Click for Sidney, NE Weather

Click for Sidney, Nebraska Forecast

nerain_logoThe Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) collects rainfall information all across Nebraska. Click logo to see rain reports.

The network needs volunteers to collect and report rainfall amounts. To participate, e-mail NeRAIN Coordinator Tyler Sanders or call him at (308) 254-2377.

Many SPNRD projects and programs are made possible thanks to Nebraska Environmental Trust grants. To learn more about NET's comittment to Nebraska's natural resources, click here.

The South Platte NRD Board of Directors is a group of locally elected officials managing area natural resources on your behalf. The board meets the second Tuesday of each month and welcomes your input.

The next scheduled board meeting is:
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
5:00 p.m. at the SPNRD Conference Room, 551 Parkland Dr., Sidney.
Click here to see board agendas and minutes.


 Western Water Use Managment (WWUM) Modeling Information

barrier_cdTo see solutions to tree girdling in
conservation tree rows see our video:


Integrated Management Plan
“Second Increment Planning”

The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, NeDNR, and South Platte NRD along with District Stakeholders are working on the Second Increment Planning of the Integrated Management Plan.  Below is the NeDNR website page.  Under the “Second Increment Planning” heading are the 4 dates of the stakeholder advisory committee meetings.  Please direct any questions you may have to the SPNRD.


(Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority)

Construction for the Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority Project has started, and a construction crew/equipment can be seen working hard moving dirt on the East Side of Sidney.           

The City of Sidney and the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD) have partnered in this effort to manage/reduce flooding and provide water quality benefits. 

The East side of Sidney has a natural flood-path that brings water down from the I-80 interstate.  While water does drain across some agriculture ground it also drains across commercial and residential developments.  This runoff can contain high concentrations of sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen, oil, grease and other pollutants.  Water then runs through populated areas and can cause dangerous conditions and property damage.  The improvements being developed will redirect much of that water back to the Lodgepole Creek while also providing a filtration of the runoff water. 

Vegetated bioswales (canals) and bioretention (ponds) will slow water while removing sediment, reducing soil erosion and filtering pollutants as it drains.  A fully functioning bioswale can remove up to 20%-40% of pollutants and sediment from runoff. 

While the City of Sidney and the SPNRD encourages interested parties to take an interest in the construction and the project, we would like to remind citizens to take a care when in construction zones.  Please do not go into the construction areas, the walking trail will remain open but caution is advised.

Please direct your questions to the City of Sidney offices and the SPNRD office.  These precautions are for your safety.


Public Notices

The meetings of the various boards, committees and advisory groups performing their functions on behalf of the South Platte Natural Resources District are meetings where business is discussed in open session, except where provided by state law. The District Board of Directors encourages members of the public to attend such meetings and provide input as to the management of natural resources in the southern Panhandle.

To see meeting notices, click here.


Water Modeling Software Available

Adaptive Resources, Inc. has created modeling software [Western Water Use Management Model] that can show hypothetical estimates of what water levels may do over a period of time. Using information on what trends have been in the past could assist water users with determining the best management practices for water consumption in the future.



Conservation Trees Available

Beginning October 2017 the South Platte Natural Resources District is ready to receive orders for Conservation Trees.

Conservation trees and shrubs are a great way to buffer noise and provide privacy and beauty to the landscape.  Every year the Natural Resources Districts from across the State of Nebraska help to plant nearly a million trees.  Over four million trees have been planted in the South Platte NRD since 1977.

Several varieties of bareroot trees are available.  The Colorado Blue Spruce and Ponderosa Pine along with Black Walnut and Cottonwood are just some of the Conifers and Deciduous trees available for purchase again this year.  Shrub choices include Chokecherry and Lilac along with several others.  Each of the bareroot Conifers, Deciduous, and Shrubs are $1.00 each with a minimum order of 10 per species.

Hefty Root Plus, previously called Regular Potted Trees, will be available at $2.25 each, minimum order of 10 per species and Hefty Root, previously called Small Potted Trees will be available at $1.50 each, minimum 10 per species.

If unsure what trees or shrubs would be the most effective in the space available or what each tree or shrub looks like, visit  The website has pictures of available species with descriptions of the average height and suggested spacing between trees and rows for effective planting.  There are even charts that tell if the tree or shrub is native to one of four zones in Nebraska and whether it is suggested to plant in each zone.  Conservation Trees for Nebraska books are available for free at the District offices during normal business hours.

The South Platte NRD and NRCS offices provide assistance with tree and shrub planting plans and have a list of contractors who have been certified in the handling and planting of trees and shrubs.  There is also information about cost share opportunities and other services available on this website by clicking Conservation Trees or by stopping by the District offices at 551 Parkland Dr. in Sidney.

For a 2018 tree order form, click here. (PDF file)
For your convenience, you can type your order on the form, then print and mail it, or save it and email it to

2017 District Conservation Award Winners Honored

On Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension hosted an Awards Ceremony for the 2017 Conservation Award Winners.  This year 4 area award winners were recognized, the Conservation Farm Award, Environmental Educator Award, Grassland Management Award, and the Tree Planter/Caretaker Award.  2017 was a unique year in that all four winners were groups of people and no single individual received an award.  The winners of these awards make a difference in our District.  Their outstanding efforts set them apart from their peers and their management practices create a sustainable and long lasting environmental benefit.  The criteria met for these producers is not based solely on the cost-share received on their operation, but on their enthusiasm and commitment to creating a better place for everyone.  Each year we gather to celebrate their efforts and recognize their hard work.  We are pleased to announce the 2017 District Conservation Award Winners!



Conservation Farm Award

Butch Stanley (and associated operations) has dedicated his operation to conservation farming practices.  About half of his acres on his operation are No-Till acres, and the other half are being reduced tilled.  While his operation is predominately a wheat/fallow rotation he has also incorporated spring crops like sunflowers, millet and corn in for soil conservation purposes.  Over the years 4 erosion control dams have been installed on the operation to manage silt, runoff and gully erosion.  The irrigated cropland has been fitted with low pressure drops as a way to conserve water and follow the NRD allocations.

This operation has more than 58,000 feet of terraces for erosion control, and even a windbreak that was planted in 1989 has been maintained. 

Butch has taken the initiative with his operation to maintain good practices without government funding as well.  The continued effort to move ahead with conservation through the years has earned this operation the 2017 Conservation Farm Award.

Environmental Educator Award

This year the 4th Grade Teachers at Sidney Elementary School truly stood out among their peers.  While Sidney has historically participated in the Western Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival this year the 4th grade teachers had other projects that were also environment and agriculture related.

The “Honoring 150 Years of Agriculture: Homesteaders to 2017” program was designated as an official Sesquicentennial project by the State of Nebraska.

The teachers spent a considerable amount of time in the planning, research, and execution of the project by their students.  A detailed schedule of events shows that they even took field trips and had speakers come in to guide the students with the project.  The students interviewed multiple agriculture related people in a variety of fields to give them all an idea of the multiple levels that agriculture affects.  The numerous hours dedicated to this project sets them apart this year.

One project doesn’t make or break a teacher, it is the continued dedication that truly deserves the recognition here.  These teachers have been including Ag into their classrooms for years.  A great example of this is the continued participation in the SPNRD Western Nebraska Children’s Ground Water Festival held here in Sidney NE.  The teachers don’t just treat this as a field trip, they have designed potions of their curriculum around what the students learn at the Festival.  They cover the area’s we teach here in multiple lessons throughout their Nebraska Studies courses in the year, before and after the Festival.


Grassland Management Award

RGM Corp, Randy and Bear Mathewson and family have long been stewards of the land in Western Nebraska.  They are leaders in conservation efforts and their numerous changes through the years to their cattle and farming operation have earned them the 2017 Grassland Management Award. 

The Mathewson’s dedication to these changes has resulted in drastic improvements to their rangeland, cropland, and to wildlife habitat.

The Mathewson grazing system was build on moderate stocking rates with a goal to manage their land even through high drought times.  Their grazing resources are managed using a planned deferred rotation system in order to provide ample recovery time between grazing intervals.  Their goal to maintain and continuously improve the diverse, resilient ecosystems that the rotation created over the last 20 years worked and during the droughts through the 2000’s they have managed to maintain the quality of their grasslands.

Mathewson’s efforts to improve their rangeland and resources over the last 20 years has included installing multiple miles of livestock pipeline, increasing the capacity of more than 20 livestock tanks, building more than several miles of crossfencing, and installing multiple miles of perimeter fence around expiring/expired CRP. 

The Mathewsons conservation ethic does not end with their rangeland.  Even through their custom cattle grazing operation is their primary operation, they maintain the same high standard of stewardship on their cropland. 

The dedication to preserving resources has improved the operation as well as the land and range around them. 


Tree Planter/Caretaker Award

This year the Watchorn operation is recognized for the Tree Planter/Caretaker Award.  Kyle and Ted Watchorn along with their associated operations and members of those operations have spent years working on tree projects.  Their focus on planting and maintaining healthy stands is admirable, and the South Platte NRD is happy to recognize their commitment to conservation, wildlife enhancement, and overall benefit their operation provides to our District.

Over the last 25 years Watchorns have ordered more than 20,000 trees from the South Platte NRD alone.  These have been planted in newly designed windbreaks and also used as replacement trees where needed.  So far, the estimated acreage the South Platte NRD can track is well over 50 acres converted to tree stands.

The multiple varieties of trees that have been ordered from the South Platte NRD include multiple types of Conifer trees, Deciduous trees, and Shrubs.  They have utilized machines for plating as well as going the extra distance to hand plant a number of their trees.  They have ordered bareroot seedlings and potted seedlings.

The Watchorn family and their associated operations have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing their operation through proper tree management.  They continue to add to their tree stands throughout the years, and have maintained prior plantings with a passion. 


Every year the SPNRD, along with the NRCS and the UNL Extension Office, select District Conservation Award Winners.  These individuals and groups within our District are selected based on their continued commitment to conservation stewardship.  The District has 5 possible awards each year, though not all may be filled each year.  These awards are The Conservation Farm Award, The Community Environmental Impact Award, The Environmental Educator Award, The Grassland Management Award, and The Tree Planter/Caretaker Award.  Anyone can make a nomination for these awards.  For more information on these awards or any program offered at the SPNRD please call Shelly Gerk, Information & Education Coordinator at the SPNRD, at 308-254-2377; visit us at 551 Parkland Dr, Sidney NE.


For Archived News please Click Here