Papio NRD Board of Directors Elects Officers

Media Contact:
Jennifer Stauss Story


July 27, 2018

Omaha, NE – At its July 12, 2018 meeting, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors elected officers to serve the District for the coming year (July 2018 – July 2019).

Jim Thompson in Subdistrict 1 has been elected to serve a one-year term as NRD Board Chairperson. Thompson replaces David Klug, who chose not to run for re-election as he focuses on election to the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners.

Fred Conley in Subdistrict 2 was re-elected Vice Chairperson.

Re-elected Treasurer is John Conley in Subdistrict 4. Conley will serve as Treasurer until his term ends in December. The Board of Directors will hold elections for Conley’s successor shortly thereafter. Tim Fowler in Subdistrict 8 was elected to serve as Assistant Treasurer.

Richard Tesar in Subdistrict 5 was re-elected as both Secretary and Nebraska Association of Resources District’s (NARD) Director. Fowler was elected NARD’s Alternate Director.

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board of Directors is an 11-member board that sets policy for Papio NRD programs and projects and oversees a $67 million annual budget.

About the Papio NRD

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District is one of 23 Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) in Nebraska. NRDs are multi-county governments organized along major watersheds with broad responsibilities to protect and enhance our state’s natural resources. The Papio NRD includes all of Sarpy, Douglas, Washington, and Dakota counties, plus the eastern 60% of Burt and Thurston counties. Learn more about the Papio NRD at








Flanagan Lake Officially Opens to the Public

Flood control reservoir provides public safety and recreational opportunities for Omaha citizens

Omaha, NE, June, 27, 2018 – The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and the City of Omaha today celebrated the grand opening of Flanagan Lake, Omaha’s latest flood control reservoir in the Papillion Creek Watershed, that provides flood protection for Omaha citizens and 730 acres of recreational benefits, such as a 220-acre lake, five-mile hiking/biking trail, and park and green space.

“Flanagan Lake is a reservoir designed to protect the lives and property of Omaha citizens from floods,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. “This is its primary purpose. The recreational amenities that accompany these types of public safety infrastructure projects are made possible through partnerships. So, it’s flood protection with some incredible cherries on top,” said Winkler.

The $47 million project, located near 168th and Fort Streets, is the largest single flood control structure undertaken by the Papio NRD. It will retain stormwater runoff from an upstream area of approximately 11 square miles. Once the Papio NRD completed construction of the reservoir in 2018, the City of Omaha took over management of the park.

“Just as Father Flanagan created Boys Town to provide a family-centered environment for children, Flanagan Lake is a beautiful public space that will provide family-oriented recreation and leisure,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “Our excellent parks system provides free entertainment in every part of Omaha. We look forward to opening a Boys Town playground next year, and offering year-round activities for everyone,” said Stothert.

“While the recreational benefits are much more apparent to citizens, providing public safety is Flanagan Lake’s number one job,” said Winkler. “Most people aren’t aware of this. So, as citizens run the trail or kayak the waters, they can do so knowing flood protection is in action while they play.”


To continue the grand opening celebration, Winker also announced the kick-off a city-wide “Dam Fun Contest,” where citizens can enter to win recreation-themed prizes donated by sponsors. For more contest information, visit

Additional companies/organizations involved in the design and construction of Flanagan Lake who spoke at today’s grand opening ceremony included HDR, Inc. Vice President & Project Manager John Engel, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Chairman Dick Bell, Papio NRD Board of Directors Chairman David Klug, and City of Omaha Parks and Recreation Director Brook Bench.

Low-Flying Helicopter – Not to Alarm Public

The Papio NRD and ENWRA (Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Commission) have low-flying helicopter flights taking place in late June and July over Eastern Nebraska to collect and record geologic measurements to learn more about buried aquifers. We want to public to be aware so they will not be alarmed if they see a helicopter mounted with instruments in their area.

Below is a news release from ENWRA with more information.

Eastern Nebraska residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying helicopter over areas of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (P-MRNRD) in June and July.

Beginning in late June and lasting approximately two to three weeks, instruments mounted below a helicopter will collect and record geologic measurements to learn more about buried aquifers (glacial sands and gravels, sandstones and other water-bearing materials).  The P-MRNRD and other members of the Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA), a coalition of six NRDs in the eastern third of Nebraska, have planned the flights with help from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, through the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission.  According to Katie Cameron, coordinator of ENWRA, “The flights will improve our understanding of available ground water and its possible connections with surface water in an area of the state made more complex by the presence of glacial deposits.”

Aqua Geo Frameworks (AGF), of Mitchell, Nebraska will oversee the flights, process data and produce a final report.  The equipment can collect data at a speed of more than 50 miles per hour and explore to a depth of more than 700 feet below the ground surface.  The helicopter will fly over parts of Dakota, Thurston, Burt, Washington, Douglas, and northwestern Sarpy Counties within the P-MRNRD.   Cameron said the flights will be a continuation of ENWRA flights conducted during summer 2016 and will focus with more detail on several areas within the P-MRNRD.  Scientific equipment is towed about 100 feet below the helicopter in a ‘spider web’ array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the surface of the earth.  The helicopter will be manned by experienced pilots specially trained for low-level flying with this equipment.  Similar flights have been made across Nebraska since 2007, according to Cameron, as NRDs seek to better understand and manage ground water resources.

For more information, please contact:

Katie Cameron, PG
UNL Survey Hydrogeologist / ENWRA Coordinator
PH: (402) 476-2729

PH: (402) 419-4798 cell


Recycle Your Pesticide Containers

Pesticide Container Collections for Dakota and Thurston County

Dakota and Thurston County farmers and pesticide applicators will again have the opportunity to recycle pesticide containers to help protect water and air quality in our area.  One collection site will be staffed for inspection and the collection will be open to the public each Wednesday during June and July as follows:

South Sioux City – Central Valley Ag (Junction of U.S. Hwy 20 and NE 110)

11:00 a.m. to Noon

 In addition to the 1, 2 and 5-gallon plastic containers, the 15, 30 and 50-gallon plastic drums will also be accepted for recycling.  All plastic pesticide containers and drums must be properly cleaned and prepared to be acceptable for recycling.  This includes being triple-rinsed or power washed and have the plastic caps and wrappers removed.  These containers and drums must be free of visible chemical residue on the inside and outside.

This activity to help protect the environment is possible through the cooperation of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (NRD), UNL Extension, four agri-businesses, the Nebraska Loess Hills Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, and the Agricultural Container Research Council (ACRC).

During 2017 more than 13,000 plastic pesticide containers (nearly 4 tons) were inspected, collected and shredded to make more pesticide containers, parking lot stops, pallets, and plastic lumber.  Since 1995 more than 232,000 (102.5 tons) containers have been recycled in Dakota and Thurston Counties and kept out of landfills.

For more information about recycling plastic agricultural pesticide containers contact your local NRD, RC&D, Extension office or USDA Service Center.


156th Street Trail Closure

Starting Monday May 21st, the section of trail along the old 156th street right-of-way inside the Chalco Hills Recreation Area will be closed in order for crews to remove the existing asphalt trail and replace it with a wider section of concrete.  This section of trail will be closed for approximately 3-4 weeks.



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


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