Water Quality Management Plan Update

Water Quality Management Plan Update

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Through an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, and the guidance of JEO Consulting Group, the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District completed a Water Quality  Management Plan (WQMP) to serve as a road map to improve the water resources and water quality within the district. The WQMP utilized a technical advisory committee and a stakeholder advisory group to identify surface water and groundwater quality issues and to select target areas to focus implementation activities.
  
Two segments of Beaver Creek were identified as priority waterbodies, which resulted in the entire Beaver Creek drainage area being named as a single target area. The impairment focus of the Beaver Creek target area is atrazine. The Recharge Lake drainage area (located within the Beaver Creek target area), was also identified as a priority area. The impairment focus of the Recharge Lake target area is nutrients.

The WQMP was reviewed and accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 7 in March of 2020. The EPA’s approval of the WQMP makes the district eligible for federal funding through the Clean Water Act, Section 319, Nonpoint Source Management Program. Funding from Section 319 supports a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects and monitoring to assess the success of specific nonpoint source implementation projects.

District-wide and target area implementation efforts will address sediment, nutrients, bacteria, and atrazine, primarily through existing programs administered by the district, NRCS, and other partners. These programs will provide technical and financial assistance for identified best management practices to landowners and producers.

The next step will be to form a target area stakeholder group comprised of landowners, producers, and other interests located within the two priority areas. This stakeholder group will be tasked with identifying and prioritizing implementation practices that will be supported by landowners within the targeted areas. These recommendations will be used to apply for Section 319 funding to get best management practices going on the ground. These efforts will assist the district in meeting the WQMP vision of locally managed water resources, in cooperation with partners and stakeholders, through conservation, protection, and responsible development for the health and welfare of the people of the district.