SCOTTSBLUFF – The North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD) hosted its annual producer roundtable in person and via Zoom on April 30. Many members of the staff were on hand to discuss current and future NPNRD projects.
John Berge, General Manager at the NPNRD, was excited about being able to hold the event after a hiatus in 2020.
“We do these, each and every year, we usually do them in every county in our district,” he said. “This year was weird because of COVID but generally, this is an opportunity for us to have a conversation. A lot of the best ideas that we’ve had in our district have to come from people that come to these types of meetings.”
A key issue that was discussed was nitrate levels in our groundwater.
“It’s a significant issue in other parts of the state and we don’t want it to become a significant issue here,” said Berge.
In recent years, the NPNRD has seen an uptick in groundwater nitrate levels.
Scott Schanemen, Assistant Manager at the NPNRD, mentioned that some producers do not drink the water at home anymore.
“One of the biggest reasons for changing the way we look at things and the way we do things and the way we mitigate for these contaminants is the protection of our well fields. Every one of these communities along the river have had to go look for new water sources. That’s expensive,” Schanemen said. “The community of Oshkosh has had to go eight miles north to find water that suitable for their residents, costs millions of dollars. They’re piping that water from way up north of Oshkosh down to the city.”
Berge mentioned the NPNRD can have your well water tested for free.
“If you’ve got a domestic well at home and you’re worried about what it is you’re consuming, bring it up here and we’ll take care of it,” he said.
Another item was the cost sharing program in partnership with the Nebraska Forest Service. The goal of the program is to get more trees on the landscape.
“Those conservation trees are pretty important, not just for windbreaks, and for soil stabilization, and all of that stuff, but for a biodiversity on the ground that we don’t really see,” Berge said.
Other topics discussed included the recharge project, the EPIC program, pocket gophers, flow meter maintenance, well sampling, chemigation, the greenhouse project, and buffalo grass seed. Burritos and coffee were served at the event.
For more information, visit the NPNRD office in person at 100547 Airport Rd in Scottsbluff or call 308-632-2749.