July 2017 marks 45 years of protecting lives, property and the future of natural resources for Nebraska’s 23 Natural Resources Districts (NRDs). Throughout 2017, the NRDs will be celebrating the success of projects and programs that help protect Nebraska’s natural resources. NRDs are unique because they are governed by locally elected boards and Nebraska is the only state to have this system. A handful of board members, managers and staff have been a part of the system since the NRD creation in 1972.
Senator Maurice Kremer introduced and the Nebraska Legislature enacted Legislative Bill (LB) 1357 in 1969 to combine Nebraska’s 154 special purpose entities into 24 Natural Resources Districts by July 1972. The original 24 NRDs’ boundaries were organized based on Nebraska’s major river basins which allows for better management practices to be applied to similar topography. In 1989, the Middle Missouri NRD and the Papio NRD were merged into one, becoming the Papio-Missouri River NRD which resulted in the current 23-NRD system.
“Nebraska’s 23 NRDs have been addressing natural resources issues and concerns with local solutions for 45 years,” said Mike Sousek, General Manager of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) in Norfolk.
Nebraska's NRDs are involved in a wide variety of projects and programs to conserve and protect the state's natural resources. Sousek added, “NRDs are charged under state law with 12 areas of responsibility including flood control, soil erosion, and groundwater management. While all NRDs share the 12 main responsibilities, each district sets its own priorities and develops programs to best serve local needs and to protect Nebraska’s natural resources for future generations.”
NRDs are local government entities with broad responsibilities to protect our natural resources. Major Nebraska river basins form the boundaries of the 23 NRDs, enabling districts to respond best to local conservation and resource management needs. To learn more about Nebraska’s NRDs visit www.nrdnet.org or your local NRD website at www.lenrd.org