Reservoir Evaluation Project identifies possible benefits of 10 potential sites

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) recently received a report from their Reservoir Evaluation Project.  The purpose of the project was to evaluate ten potential reservoir sites in northeast Nebraska.  The sites have been identified as providing possible benefits including flood control, recreation, stream flow augmentation, recharge, and water quality.  Through the evaluation process, the LENRD has obtained more information about each site, which will allow them to expand studies in some areas, if desired.

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “This was simply a study comparing ideas against other ideas, not a proposal to build any particular structure.”  He continued, “We partnered with 3 downstream NRDs and looked at a much larger area than we usually do because of the nature of some of the benefits that may be realized to downstream stakeholders.  These financial partners also saved local taxpayers from paying for the full cost of the evaluation.”

The LENRD has 12 responsibilities given to them by the State.  The goal of the evaluation was to identify what each structure could potentially do to meet those responsibilities.  The responsibilities can be found on the district’s website:

Sousek said, “In an attempt to keep local control the LENRD must explore ideas.  If the district isn’t going to actively manage groundwater, the decisions that will be forced upon this district in the future will be made by those who live outside the district.  Change is happening, we have the opportunity to create the change that we want, or accept the changes that are handed down to us.”

He added, “We encourage interested parties to please attend our meetings and learn about the issues the district is facing.  As the demand for water continues to increase, this district will become involved with long-term sustainability issues, not just for our district, but for eastern Nebraska.  We are all in this together and the LENRD will need to participate in this effort.  The LENRD does have opportunities to capture water and recharge aquifers or use it for stream augmentation, capturing it when it is not needed and using it when the demand is present.  This study will help the board in determining what projects are best suited to meet our goals and help them decide where is the best place to spend tax dollars to protect the overall water system we all depend on.”

The next meeting of the LENRD Board of Directors is Thursday, April 28th at 7:30 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.  The board meetings are open to the public.

For more information and a full report of the evaluation project, visit our projects page.