Surface water is a vital resource in the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District. Surface water supplies agricultural and industrial users, provides habitat for fish and wildlife and each year gives thousands of recreational users the opportunity to study nature, fish, hunt, swim, and enjoy other water sports.
The Elkhorn River is the predominant surface water feature in the Lower Elkhorn NRD. Major tributaries of the Elkhorn River include the North Fork of the Elkhorn River on the western side of the District, the Logan Creek on the eastern side of the District, and the Maple Creek system in the southern portion of the District. There are numerous man-made reservoirs, the largest of which are Willow Creek Recreation Area near Pierce, Maskenthine Lake near Stanton, and Maple Creek Recreation Area near Leigh.
The District cooperates with local, state and federal agencies to study and manage the surface water resources of the Elkhorn and Lower Platte River basins. The District annually contributes funding to maintain the US Geological Survey’s stream gage on the North Fork near Hadar. The District works with Northeast Community College, Wayne State College, the University of Nebraska, the US Geological Survey, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to understand the streams, rivers and lakes in the District, as well as to prepare and administrate management plans.