Kathy Narjes fills final seat on SPNRD board


Kathy Narjes

The South Platte NRD board is full again following the appointment to fill the vacancy left by former Subdistrict 6 Director Tom Biggs, who retired at the end of 2014. No one filed for the seat in the November election, setting up the need for an appointed director.

Two candidates, Randy Horst of Gurley and Kathy Narjes of rural Lodgepole applied for the position. Each was interviewed during the district's February board meeting, outlining their qualifications and reasons for their application. Following the interviews a written ballot and subsequent roll call vote was taken to see who would be the nominee.

Narjes, who takes part in a farm and ranch operation with her husband, Phil, and also serves as a part-time legal assistant, was chosen to fill the seat. Her appointment is until the next election in two years, at which time she can run to continue her term.

Beginning its regular business, the board heard a number of agency reports, fielding updates on groups that directors are involved in, or that deal with natural resources issues. Among those was one from Board Chair Keith Rexroth on the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, which is charged with helping to conserve, protect and utilize the water and related land resources of the state. The commission, which oversees state aid funding for natural resources projects, was expanded last year and is in the process of preparing and finalizing the rules governing the administration of the Water Sustainability Fund.

Natural Resources Coordinator Chris Kaiser presented a summary of the 2014 landowner/operator nitrogen management reports for the Sidney Ground Water Quality Management Subarea. The subarea is the only one of the district's ground water quality management subareas currently designated to be in Phase II nitrogen management. Such heightened management, the second of three phased management tiers, is instituted when a subarea has average ground water nitrates above 8.0 parts per million and up to 9.5 ppm.

As part of Phase II management, corn growers are required to report nitrogen use. Corn was grown on approximately 1,800 acres within the subarea and the composite average for nitrate results (found in the 2014 SPNRD Ground Water Quality Monitoring Report) was 8.01 ppm. This was down compared to last year's average of 9.03 ppm.

Assistant Manager Galen Wittrock reported on the East Sidney Watershed Project, and the Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority's (JESWA) progress on working with landowners within the project area to obtain necessary easements and land rights as the project moves forward. Wittrock also reported impending approval for funding through the state revolving loan fund.

In other reports the board:

- Received an update on the NRD/UNL Irrigation and Nitrogen Management Education and Certification Program. The program is an update to one first established in 1999 and will be available to irrigators through both written and on-line means. The district has been among the NRDs participating in the update and hopes to use it when certifying irrigators prior to the 2016 irrigation season.

- Received a report on the Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area plans and equipment being purchased for operations.

- Approved a proposed agreement with the JEO Consulting Group to begin processing an update to the District's Hazard Mitigation Plan.


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