Wellhead Protection Network Meeting to Highlight Creative Partnership
An upcoming event is providing a welcome focus on creative solutions, partnerships, and funding opportunities for securing the state’s drinking water quality. Water operators, city government elected officials or employees, representatives from Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts, and any other interested community members are invited to attend a Wellhead Protection Network Meeting on Friday, March 31 at the office of the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District in York. This event, hosted by Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will provide an opportunity for representatives from municipalities and agencies from across the state to learn more about NDEE Source Water Protection grant funding.
The event will consist of presentations on topics ranging from soil health to water quality and human health. After speakers, there will be a lunch followed by a tour of the Project GROW demonstration site in York. Since 2017, the City of York and the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District have worked together to protect water quality in the city’s wellfield through Project GROW (Growing Rotational crops On Wellfield).
Project GROW highlights how NDEE Source Water Protection grant funding can be used to safeguard a community’s water supply, as well as provide many additional benefits. Project GROW was recognized in 2022 with an Outstanding Community Conservation Award from the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts. The innovative partnership has prioritized restoring the soil in the wellfield as a means of protecting the water consumed by the residents of York, as healthy soil acts as a filtering system to the aquifer and decreases nitrogen leaching and contamination. Project GROW focuses on 160 acres of the total 400-acre wellfield and includes demonstration fields, community garden plots, a fruit orchard, and an extensive pollinator habitat. Using no-till, cover crops, livestock integration, and diverse crop rotations, the project seeks to improve soil health, decrease soil erosion, and improve water holding capacity, all while maintaining profitability.
Continuing Education credits will be available for water operators and all Natural Resource District staff who attend. To register for this free event, please visit https://www.upperbigblue.org/wellhead-protection-network-meeting or contact event organizer Laura Nagengast at firstname.lastname@example.org.