Over the last year, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) has been establishing the Lower Elkhorn River Basin Water Quality Management Plan (Plan). The Plan covers the lower portion of the Elkhorn River Basin, which is the watershed that created the boundary for the LENRD. The basin is located in northeast Nebraska and covers over 2.5 million acres including all of Cuming, Pierce, Stanton, and Wayne Counties and portions of Antelope, Burt, Cedar, Colfax, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Knox, Madison, Platte, and Thurston Counties. The basin includes 50 communities and has a population of 90,000.
The Plan is focusing on issues with nonpoint source pollution and will provide a single coordinated strategy to identify water quality threats and needs, prioritize watershed areas for development of enhanced planning and restoration projects, and identify practices and activities appropriate to address the known water quality deficiencies. LENRD Project Coordinator, Kristie Olmer, said, “Examples include impaired waters, such as Willow Creek Reservoir near Pierce, and maintaining high quality resources such as Skyview Lake in Norfolk and Maskenthine Lake near Stanton.” She added, “Another primary concern is nitrates in groundwater, especially wellhead protection areas for public drinking water suppliers.”
The LENRD is now actively seeking public input on water quality concerns and issues from anyone living or working within the basin. As portions of the Plan become complete they will be placed on the website for public review. A draft of the Plan will be made available for review in August, and will also be presented to the public at an Open House. Please contact Kristie Olmer at 402-371-7313 or email@example.com to provide comments or input. The project is funded by the LENRD and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.