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nerain_logoThe Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) collects rainfall information all across Nebraska. Click logo to see rain reports.

The network needs volunteers to collect and report rainfall amounts. To participate, e-mail NeRAIN Coordinator Tyler Sanders or call him at (308) 254-2377.

Many SPNRD projects and programs are made possible thanks to Nebraska Environmental Trust grants. To learn more about NET's comittment to Nebraska's natural resources, click here.

The South Platte NRD Board of Directors is a group of locally elected officials managing area natural resources on your behalf. The board meets the second Tuesday of each month and welcomes your input.

The next scheduled board meeting is:
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
5:00 p.m. at the District Office, 551 Parkland Dr. in Sidney.
Click here to see board agendas and minutes.



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                                                           Public Notices

The meetings of the various boards, committees and advisory groups performing their functions on behalf of the South Platte Natural Resources District are meetings where business is discussed in open session, except where provided by state law. The District Board of Directors encourages members of the public to attend such meetings and provide input as to the management of natural resources in the southern Panhandle.

To see meeting notices, click here.

Districtwide Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations Notices

Click Here for Public Notices regarding the South Platte Natural Resources District proposed irrigation allocations for the upcoming 2016 - 2018 districtwide allocation period.

Click Here to view a draft copy of the amended only pages(pgs 1,3, 22-23, 50) of the Rules and Regulations regarding the South Platte Natural Resources District proposed irrigation allocations for the upcoming 2016 - 2018 districtwide allocation period.

Click Here to view a full draft copy of the Rules and Regulations including the South Platte Natural Resources District proposed irrigation allocations for the upcoming 2016 - 2018 districtwide allocation period.

For questions about the proposed irrigation allocations for the upcoming 2016 - 2018 districtwide allocation period please contact the South Platte Natural Resources District office at 308-254-2377 or stop by at 551 Parkland Drive, Sidney.


Online Information Session For Districtwide Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations

The Western Water Use Management Modeling is one of the tools being utilized by the District Board to make decisions regarding the irrigation allocations that are part of the Districtwide Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations.  Thad Kuntz, Principal hydrogeologist from Adaptive Resources, Inc.  presented information from the modeling at Ground Water Advisory Committee Meetings in Kimball, Sidney, and Big Springs.  Another presentation will be given on September 15th at 5 p.m. at the Cheyenne County Fairgrounds prior to the Public Hearing on the Districtwide Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations.

Click Here for an online condensed presentation.

Public Hearing Set for Proposed Irrigation Allocations

A September 15th hearing has been set by the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD) to hear public testimony for the proposed irrigation allocations.  The SPNRD board took action during its August 11th meeting to set preliminary numbers for each subarea in the District for the next allocation period that runs from 2016 through 2018.  The District re-evaluates the irrigation allocations in each subarea every three years.

Ground Water Advisory Committee meetings were held in Kimball, Sidney, and Big Springs prior to the board meeting to give the public a chance to see and comment on information that has been provided to the board over the past several months by Thad Kuntz,  Principal Hydrogeologist from Adaptive Resources, Inc., using the Western Water Use Management Model (WWUMM).  The WWUMM is an analysis model using available data to help predict what the cumulative effects of irrigation may be to the Ogallala Aquifer, the Lodgepole Creek, and the South Platte River Basin. 

Using the analysis along with the Spring 2015 Ground Water Level report and the 2014 Water Usage report, the board proposed the following preliminary allocation ranges for each subarea:

A – Wyoming State Line to Oliver Reservoir  36”-42”
B – Oliver Reservoir to Buffalo Bend  36”-42”
C – Buffalo Bend to Sidney  36”-42”
D – Sidney to Colorado State Line  42”–48”
E – South Platte Valley  48”-54”
F – Tablelands  36”-42”

The preliminary numbers represent the total amount of usage over the three year period of 2016 – 2018.  For subareas A, B, C, and F the range for consideration represent 12” – 14” per year, while subarea D has a range of 14” – 16” and subarea E has a range of 16” – 18”.  

The board also proposed a preliminary carryforward range of 10” – 20” total for the three year allocation period. 

The preliminary ranges for both the allocation subareas and the carryforward represent what the board is considering.  When the board decides what the actual allocation and carryforward are they will not be a range but will be specific numbers.

The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 6:30 p.m., or 30 minutes following the end of a public information session, whichever is later, at the Cheyenne County 4-H Building located at 10955 US Highway 30, Sidney, Nebraska.  An information session similar to those at the Ground Water Advisory Committee meetings will precede the public hearing at 5:00 p.m. at the Cheyenne County 4-H Building.

For more information about the proposed irrigation allocations for the upcoming 2016 - 2018 allocation period please contact the South Platte Natural Resources District office at 308-254-2377 or stop by at 551 Parkland Drive, Sidney.

Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area a Success

July 21, 2015

During the July, 2015 SPNRD board meeting Kent Matsutani was invited to give a report about progress at the Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area (ORRA) which is located 8 miles west of Kimball.

Matsutani, along with Randy Gunn,technicians for the SPNRD at ORRA, began work at the site in late April of this year and Matsutani dicussed several upgrades made this past spring.

One important upgrade has been to the restrooms.Ventilation and a cleaner environment have been key steps to making a better experience for those visiting. Another area of priority was to clean and repair the picnic tables and the playground area. More signage and a new buoy system are also helping visitors to navigate the reservoir area.

(Click here to read more.)

Sidney Captures Second At State Envirothon

COZAD – The Sidney High School Envirothon team made a run at the Nebraska state championship here at Camp Comeca, falling by points to champion Concordia High School in the end.

Sidney Envirothon 15
Sidney Envirotnon Team members included Skylar Arent, Tanner Nienhueser, Theda Parker, Logan Uhlir and Ryan Birner

Sidney tied Concordia in one of the seven skill areas, Aquatics, but Concordia topped all teams in five additional areas to capture their third straight state title. Concordia will now prepare for the National Envirothon in Springfield, Missouri in July.

On the way to state, student teams, consisting of five members, first competed in one of six regional contests around the state. The highest scoring teams earned the opportunity to compete at the state competition.

Sidney led a contingent of three teams from the West Region, covering the Panhandle. Also competing from the region were teams from Chadron and Creek Valley High School at Chappell. (Click here to read more.)

Final Seat Filled On SPNRD Board

The South Platte NRD board is full again following the appointment to fill the vacancy left by former Subdistrict 6 Director Tom Biggs, who retired at the end of 2014. No one filed for the seat in the November election, setting up the need for an appointed director.

Kathy Narjes
Kathy Narjes

Two candidates, Randy Horst of Gurley and Kathy Narjes of rural Lodgepole applied for the position. Each was interviewed during the District’s February board meeting, outlining their qualifications and reasons for their application. Following the interviews a written ballot and subsequent roll call vote was taken to see who would be the nominee.

Narjes, who takes part in a farm and ranch operation with her husband Phil and also serves as a part-time legal assistant, was chosen to fill the seat. Her appointment is until the next election in two years, at which time she can run to continue her term. (Click here to read more.)

Board Begins Year With A New Member

The South Platte Natural Resources District board of directors began the year by welcoming a new member into its fold, while choosing Keith Rexroth to continue his role as chairman.

Phil Grabowski
Phil Grabowski

Phil Grabowski of rural Sidney joined the board after being elected last November, replacing long-time board member Paul Hutchison, who retired at the end of his term last year. Grabowski is a farmer and rancher and will represent NRD Subdistrict 4, covering southwest Cheyenne county including a portion of southwest Sidney.

Grabowski was sworn in just prior to the board meeting, along with Jim Johnson of Dix, who was re-elected to serve Subdistrict 2, covering eastern Kimball County and part of western Cheyenne County. (Click here to read more.)

South Platte NRD Honors Retiring Members

Tom Biggs, Paul Hutchison

The South Platte Natural Resources District board of directors closed out its final meeting of 2014 by bidding farewell to a pair of retiring long term members.

Directors Paul Hutchison and Tom Biggs attended their last meeting as part of a board that established most of the District’s water management rules and regulations during their tenures.

Both were board members when LB 962, the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature. The resulting Districtwide Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations and the District’s Integrated Management Plan that serve as the backbone of the District’s ground water management were major achievements. (Click here to read more.)

District Partipates In Aquifer Recharge Project

Working together, the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD), Twin Platte Natural Resources RechargeDistrict (TPNRD), Western Irrigation District, and landowners in Keith and Deuel Counties are taking advantage of the excess flows in the South Platte River.  These entities are working together to turn high flows in the South Platte River into ground water recharge.

The goal of this project is to capture the excess water, or amount of water that is not already permitted for downstream uses, and recharge it into the ground water aquifer instead of just letting it flow by unused. (Click here to read more.)

Armstrong, Diemoz Appointed to Monitoring Committee

At its March board meeting the South Platte Natural resources District board of directors appointed two Kimball County residents to fill open positions on a local monitoring committee.

Dennis Armstrong, of rural Bushnell and Steve Diemoz of rural Kimball, join the team that monitors operations at Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., a hazardous waste incinerator site located south of Kimball.

Armstrong Diemoz
Armstrong Diemoz

The Committee holds regular meetings where it receives reports from the plant manager, safety manager and its own consultant. Monitoring systems reviewed include the facility’s waste analysis plan, ash samples, air samples, soil samples, leachate, sludge and leak water, groundwater samples from 150 and 180 feet, and storm water.

The Committee also provides input to the regulatory agencies when Clean Harbors wants to change or renew permits.

Other CMC members from Kimball include Larry Stahla, chair, Peggy Sanders and Greg Robinson. SPNRD board member Jim Johnson and General Manager Rod Horn are also on the committee.

Joint Authority Formed To Manage East Sidney Drainage Issues

The District and the City of Sidney have been holding joint meetings for several months, working toward the development of options to alleviate problems caused by excessive drainage in southeast Sidney.

The entities have formed the Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority (JESWA) to manage a joint effort to reduce runoff and associated problems from the drainage area.

For a number of years, large rains have been a problem as development continues, changing runoff patterns. Flooding that has the potential to carry contaminants and silt, as well as resulting erosion, has prompted the effort for controlling the runoff. (Click here to read more.)

NRD Sponsored Project Focuses On ET

The District has been part of a project funded in conjunction with the Upper Niobrara White and North Platte NRDs and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

The ETgage® is a tool that can be used to mimic evapotranspiration (ET) rates and this information can be utilized for irrigation management. The online ETgage tool gives collaborators an easy-to-use tool for recording readings. This online tool also provides quick, easy access to readings from a specific location.

Gary Stone, from the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, presented year-two numbers from a three-year Panhandle-wide study on evapotranspiration (ET) and use of atmometers to measure crop water use. Click here to see more about the ET Project. See a PDF of the Project Report.

Also from the Research and Extension Center, Stone and Dr. Gary Hergert provided a short introduction to a new Excel-based program, Water Optimizer, developed by the University.

The program comes from studies done in deficit irrigation to assist agricultural producers determine potential crops, populations, water needs and other factors when full irrigation is not possible.

The University and Panhandle NRDs plan to work together on meetings that will showcase Water Optimizer, display its capabilities and help producers learn how to use it as a management tool. For more information on Water Optimizer, click here.

SPNRD Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan In Effect

The District-led Multijurisdicational Hazard Mitigation Plan is now in effect, opening the door to participating entities which have needs protecting residents in the event of natural disasters.

Under the Disaster Management Act of 2000, local entities are required to form a Hazard Mitigation Plan to take action before a disaster occurs to reduce or eliminate threats. (Click here to read more)

Program Provides Options To Preserve Area’s Grassland Cover

With the potential expiration of contracts protecting more than 260,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in the Panhandle by 2013, Panhandle natural resources districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service have teamed together to preserve regional grassland cover. (Click here to read more)