UPPER ELKHORN NATURAL RESOURCES DISTRICT

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

October 24, 2016 -- 7:00 P.M. O’Neill, NE

 

CALL TO ORDER, STATEMENT OF ADVERTISEMENT AND OPEN MEETING LAW NOTIFICATION:

The regular meeting of the Board of Directors was called to order.  The statement of advertisement in the Holt County Independent, Rock County Leader and Neligh News were noted; and, the open meetings law posting were all noted at 7:07 P.M. by Chairman Dale Wiles.

 

DIRECTORS PRESENT:

Gary Bartak                     Mark Carpenter            Jake Dvorak                     Curtis Gotschall             Jerry Heithoff

Ted Hughes                     Jim Keller                    Gene Kelly                       John Meuret                    Michael Moser

Roy Stewart                     Chip Whitaker              Keith White                     Dale Wiles

             

DIRECTORS ABSENT:    

Chris Dierks                                                                                                                      

 

STAFF PRESENT:

Dennis Schueth, General Manager

Kate Tillotson, Water Resources Manager

Kelly Kloppenborg, Water Resources Technician

Jake Morten, Water Resources Technician

Andrea Fisher, Administrative Secretary

Beth Walsh, Information & Education/Chemigation Coordinator

Tanner Jenkins, Bazile Groundwater Management Project Coordinator

 

GUESTS PRESENT:

Brandon Peterson – NRCS – O’Neill, NE

Gene Chohon – O’Neill, NE

Gary Kaczor – Ewing, NE

Bruce Ofe – Oakdale, NE

William Babutzke – O’Neill, NE

 

AGENDA:

]It was moved by Roy Stewart seconded by Gene Kelly to approve the agenda.  AYE:  Bartak, Carpenter, Dvorak, Gotschall, Hughes, Keller, Kelly, Meuret, Moser, Stewart, Whitaker, White & Wiles.  NAY:  None.  ABSTAIN:  None.  ABSENT:  Dierks & Heithoff.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

MINUTES:

The minutes of the September Meeting were reviewed by the Directors.]It was moved by John Meuret and seconded by Ted Hughes to approve the minutes of the September Meeting.  AYE:  Bartak, Carpenter, Dvorak, Gotschall, Hughes, Keller, Kelly, Meuret, Moser, Stewart, Whitaker, White & Wiles.  NAY:  None.  ABSTAIN:  None.  ABSENT:  Dierks & Heithoff.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

TREASURERS REPORT:

]It was moved by Curtis Gotschall and seconded by John Meuret to approve the September Treasurers Report.  AYE:  Bartak, Carpenter, Dvorak, Gotschall, Hughes, Keller, Kelly, Meuret, Moser, Stewart, Whitaker, White & Wiles.  NAY:  None.  ABSTAIN:  None.  ABSENT:  Dierks & Heithoff.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

Heithoff arrived at 7:15 PM

 

PUBLIC FORUM – INPUT / COMMENTS:

Gene Chohon, O’Neill, attended the board meeting to discuss his opinion regarding the expansion of groundwater irrigated acres.  Gene spoke in support of allowing the expansion of groundwater irrigated acres based on better technology and management for irrigating.  Board members questioned Gene regarding his use of technology and best management practices.  Gary Kaczor, Ewing, also attended the board meeting to voice his support for the expansion of acres.  He has a pivot which he would like to be able to complete to increase his irrigation efficiency. 

 

NORTHEAST WEED MANAGEMENT GRANT FROM NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF AG: 

Bruce Ofe, Antelope County Weed Authority, and William Babutzke, Holt County Weed Authority attended the board meeting to report that they have received a $10,000 grant to help control weeds in and along the Elkhorn River.  The UENRD Board of Directors have pledged $5,000 as a match for the grant.  The grant monies will be used to map the area for noxious weeds and try to eradicate them.     

 

AGENCY & STAFF REPORTS:

NARD Report:  Ted Hughes reported that the NARD board met in Kearney following the conference.  Some of the items discussed were the review of the audit; over $23,000 was raised for the NARD Foundation; Lynn Webster, UNWNRD, will be replacing Russ Callan, LLNRD, on the Water Well Licensing Board; the NARD lobbyist contract has been renewed; and, Dave Potter, NARD Treasurer has resigned to take a position with the LPSNRD.  Dates for upcoming meetings include:  NARD Board Meeting November 14, 2016 in Chadron; NARD Legislative Conference January 24-25, 2017; NACD Convention January 28-February 1, 2017; and, the NARD Washington D.C. conference will be March 18-22, 2017.  Ted reviewed the Risk Pool financials and noted that they have suffered a more than $500,000 loss in the program.  This is why premiums were increased for the 16-17 fiscal year.       

 

DNR Report:  No Report.  Dennis Schueth reminded the Directors that caucus’ for the Natural Resources Commission will be held in January.  If anyone is interested in serving on the Commission they should contact him and he will submit their name. 

 

NRCS Report:  Brandon Peterson’s report was mailed out to the Directors.  Brandon reported that the ranking cutoff for EQIP contracts was October 21 and they will begin the ranking process.  NRCS is planning later cutoff dates for the NWQI program and Regional Conservation Partnership Program.  They would also like to fund additional soil health demonstration farms.  Adam Nolan, Soil Conservationist in Neligh has decided to stay in the Neligh office.  The open Resource Conservationist position will be advertised for in the near future. 

 

RC&D Report:

North Central RC&D:  No Report.     

Loup Basin RC&D:  No Report.     

Northeast RC&D:  No Report.     

 

Information & Education Report:  Beth Walsh’s report was mailed out in the Director’s packets. 

 

Water Resources Report and ELM Update:  Kate Tillotson’s report was mailed out in the Director’s packets.  Kate reviewed and discussed the nitrate levels for the townships that are in a Phase II area or are approaching a Phase II level.    

 

Bazile Management Area:  Tanner Jenkins’, Project Coordinator, reported was mailed out in the Director’s packets.  Tanner reported that the project has received a $2,500 SARE grant and $500 from the RC&D to charter a bus for Bazile stakeholders to attend the Cover Crop & No-Till Conference in Ord December 5.  He will begin promoting the conference to the Bazile Management Area residents.  Other items discussed included:  the garden cover crop project; NARD fall conference; classroom aquifer demonstration; and, tour of the Grove Trout Rearing station.  Tanner also reported that EPA has approved the Bazile Groundwater Management Plan. 

 

EXCUSED ABSENCES:

]It was moved by Jim Keller and seconded by Gene Kelly to excuse the absence of Chris Dierks.  AYE:  Bartak, Carpenter, Dvorak, Gotschall, Heithoff, Hughes, Keller, Kelly, Meuret, Moser, Stewart, Whitaker, White & Wiles.  NAY:  None.  ABSTAIN:  None.  ABSENT:  Dierks.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Legislative, Budget and Finance Committee:  The Legislative, Finance and Planning Committee met prior to the Board meeting. 

 

Water Resources & Watershed Committee:  The WRWS Committee met prior to the board meeting.

COALITION/TASK FORCE UPDATE:

Lower Platte River Basin Water Management Plan Coalition:  Dennis Schueth reported that they are still studying water availability in the basin; and, will hopefully have the final draft of the plan in late November.  Once the draft is received, the NRDs will have an opportunity to comment.

Niobrara River Basin Alliance – Staff voting alternate:  Dennis Schueth reported that the Alliance is trying to schedule a meeting with DNR to determine the amount of water that would be available in the basin in an effort to move forward with the IMP.  The Alliance is also proposing the hiring of legislative assistance for the upcoming legislative session.  The resume of a potential firm was included in the Director’s packets for review.  Funding for the firm was also discussed as to whether it should be based on the current dues structure or split evenly among the members.  ]It was moved by John Meuret and seconded by Curtis Gotschall to give the UENRD NRBA voting delegates the leeway to allocate up to $5,500 to retain legislative assistance.  AYE:  Bartak, Carpenter, Dvorak, Gotschall, Heithoff, Hughes, Keller, Kelly, Meuret, Moser, Stewart, Whitaker, White & Wiles.  NAY:  None.  ABSTAIN:  None.  ABSENT:  Dierks.  MOTION CARRIED.

Nebraska Habitat Conservation Coalition (Piping Plover):  No Report. 

Nebraska Ground Water Management Coalition:  No Report.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT:

Dennis Schueth’s report was mailed out to the directors prior to the board meeting in their packets.  A copy is included with the official copy of the minutes in the office.  Dennis reported that he has received 8 resumes for Don Caouette’s position.  He would like to schedule a meeting with the Personnel, Equipment, Promotion and Education Committee either November 7, 9 or 14 to interview the applicants.  He also reported that the District will be acquiring the Chevy Traverse approved earlier this year from the ULNRD.  Dennis handed out a letter from NPAIT outlining a scholarship they have available.    

 

NOVEMBER BOARD MEETING:

The next regular board meeting of the Upper Elkhorn NRD will be held November 28, 2016 at 2:30 PM at the O’Neill office. 

 

]It was moved by John Meuret and seconded by Michael Moser to adjourn the Board meeting at 9:38 PM.  AYE:  Bartak, Carpenter, Dvorak, Gotschall, Heithoff, Hughes, Keller, Kelly, Meuret, Moser, Stewart, Whitaker, White & Wiles.  NAY:  None.  ABSTAIN:  None.  ABSENT:  Dierks.  MOTION CARRIED.

 

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:38 P.M.