Water Quality Open House Event to Be Held

Water Quality Open House Event to Be Held

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District will host a public open house to discuss stakeholder committee recommendations as part of the district’s Water Quality Management Plan. The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 18, 2021, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Avenue. All are invited to attend.
 
The public open house will provide an opportunity to learn more about and review the proposed recommendations and implementation strategies, as well as provide comments to NRD staff, project consultants and stakeholder committee members. No formal presentation is planned.

The open house is the final event for the stakeholder group, which met throughout the winter months to discuss ideas for improving water quality in a portion of the district that stretches across Hamilton, York, and Seward Counties. The group was comprised of landowners/agricultural producers, agri-business owners, and representatives of municipalities. The solutions-oriented feedback that the stakeholders group and open house responses provide will guide the NRD as it applies for additional grant funding to support agricultural practices to improve water quality in the district.

Nutrients that threaten the Beaver Creek and Recharge watersheds as well as other water bodies in the district include atrazine, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Additionally, general water quality, impaired fish populations, stream bank erosion, and increasing sediments are a concern in this area. Key strategies discussed by the stakeholder group  to address these issues have included greater adoption of cover crops, rotational cropping systems, filter strips, and conservation tillage, among other options.

In March 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reviewed and approved the Upper Big Blue NRD’s Water Quality Management Plan to serve as guidance in improving the water resources and water quality within the district. Following the approval, the NRD sought stakeholder participation to help identify and prioritize implementation practices that will be supported by landowners within targeted areas. Stakeholders from the Beaver Creek and Recharge Lake watersheds, as well as the district’s Wellhead Protection Areas, developed the recommendations and implementation strategies that will be presented during the March 18 public open house.
 
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks are encouraged for all attendees, and the project team asks all attendees to respect social distancing guidelines. For those unable to attend the meeting in-person, a virtual presentation will be available on the NRD’s website for review and comment following the public meeting.
 
For more information on the WQMP and stakeholder committee process and related materials, please visit upperbigblue.org/wqmp.

Following the open house in the same location, the NRD will host the final nitrogen management certification event of the season, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Open house attendees are not required to stay for the training event, however they are offered together to give producers who are attending for certification to also take advantage of the open house information. The nitrogen management event will feature Tim Mundorf and Mick Goedeken, hosts of the Soil Talk podcast from Central Valley Ag. Mundorf, a nutrient management lead at CVA, will present on how to interpret the results of a soil test to make data-driven decisions about inputs. Goedeken, ACS innovation agronomist at CVA, will present on improving efficiency to get the most bang for your buck with nitrogen fertilizer. 

Neither the open house nor the nitrogen management training require registration. For questions about either, please contact the NRD at (402)362-6601 or by completing this form