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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, November 8, 2016
5:00 p.m. at the SPNRD Conference Room, 551 Parkland Dr., Sidney.
Click here to see board agendas and minutes.



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


                                                           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.

2016 Conservation Award Winners Honored

Three awards were given out at the 2016 South Platte NRD (District) Conservation Awards reception on Tuesday, October 11, 2016.  The awards reception was held at 21st Century in Sidney.  The committee that decides the awards is made of staff members from the South Platte NRD, NRCS, and UNL Extension.    
This year’s award recipients were Paul and Colleen Hutchison for the Conservation Farm Award, Scott Trost for Conservation Tree Planter Award, and Western Nebraska Community College Sidney Campus for Community Environmental Impact Award.  All three of the award winners were recognized for their superior work in conservation practices across the District.
Since 1990 Paul Hutchison has planted 14 different windbreaks totaling nearly 14,000 trees which include livestock and field windbreaks, farmstead windbreaks, and wildlife planting.  He has also hand planted over 7,000 more trees to replace and maintain his windbreaks which in total cover just over 52 acres along with 126 acres of CRP, 13 acres of Buffer Strips, and pollinator habitat.  Hutchison also enjoys working with 4-H kids.  The 2016 Conservation Farm Award winner is sponsored by American Bank of Sidney.
The Western Nebraska Community College Sidney Campus Outdoor Classroom was created to help enhance areas around the campus, mostly to the east, that were barren land.  Since 2008 nearly 80 trees and shrubs have been added.  WNCC is the winner of the 2016 Community Environmental Impact Award sponsored by Sidney Regional Medical Center.   Rob Ommen, Maintenance Supervisor for WNCC, heads up the Outdoor Classroom and helps to maintain the area and order new trees and shrubs.
Over 26,000 trees and shrubs have been planted since 2011 adding wildlife habitat, reducing soil erosion, protecting crops from wind, capturing rain and snow, and helping to improve air quality by the 2016 Tree Planter Award winner Scott Trost.  What started as a small project has now grown into over 109 acres of habitat for wildlife and other conservation practices.   In the past few years Trost has recruited help in the form of high school kids to help him plant the trees and shrubs.
All three of the award winners will now be sent on to the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts for consideration for statewide awards to be announced next year. 


Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area Projects Public Meeting

A series of meetings are being held to acquaint the public on potential projects at Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area (ORRA).  The South Platte NRD (District), along with Olsson Associates of Lincoln, Nebraska, are looking for public input to enhance recreation and other opportunities at ORRA while fulfilling the integrated management plan (IMP) developed in response to the Groundwater Management and Protection Act (GWMPA) and Platte River Recovery Implementation Plan (PRRIP).
The Lodgepole Creek subbasin, a part of the South Platte River Basin, falls under the PRRIP.  It is designated as overappropriated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The Platte Basin Coalition (PBC), consisting of the five Nebraska NRD’s in the PRRIP area and DNR, was formed to undertake projects to address IMP requirements for the Districts.
The first public meeting was held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at the Kimball Event Center.  The meeting introduced the overall goals of the project and solicited public input regarding needs and opportunities at ORRA.  Two more public meetings will be announced to introduce and discuss potential plans.
Public input is encouraged at the meetings.  For questions regarding the meetings please contact the South Platte NRD at 308-254-2377.



A public hearing on the proposed Amended and Restated Rules and Regulations for Implementing Erosion and Sediment Control Act will be held during the South Platte Natural Resources Districts June Board Meeting on June 14, 2016 at the South Platte Natural Resources Districts Conference Room located at 551 Parkland Drive, Sidney.

Click Here to view a copy of the Amended and Restated Rules and Regulations for Implementing Erosion and Sediment Control Act.

South Platte NRD’s Ryan Reisdorff Joins Water Leaders Academy Class VI

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA – Ryan Reisdorff of Sidney has been accepted as a member of the Class VI of the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy, a one-year program that educates participants about the vital role rivers, streams and aquifers play in the economic sustainability of the state.

Reisdorff is a water resources specialist for South Platte Natural Resources District; his job includes overseeing wellhead protection and best management practices for the district.

A 2000 graduate of Chadron State College, Reisdorff began his current job in 2009. He worked for the NRD for eight years then took a position with Cabela’s before rejoining the NRD in his present position. He also has worked for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Reisdorff grew up near Osceola. He is the son of Pat and Don Reisdorff. He said that growing up on a farm that had both irrigated and dry land acres taught him an appreciation for water and water management.

Water Leaders Academy sessions feature classroom and field trip experiences presented by acknowledged experts in leadership and natural resource topics held at locations across the state. The Nebraska State Irrigation Association sponsors the program.

The Water Leaders Academy is partially funded through a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and more than 25 other organizations and individuals.

More information can be found at


Several Items Discussed at December Board Meeting


The 2015 Fiscal Year Audit Report was received by the South Platte Natural Resources District Board (Board) at their regular December Meeting.  Julia Peetz, CPA with Rauner and Associates, stated in her presentation to the Board that the report was clean and will be submitted to the Nebraska State Auditor.

Oliver Reservoir was discussed as Galen Wittrock, Assistant General Manager, and Ryan Reisdorff, Water Resources Specialist, met with the Nebraska State Patrol for guidance for proposed changes to the Rules and Regulations at Oliver Reservoir for the 2016 season.  The proposed changes had been previously discussed by the Oliver Reservoir Advisory Committee led by Mr. Wittrock.  Rod Horn, General Manager, also updated the Board on the conditional approval for a request for funding on the Oliver Reservoir Streamflow Enhancement Project through the Platte Basin Coalition.

Prior to the Board meeting, the District Operations Committee met and discussed approving a Second Amendment to the Interlocal Agreement with the City of Sidney establishing the Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority.  Discussion was also held concerning The Ranch at Sidney, LLC, for an extension to file the Third Supplemental Order due on December 31, 2015, to March 30, 2016 to give time for the result of a Nebraska Environmental Trust fund grant request by The Ranch.  Also discussed was an approval of a construction line of credit for the proposed upgrade to the South Platte NRD building. All committee items were brought before the Board and passed.

Before the Board adjourned, special recognition was given to two Board members and one Staff member for years of service.  Receiving recognition for over 10 years of service as a Board member was Jim Johnson.  Bill Halligan was recognized for over 5 years of service to the Board.  Ryan Reisdorff was recognized for over 5 years of service to the South Platte NRD.  Congratulations to these three who continue to serve and work for the District.           

Conservation Trees Available

Fall is upon us and 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 $.90 each with a minimum order of 10 per species.

Regular Potted Trees will be available at $2.10 each, minimum order of 10 per species and small Potted Trees will be available at $1.45 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 on Conservation Trees or by stopping by the District offices at 551 Parkland Dr. in Sidney.


Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area a Success

July 21, 2015

During the July, 2015 SPNRD board meeting Kent Matsutani was invited to give a report about progress at the Oliver Reservoir Recreation Area (ORRA) which is located 8 miles west of Kimball.

Matsutani, along with Randy Gunn,technicians for the SPNRD at ORRA, began work at the site in late April of this year and Matsutani dicussed several upgrades made this past spring.

One important upgrade has been to the restrooms.Ventilation and a cleaner environment have been key steps to making a better experience for those visiting. Another area of priority was to clean and repair the picnic tables and the playground area. More signage and a new buoy system are also helping visitors to navigate the reservoir area.

(Click here to read more.)

Sidney Captures Second At State Envirothon

COZAD – The Sidney High School Envirothon team made a run at the Nebraska state championship here at Camp Comeca, falling by points to champion Concordia High School in the end.

Sidney Envirothon 15
Sidney Envirotnon Team members included Skylar Arent, Tanner Nienhueser, Theda Parker, Logan Uhlir and Ryan Birner

Sidney tied Concordia in one of the seven skill areas, Aquatics, but Concordia topped all teams in five additional areas to capture their third straight state title. Concordia will now prepare for the National Envirothon in Springfield, Missouri in July.

On the way to state, student teams, consisting of five members, first competed in one of six regional contests around the state. The highest scoring teams earned the opportunity to compete at the state competition.

Sidney led a contingent of three teams from the West Region, covering the Panhandle. Also competing from the region were teams from Chadron and Creek Valley High School at Chappell. (Click here to read more.)

Final Seat Filled On SPNRD Board

The South Platte NRD board is full again following the appointment to fill the vacancy left by former Subdistrict 6 Director Tom Biggs, who retired at the end of 2014. No one filed for the seat in the November election, setting up the need for an appointed director.

Kathy Narjes
Kathy Narjes

Two candidates, Randy Horst of Gurley and Kathy Narjes of rural Lodgepole applied for the position. Each was interviewed during the District’s February board meeting, outlining their qualifications and reasons for their application. Following the interviews a written ballot and subsequent roll call vote was taken to see who would be the nominee.

Narjes, who takes part in a farm and ranch operation with her husband Phil and also serves as a part-time legal assistant, was chosen to fill the seat. Her appointment is until the next election in two years, at which time she can run to continue her term. (Click here to read more.)

Board Begins Year With A New Member

The South Platte Natural Resources District board of directors began the year by welcoming a new member into its fold, while choosing Keith Rexroth to continue his role as chairman.

Phil Grabowski
Phil Grabowski

Phil Grabowski of rural Sidney joined the board after being elected last November, replacing long-time board member Paul Hutchison, who retired at the end of his term last year. Grabowski is a farmer and rancher and will represent NRD Subdistrict 4, covering southwest Cheyenne county including a portion of southwest Sidney.

Grabowski was sworn in just prior to the board meeting, along with Jim Johnson of Dix, who was re-elected to serve Subdistrict 2, covering eastern Kimball County and part of western Cheyenne County. (Click here to read more.)

South Platte NRD Honors Retiring Members

Tom Biggs, Paul Hutchison

The South Platte Natural Resources District board of directors closed out its final meeting of 2014 by bidding farewell to a pair of retiring long term members.

Directors Paul Hutchison and Tom Biggs attended their last meeting as part of a board that established most of the District’s water management rules and regulations during their tenures.

Both were board members when LB 962, the Nebraska Ground Water Management and Protection Act, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature. The resulting Districtwide Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations and the District’s Integrated Management Plan that serve as the backbone of the District’s ground water management were major achievements. (Click here to read more.)

District Partipates In Aquifer Recharge Project

Working together, the South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD), Twin Platte Natural Resources RechargeDistrict (TPNRD), Western Irrigation District, and landowners in Keith and Deuel Counties are taking advantage of the excess flows in the South Platte River.  These entities are working together to turn high flows in the South Platte River into ground water recharge.

The goal of this project is to capture the excess water, or amount of water that is not already permitted for downstream uses, and recharge it into the ground water aquifer instead of just letting it flow by unused. (Click here to read more.)

Armstrong, Diemoz Appointed to Monitoring Committee

At its March board meeting the South Platte Natural resources District board of directors appointed two Kimball County residents to fill open positions on a local monitoring committee.

Dennis Armstrong, of rural Bushnell and Steve Diemoz of rural Kimball, join the team that monitors operations at Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., a hazardous waste incinerator site located south of Kimball.

Armstrong Diemoz
Armstrong Diemoz

The Committee holds regular meetings where it receives reports from the plant manager, safety manager and its own consultant. Monitoring systems reviewed include the facility’s waste analysis plan, ash samples, air samples, soil samples, leachate, sludge and leak water, groundwater samples from 150 and 180 feet, and storm water.

The Committee also provides input to the regulatory agencies when Clean Harbors wants to change or renew permits.

Other CMC members from Kimball include Larry Stahla, chair, Peggy Sanders and Greg Robinson. SPNRD board member Jim Johnson and General Manager Rod Horn are also on the committee.

Joint Authority Formed To Manage East Sidney Drainage Issues

The District and the City of Sidney have been holding joint meetings for several months, working toward the development of options to alleviate problems caused by excessive drainage in southeast Sidney.

The entities have formed the Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority (JESWA) to manage a joint effort to reduce runoff and associated problems from the drainage area.

For a number of years, large rains have been a problem as development continues, changing runoff patterns. Flooding that has the potential to carry contaminants and silt, as well as resulting erosion, has prompted the effort for controlling the runoff. (Click here to read more.)

NRD Sponsored Project Focuses On ET

The District has been part of a project funded in conjunction with the Upper Niobrara White and North Platte NRDs and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

The ETgage® is a tool that can be used to mimic evapotranspiration (ET) rates and this information can be utilized for irrigation management. The online ETgage tool gives collaborators an easy-to-use tool for recording readings. This online tool also provides quick, easy access to readings from a specific location.

Gary Stone, from the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, presented year-two numbers from a three-year Panhandle-wide study on evapotranspiration (ET) and use of atmometers to measure crop water use. Click here to see more about the ET Project. See a PDF of the Project Report.

Also from the Research and Extension Center, Stone and Dr. Gary Hergert provided a short introduction to a new Excel-based program, Water Optimizer, developed by the University.

The program comes from studies done in deficit irrigation to assist agricultural producers determine potential crops, populations, water needs and other factors when full irrigation is not possible.

The University and Panhandle NRDs plan to work together on meetings that will showcase Water Optimizer, display its capabilities and help producers learn how to use it as a management tool. For more information on Water Optimizer, click here.

SPNRD Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan In Effect

The District-led Multijurisdicational Hazard Mitigation Plan is now in effect, opening the door to participating entities which have needs protecting residents in the event of natural disasters.

Under the Disaster Management Act of 2000, local entities are required to form a Hazard Mitigation Plan to take action before a disaster occurs to reduce or eliminate threats. (Click here to read more)

Program Provides Options To Preserve Area’s Grassland Cover

With the potential expiration of contracts protecting more than 260,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in the Panhandle by 2013, Panhandle natural resources districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service have teamed together to preserve regional grassland cover. (Click here to read more)