Working for Water Quality: Wahoo Creek
More financial and technical help for conservation work should be on tap soon for landowners in the Wahoo Creek watershed, thanks to the completion of a comprehensive water quality management plan.
The 517-square-mile Wahoo Creek watershed, which includes the majority of land in Saunders County, was listed as “impaired” by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality in 2007 due to E. coli and other pollutants. The Wahoo Creek Watershed Water Quality Management Plan was developed to address those issues.
The Lower Platte North NRD led a two-year effort to develop the plan with stakeholders that included local landowners, other government agencies, and JEO Consulting.
The plan targets major reductions in several pollutants in the watershed, including E. coli (76% reduction), nitrogen (26% reduction), phosphorus (50% reduction), and sediment (67% reduction). To achieve those goals, the plan calls for a mixture of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and education and outreach efforts.
The draft plan was completed in late 2012, and the final version was reviewed and deemed acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
With the completion of the plan, the watershed is now eligible for Section 319 funding to help implement a variety of Best Management Practices (BMPs). Those BMPs could include buffer strips, no-till, terracing, small dams, rehab of existing conservation structures, and more.
The NRD is working on finalizing grant funds for these BMPs and possibly some larger watershed improvements. It is anticipated that landowners will be able to begin applying for these funds next year.