Like most of Nebraska, the Lower Platte North NRD has an adequate supply of clean groundwater. However, drought, excessive water use, and chemical contamination can threaten this precious resource.
In 1997, in response to rising nitrate levels in district groundwater, the NRD designated a Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) covering the entire district. The GWMA monitors and regulates both groundwater quality and groundwater quantity.
The NRD’s philosophy is that prevention is less costly than correction, so the GWMA emphasizes proactive protection of groundwater, rather than a reactive, corrective approach. Educational efforts are given priority, although regulatory controls are implemented when needed.
2018 Nitrogen & Water Management Certification Classes
One of the primary requirements of the Lower Platte North NRD’s Groundwater Management Area is that all operators of irrigation, municipal, and industrial well systems, as well as operators who use any type of fertilizer (either commercial or organic) in production agriculture, are required to obtain NRD certification by attending NRD education classes or by passing an online or take home test designed by the LPNNRD.
Certification is valid for four years, after which recertification is required. Uncertified producers are not eligible for any of the NRD’s cost-share programs or for irrigated acre certification.
Certification classes are held at various locations throughout the NRD from January through March each year (see below for the current schedule). The certification classes are primarily geared for area producers and cover several topics, including nitrogen management and application, water quality, water conservation and quantity, University of Nebraska research and recommended practices, and any recent legislation related to water use. The classes are conducted by NRD staff in cooperation with University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension personnel.
The classes are free and no pre-registration is required. Producers may attend whichever session works best for their schedule. The class lasts approximately two hours. For more information, contact Water Resources Specialist Russell Oaklund or call (402) 443-4675.
Nitrogen Management for Future Generations
During Spring 2019, the Lower Platte North NRD Water Department partnered with Nebraska Extension to provide an interactive meeting to gather producer and landowner input on water quality in the district. Below are the presentations that were shared during this special meeting.
STATEWIDE GROUNDWATER MONITORING NETWORK
Currently the Lower Platte North NRD has 53 wells in the Statewide Groundwater Monitoring Network. The samples are analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen and common pesticides. This program is headed by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. The goal of the project is to provide a broad understanding of the overall groundwater quality in the state. LPNNRD began sampling for the statewide network in 2004.