Earlier this fall, landowners within the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) boundaries, had an opportunity to apply for new irrigated acres for 2019.
LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “The board voted to accept applications for standard variances from selected portions of the District. We received 145 applications for new irrigated acres during the sign-up period, which was open between September 4th and October 3rd, 2018.”
The board voted at their November meeting to approve up to 2428 acres in the Hydrologically Connected (10/50 Area), and to approve up to 2515 new acres in the Non-Hydrologically Connected (Non 10/50 Area), under the district’s standard variance process. Recommendations for approval were determined by using the variance scoring process which has been utilized by the District on previous occasions. Eligible applications are scored and ranked from highest to lowest, and approvals made until the available acres have been allocated.
Bruckner continued, “District staff will be generating letters to all applicants to inform them on the status of their request (whether they were approved or denied), with those letters being generated and mailed next week .” After the landowners have been properly notified, the list of applicants who were approved may be made available by submitting a public records request.
In other action, the board approved the allocations for the designated Quantity Management Subareas across the district for 2019. Bruckner, said, “Each year, the board must determine the annual groundwater allocation amounts for the Wayne and Madison County Quantity Management Subareas for the upcoming crop year.” The board voted to set the 2019 allocation amounts at: 18 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems, and 14 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Eastern Madison County Quantity Subarea, and 17 acre-inches per irrigated acre for gravity/flood irrigation systems, 12 acre-inches per irrigated acre for subsurface drip irrigation systems, and 13 acre-inches per irrigated acre for all other irrigation systems in the Wayne County Quantity Subarea.
In other business, the board approved 9 Community Forestry Incentive applications for a total cost of $32,867.95. The communities receiving grants this year include: Madison, Norfolk, Pender, Pierce Public Schools, Pilger, Wakefield, West Point, West Point Public Schools, and Wisner.
The board also voted to schedule a public hearing to be conducted on December 6, 2018 at 7 p.m. to receive comments and testimony from the public on Rules 1 and 17 of the District’s Groundwater Management Area Rules and Regulations. The public hearing will be at the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.