LENRD Board continues to make tough decisions in managing goundwater

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) Board of Directors held a special board meeting last week to address groundwater management.  The board decided not to allow new irrigated acres in 2014.  However, they will allow up to 400 acres in some areas where landowners are interested in completing a full circle for a pivot, up to 10 acres per project.  The 400 acres will be split, with 200 in the 10/50 area (area where groundwater is hydrologically connected to a stream or river), and 200 in the non-10/50 area;  this does not include land in the new groundwater quantity subareas in parts of Wayne, Madison, and Pierce Counties.

No supplemental irrigation wells or transfers will be allowed in 2014.  LENRD Board Chair, Joel Hansen of Wayne, said, “The board adopted several motions instructing the staff to research the possibility of future rule changes and to provide the proposals to the board by March 1st.”  These changes would involve recommendations on supplemental wells, requiring flow meters on every irrigation well in five years, enabling the transfer of irrigated acres, and allowing more than 10 acres, if needed, to complete a pivot circle.

Hansen continued, “The staff recommendations will have to go through a process of subcommittee review and public hearing before the full board will decide whether to adopt new rules.”

The restrictions on new irrigation were recommended by staff to give the District time to develop management strategies for problem areas and for areas that may be able to support future development, as well as to delineate these areas.  Contact the LENRD office in Norfolk for more information.