and quality. Since 1994, P-MRNRD has gathered a significant amount of hydrogeologic information on the distribution of groundwater aquifers across the district. Furthermore, with over 30 years of groundwater monitoring data, information on specific areas within the district with water quantity and quality issues have been identified.

Topics to be discussed at the public hearings include:

– Who would be affected?
– Proposed rules and regulations
– What are the benefits of the new plan?
– What would change?
– What portions of the District may be designated as a Groundwater Management Area?

More than 750,000 people live in the Papio-Missouri River NRD area and many rely on clean groundwater as their drinking water supply, for irrigation, and various industrial uses. The new Groundwater Management Plan has been prepared with more recent data, as well as input from stakeholders across the District who represented groundwater users in the NRD. The new Groundwater Management Plan is expected to replace the existing plan.

Public Hearings

The public hearings in Dakota City, Tekamah, and Omaha are scheduled as follows:

  • November 30, 2017 @ 6:30 p.m. – Dakota City Field Office, 1505 Broadway, Dakota City, NE
  • December 7, 2017 @ 6:30 p.m. – First Northeast Bank of Nebraska, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 448 South 13th Street, Tekamah, NE
  • December 14, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. – Natural Resources Center, 8901 S. 154th Street, Omaha, NE

Cost-Sharing Conservation Plans Available to Farmers and Ranchers

Farmers and ranchers interested in soil, water and wildlife conservation are encouraged to sign up now for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  EQIP is available from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Those interested in applying for fiscal year 2018 program funds are encouraged to sign up before October 20, 2017.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available to private landowners and operators.  Through EQIP farmers and ranchers may receive financial and technical help to install conservation practices on agricultural land, such as examples pictured below.

Grassed waterway on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) tract south of Macy on the Omaha Indian Reservation.

According to Craig Derickson, NRCS State Conservationist, there are several options available to producers through EQIP.  “EQIP is one of our most versatile programs.  It offers cost-share and technical assistance to apply conservation measures on cropland and rangeland, as well as for animal feeding operations and establishing or enhancing wildlife habitat.  There are many opportunities available, and NRCS staff can help landowners and operators sort out their EQIP options.”

Individuals interested in entering into an EQIP agreement may apply at any time, but the ranking of applications on hand to receive funding will begin October 20, 2017.  The first step is to visit your local NRCS office in Dakota City or Walthill and complete an application.

 

Installation of a water pipeline on the Gerald Bousquet farm north of Hubbard, Nebraska, using an underground boring machine instead of a trencher to prevent possible erosion along the steep hillside.

 

For more than 75 years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has helped agricultural producers design and install conservation plans.  NRCS Conservationists work with landowners on their farm or ranch to develop a conservation plan based on resource goals.  Conservation planning assistance is free and does not require participation in financial programs.

For more information about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and other conservation programs, visit your local NRCS field office or go online at www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov.

 

Papio-Missouri River NRD Board Approves Property Tax Decrease and 2018 Budget

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/15/17

Contact: Jennifer Stauss
Office Phone 402-315-1708
Cell Phone 402-960-5329 

 

 

Papio-Missouri River NRD Board Approves Proposed 2018 Budget
Decrease in Property Tax Levy

Omaha, NE: At its September 14th meeting in Dakota City, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2018 general operating budget that includes a decrease in the NRD property tax levy.

“The District’s property tax levy will decrease this year and the District trimmed nearly $4 million off its overall budget from 2017,” said NRD General Manager, John Winkler. “For 12 out of 13 years, the District has either decreased or kept the tax levy the same. We work very hard to save local taxpayers millions of dollars. It’s our responsibility,” said Winkler.

The FY 2018 budget calls for a property tax levy of .037797 per $100 of assessed valuation, which means a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 would pay a total of $37.80 in property taxes next year to support NRD projects. The budget calls for an estimated $23 million in revenue from the NRD’s property tax levy. Total spending is estimated at $66.7 million.

The Papio-Missouri River NRD’s property tax levy amounts to less than two percent of the total property tax bill for residents living within the District’s six-county area. The levy is based on an estimated 4.6 percent increase in valuations across the district, which includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington and Dakota counties, plus the eastern 60% of Burt and Thurston counties.

 

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No Tax Levy Increase in Papio NRD’s Approved Proposed Budget

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/11/17

Contact: John Winkler, General Manager
Office Phone 444-6222
Cell Phone 402-616-2457 

 

Papio-Missouri River NRD Board Approves Proposed 2018 Budget
No Increase in Tax Levy

Omaha, NE: At its August 10th meeting, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors heard public comments and then voted to propose a Fiscal Year 2018 general operating budget that will, once again, require no increase in the NRD property tax levy.

“The District’s property tax levy will remain the same as last year,” said NRD General Manager, John Winkler. “This is 12 out of 13 years the District has either decreased or kept the tax levy the same. We work extremely hard to leverage federal and state cost sharing on projects to save local taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Winkler.

In addition, Winkler said the FY 2018 proposed budget is $1.5 million less than last year and the District is able to maintain a responsible budget and healthy financial position despite increases in costs like permitting, insurance, wages, materials and land costs.

The proposed budget calls for a FY 2018 property tax levy of .038034 per $100 of assessed valuation. This means that a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 would pay a total of $38.03 in property taxes next year to support NRD projects.The budget calls for an estimated $23 million in revenue from the NRD’s property tax levy. Total spending is estimated at just under $69 million.

The Papio-Missouri River NRD’s property tax levy amounts to less than two percent of the total property tax bill for residents living within the District’s six-county area.The levy is based on an estimated 3.5 percent increase in valuations across the district, which includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington and Dakota counties, plus the eastern 60% of Burt and Thurston counties.

The NRD Board of Directors will hold a public hearing, approve a final budget and set the tax levy at its September 14th board meeting in Dakota City.

 

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Free Scrap Tire Collection on Friday

Free scrap tire collection! The Papio Missouri River NRD, Nebraska Loess Hills RC&D Council and Lower Elkhorn NRD will have a free scrap tire collection on Friday, August 11, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon) at the Washington  County Fairgrounds in Arlington, NE. The fairgrounds are located on the western edge of Arlington, on the north side of Hwy 30 between Blair and Fremont.

This collection will accept all sizes of car, truck, semi and tractor tires. Each load is limited to 100 tires. No rims will be accepted so ALL tires must be off rim.  Tires cannot be accepted from any business which charges a tire disposal fee.  Do not leave vehicles unattended in line. Limited unloading help will be available, so plan to unload your own. The collection ends at noon, and the gates will be locked at that time, so be sure to arrive before 12:00 p.m. (noon).

 

The 10 county collection area includes Burt, Colfax, Cuming, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Stanton, Thurston and Washington counties.  Residents and businesses which do not charge tire disposal fees can dispose of tires at this collection.  Loads must enter through the east fairground entrance. Loads with less than 20 tires are encouraged to arrive during the last 90 minutes of the collection because this usually results in a shorter wait time for these smaller loads.

 

Champlin Tire Recycling will process the tires collected during the event.  This processing includes repair and retread of salvageable casings, reclamation of tires meeting used tire specifications and the production of park benches, picnic tables and feed bunks. Funding for this free collection is provided through a grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. For more information please contact Deborah Ward at the Papio Missouri River NRD (402) 374-1920 ex. 3.

 

 

NRD Earns Second Highest Bond Rating

The Papio-Missouri River NRD has been notified that the district received an excellent bond rating that will save tax dollars as the district refinances Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement bonds. S&P Global Ratings has assigned the NRD a AA- bond rating, the second highest possible. “This is great news for our local taxpayers,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “The rating reflects the NRD’s credit worthiness exemplified by its strong financial position, diverse and growing tax base and positive fiscal management,” he said.

The bonded funding is being used to construct flood control projects and water quality improvements in the district.

At their April, 2017 board meeting, the NRD Board of Directors took action to refinance Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds that may ultimately save NRD-area property taxpayers millions of dollars.

The NRD issued $58,200,000 of Flood Protection and Water Quality Enhancement Bonds over two bond offerings in 2013. Interest rates have declined to a point where refinancing a portion of the outstanding bonds may achieve interest cost savings over the remaining life of the bonds.

“The Nebraska Legislature entrusted the NRD with the opportunity to fund projects using bonding authority and we always seek ways to be good stewards of this authority,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “We believe we can save taxpayers one to two million dollars through this refinancing effort.”

The Board of Directors approved parameters for the refinancing of the bonds and directed the General Manager to explore the best course of action.

In 2015, the district refinanced bonds issued in 2010 and achieved approximately $460,000 of interest cost savings.

The district includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington and Dakota Counties plus the eastern portion of Burt and Thurston Counties.

 

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