Phase I Groundwater Quality Management Area
0 to 7.5 PPM Nitrate-Nitrogen


      The entire Upper Elkhorn NRD was designated a Phase I Groundwater Quality Management Area January 1, 1997.  Requirements for Phase I areas are primarily mandatory educational requirements.

1.)  The person or persons responsible for making decisions on any type of applications of nitrogen fertilizer on an area larger than one acre and applying more than 50 pounds per areas per year on any agricultural land within the UENRD, either commercially or privately, must be certified by the District once every four years.  The person or persons will be considered the certified operator (s).  The certification requirement will include attending educational classes established by the District with assistance from the County Extension, University of Nebraska Research and Extension personnel, and others.  Nitrogen certification from bordering NRDs will be accepted as fulfillment of UENRD nitrogen certification requirement pending UENRD Board approval.

2.)  Certified operators are encouraged to set a realistic yield goal for crops where more than 50 pounds per acre per year of actual nitrogen fertilizer is to be applied.  A realistic goal is based on the last five years actual yield averaged plus five percent.

3.)  Certified operators will be strongly encouraged to fill out and return an annual Best Management Practices Survey.  The District will mail out the survey each year by December 1 with December 20 as the return date.

4.)  Residents residing in communities within the UENRD who apply nitrogen fertilizer will be encouraged to attend Nitrogen Awareness Programs established by the District with assistance from the County Extension, University of Nebraska Research and Extension personnel, and others.

5.)  Fall (September 23 to December 20) and Winter (December 21 to March 1) applications of commercial nitrogen fertilizer will be discouraged on all soils.  Spring (March 2 to June 20) of applications of commercial nitrogen fertilizer greater than 100 pounds per acre per year will be discouraged unless applied through split applications (i.e. preplant, planting, weed and feed, post emergence side-dressing, and, if applicable, through an irrigation distribution system).

6.)  A groundwater analysis for nitrate-nitrogen content in all wells used for irrigation of crops must be accomplished by the certified operator once every four years prior to recertification.  The results of this analysis must be submitted to the UENRD by the following February 1 report deadline.  The sample must be collected and analyzed using UENRD approved methods.  A methodology for sample collection and proper analysis procedures will be included as part of the District's educational program.  Information from this analysis will give the certified operator knowledge of usable nitrate-nitrogen already present in the ground water.  This information will not be used in determining a phase area.

7.)  The District encourages voluntary testing of all domestic and stock wells for nitrate-nitrogen content.

8.)  The District encourages a deep soil sampling analysis (two or three foot sample, if applicable) for nitrate-nitrogen content on each field larger than 40 acres with more than 50 pounds per acre per year of actual nitrogen fertilizer applied.  Approved sampling and analysis techniques will be included as part of the educational program.  This analysis will give the certified operator knowledge of usable and inaccessible nitrogen in the soil profile.

9.)  The District encourages the use of calibration monitors on all applications of fertilizers and pesticides.  Proper maintenance of all fertilizer and pesticide equipment is also encouraged.

10.)  The District encourages producers to use alternative irrigation and fertility management technology as it becomes available.

11.)  All wells capable of pumping more than 50 gpm (new or replacement) constructed in a management or control area within the UENRD must have a permit prior to construction in accordance with section 46-659 of the Groundwater Management and Protection Act.

Click here for the well construction permit form.


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For more information on the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District contact them at 402-336-3867.


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Last updated 08/05/2009
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