Farmers within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries, will have an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres for 2018.
LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “After much debate during their October meeting, the board discussed allowing for the approval of standard variances district-wide, utilizing a map entitled “Classification 4” provided by the Flatwater Group, and only allow consideration for approval of parcels that fall within the top five categories from the Potential for Development map legend.”
The board voted to allow up to 2,500 acres of new groundwater irrigation development in the Hydrologically Connected or 10/50 Area, and to allow up to 2,500 acres of new groundwater irrigation development in the Non-Hydrologically Connected or Non 10/50 Area under the district’s standard variance process for 2018.
The board established a sign-up period to receive applications for Standard Variances. The district will receive applications for standard variances between November 15, 2017 and December 15, 2017.
Bruckner added, “The board suggested an annual limit on the amount of groundwater withdrawal from wells associated with approved variances, determined by board policy, which is subject to future modification if conditions warrant. In addition, a minimum soil score of 90 must be met for any standard variance to be considered for approval.”
Standard variance requests will only be considered for approval from areas within the district that fall within the top five Potential for Development categories on the Classification 4 Map, as provided by Flatwater Group. Standard variances will not be available in the Quantity Subareas already defined.
In other action, the district is preparing for a public hearing regarding their Drought Mitigation Plan. The public hearing will be Tuesday, November 21st from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The November board meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.