One District, Two Plans, One Water
In 2018, the Upper Big Blue NRD joined the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
(NeDNR) and the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) on a joint
planning effort to address water quality and quantity across the district. The engineering
firm JEO was contracted to help with this first-of-its-kind project. The conversations
and work continued in 2019 and a public open house on the topic was held on April 2.
The resulting Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) and draft Voluntary Integrated
Management Plan (VIMP) were the result of this effort.
The joint planning process began with building partnerships between agencies. Since
each plan required different but similar requirements, all agencies needed to agree on the
terminology and planning schedule to be sure all statutory and federal guidelines were met
in the planning process. Next all concerned explored the characteristics of the watershed to
identify priority and special priority areas and management actions based on water quality
resource concerns. They also reviewed the existing district rules and regulations dealing
with groundwater quantity and identified management actions to address groundwater
quantity. The WQMP was adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency in March 2020.