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L&C NRD holds water quality meeting

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L&C NRD holds water quality meeting

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WYNOT — The last of four area Water Quality Management Plan meetings was held May 28 at the Wynot Fire Hall.

The first of four Water Quality Management Plan meetings was held at the Cobblestone Hotel, Hartington, Aug. 30 of last year.

At that meeting, the Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District introduced the need for a water quality plan.

At these four meetings, the NRD asked for public input while establishing a technical and advisory committee to assist in the development of a water quality plan to protect and improve the surface and ground water in the district.

The advisory and technical committee were set up to receive and review public input in the Lewis & Clark NRD with three priority areas identified through modeling and water quality monitoring, then selected by the stakeholders with the public input from these meetings and open houses.

These include portions of Howe Creek and Bazile Creek in Knox County and portions of the Bow Creek watershed in Cedar County.

Primary pollutants to surface water in these priority areas is bacteria, with elevated nitrate levels in groundwater also a concern, particularly in the Bazile watershed of Knox County.

The local stakeholder advisory committee consisted of Cedar, Knox and Dixon County Supervisors or Commissioners, agriculture producers, both irrigated and dry land, as well as representatives from the city of Creighton and the Santee Sioux Nation.

The technical advisors on the committee were from the L&C NRD, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and FYRA Engineering.

The representative from NDEQ reviewed their role in water quality and discussed the funding possibilities once planning is completed, while FYRA Engineering reviewed the district’s water quality, and introduced their plan to the NRD.

Several guest speakers took part in the meeting, which was very well attended. 

Those in attendance included Nebraska Dist. 40 Sen. Tim Gragert, Creighton.

Sen. Gragert talked about the Healthy Soils Task Force, which is working at defining and maintaining healthy soil and how it affects both the surface and ground water.

Also at the meeting were Matt Bailey and Carl Grotelueschen, Schuyler, two members of the Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group. 

They explained how their community-led group helped to improve the water quality on Shell Creek, reducing Atrazine to reasonable levels while continuing to work on E-Coli contamination.

Representing the NRCS were Austin Baldwin and Dirk Schultz, who held a discussion pertaining to healthy soils and its affect on surface and groundwater. Included in the discussion were the ways no-till farming affects crop production and protects our water.

Also in attendance was Nebraska Game & Park representative Jason Thiele who gave a presentation on the pilot Small Grain Program that is ongoing in the Lewis & Clark NRD. 

This program provides ground cover, helping to protect the land throughout the growing season by controlling runoff, which affects both the soil and water quality, and is beneficial to wildlife.

More information on the water quality program and any future meetings will be forthcoming and advertised on the Lewis & Clark NRD’s web page, as well as in the Cedar County News.