This book is prepared to profile and provide a description of the programs administered by the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District to conserve and develop our natural resources. The District covers all of York County and parts of Adams, Butler, Clay, Fillmore, Hamilton, Polk, Saline and Seward Counties.
Within the NRD, specific programs fall under the supervision of individual departments. These departments are the Water Department, Projects Department, Forestry Department, Administrative Department and the Public Relations Department; with the General Manager and Assistant General Manager overseeing the departments. Because of the intricacies and the inter-relational cohesiveness of managing natural resources, there can be areas of overlapping function and responsibility. For instance, many land treatment programs contribute to surface and/or ground water quality but are not listed under the Ground Water Management Area section. Additionally, many programs that affect water quantity also impact water quality.
The Upper Big Blue NRD works closely with local, state and federal agencies to insure coordination of conservation efforts. A key agency is the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS often provides planning, technical aid, and inspections for joint projects and programs. NRCS field offices are located in Aurora, Clay Center, David City, Geneva, Hastings, Osceola, Seward, Wilber and York.
At the state level, the NRD frequently works with the Game and Parks Commission and the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources. Under some programs, the District works with both state and federal agencies.
Funding for natural resources conservation may be available to a landowner directly from the federal government. Most of these programs require a landowner to sign a contract of varying duration. Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)—the Farm Services Agency and NRCS—can target locally-identified conservation concerns. Availability of funding for this program varies considerably from county to county, depending on several factors (Please contact your county NRCS office for local information). Other federal programs include the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for wildlife habitat improvement and soil erosion control, the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), Partners for Wildlife for wildlife habitat enhancement and the USDA-WHIP for habitat development. (Contact the FSA for information about CRP, the NRCS for information about the WRP and USDA-WHIP, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for information about Partners for Wildlife).
State-sponsored conservation programs include the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Private Lands Wetland Initiative for wetland development. The Wildlife Shelterbelt Program, also administered by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, encourages shelterbelt planting. Each of these programs requires the landowner to sign a contract of varying duration.
The District also works with non-governmental groups. In addition to joint programs with Natural Resources Districts like Corners for Wildlife, Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited programs provide incentives for creating habitat.