A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust
Dave Heineman, Governor
Board of Trustees
In This Issue:
Executive Director Corner
Summer is about half over, but there is already a lot of thought towards Big Red football this fall. I hope fans don’t have an unrealistic expectation of the team, but it wouldn’t be the first time.
We are having our third quarter board meeting in Scottsbluff this week (July 17th and 18th). Not only will we conduct regular business, but we will be electing new officers for the upcoming year. We will also get a chance to do a field trip and see a few of the projects we have funded in the area. Unfortunately we have several board members that have other commitments and will be unable to attend the meetings. I want to pre-thank our hosts while visiting the panhandle. We always have a warm welcome in the Scottsbluff/Gering area.
The two day meeting will be held at the North Platte Natural Resources District (NRD) office at 100547 Airport Road just north of Scottsbluff. Thursday morning, July 17th we will tour some of the projects and that afternoon and the next morning, we’ll meet at the NRD’s board room.
Marilyn and I have been getting a couple visits a week from potential grant applicants. We have heard about a lot of exciting projects already and we still have more than a month before the September 2nd deadline.
Here’s to continued rain, favorable growing conditions and more blooming wild flowers.
Mark A. Brohman
2014 Public Information and Education Grant Report
The Nebraska Academy of Sciences (NAS) received 23 applications for the second quarter 2014 PIE minigrant program. Applications were received from Keep Omaha Beautiful, Rain Barrels for Community Gardens; Nebraska Game and Parks, Park Naturalist Program Expansion in Western NE; Omaha Schools Foundation, Growing Flora of Nebraska Pollinators; Bancroft Elementary School/Henry Doorly Zoo, Bancroft Pocket Garden Project; A. Jewell Schock Museum of Natural History-Wayne State College, Habitat and Stream Monitoring of Dog Creek; Board of Regents/UNL, Running Rain: Keep it Clean! Slow it Down! Soak It In!; No More Empty Pots, 2014 Food Waste Summit; Ed George, Soil Project for Nebraska Science Teachers; Lincoln Community Foundation, Southern Heights Food Forest Pollinator Garden; Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, Growing Young Naturalists: Developing Environmental Stewardship; WasteCap Nebraska, 2014 Sustainability Summit: Zero Waste Roadmap; Groundwater Foundation, Educating the Next Generation of Water1ders; Trinity Infant & Child Care Center, Advancing Conservation Ed through Outdoor Classroom; Kregel Windmill Factory Museum, Wind Energy: Understanding the Past, Envisioning the Future; The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska, The Prairie Ecologist Blog; Adrian Olivera, Natural Nebraska; Board of Regents/UNL, Campus Green Team Pilot Program; WasteCap Nebraska, Online Recycling Guide; Fontenelle Forest, Technology, Communities, and Conservation; Board of Regents/UNL, NaturePalooza; Children and Nature in Our Parks, Place-Based Habitat and Water Conservation through Education; Riverside Discovery Center, Recycle!; Tri-Basin NRD, et. al., Water Jamboree; PRIDE Weed Management Area, Yellow Flag Iris Research and Education Project.
Nine grant applications were funded: Omaha Schools Foundation, Growing Flora of Nebraska Pollinators; A. Jewell Schock Museum of Natural History-Wayne State College, Habitat and Stream Monitoring of Dog Creek; Board of Regents/UNL, Running Rain: Keep it Clean! Slow it Down! Soak It In!; Lincoln Community Foundation, Southern Heights Food Forest Pollinator Garden; WasteCap Nebraska, 2014 Sustainability Summit: Zero Waste Roadmap; Groundwater Foundation, Educating the Next Generation of Water1ders; Adrian Olivera, Natural Nebraska; WasteCap Nebraska, Online Recycling Guide; and Tri-Basin NRD, et. al., Water Jamboree.
The Nebraska Environmental Public Information and Education MiniGrant Program awards MiniGrants of up to $3,000 each, to support the presentation and dissemination of information and perspectives that will stimulate enhanced environmental stewardship in any category eligible for Nebraska Environmental Trust funding. These categories are habitat, surface and ground water, waste management, air quality, and soil management. The grant expands dialogue on important current conservation topics and provides information on emerging or highly useful conservation methods. All Nebraska individuals, private organizations, and public entities are eligible to apply for these funds.
Third quarter 2014 applications are due October 3rd, 2014.
Grant forms and information can be found on the Nebraska Academy of Sciences(NAS) website, www.neacadsci.org. Click on NAS and then click on Grants and Scholarships.
Bazile Groundwater Management Area
The Bazile Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) project in northeast Nebraska hit the ground running this May in an effort to curb nitrogen contamination of the area’s groundwater. Steadily rising since the 1980s, the nitrate concentration of the area ranges between 8.24 – 18.25 mg/l, with the majority above the 10 mg/l standard. A coordinated effort of the Lower Niobrara, Lewis & Clark, Upper Elkhorn and Lower Elkhorn NRDs, grant funding through the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) will be used to educate and promote best management practices (BMPs).
Project coordinator, Stephanie Butler, is focused on visiting with producers about the importance of BMPs and available financial assistance. To date, producers from all four NRDs have been enrolled for grant-funded assistance for plant tissue analysis and flowmeter installation. Several sites throughout the area have also been selected for deep (≤ 20 ft) vadose soil sampling to examine the nitrate concentration and leaching rates along the soil profile in fields using various management techniques. Letters outlining the project and funding opportunities were sent to area producers and articles have been sent to local newspapers to keep the public informed on the project’s progress. A public meeting was held in Creighton to discuss the project and funding available through grant, NRD and NRCS funding. A small part of the Bazile GWMA along the Bazile Creek has been selected for special NRCS funding through the National Water Quality Initiative program. This NRCS program coupled with NRD and grant funding has become available at the same time, making it easier than ever for producers to find financial assistance to begin or upgrade BMPs on their land.
Producers who are not currently utilizing the basic BMPs of soil sampling, tissue analysis and flowmeters have been given priority for NET funding to facilitate incorporation of these BMPs into their management plans to aid nitrogen application decisions.
Upper Elkhorn NRD’s water technician Kelly Kloppenborg taking the deep vadose soil samples
- July 17-18, 2014 (Thursday- Friday) - 3rd Quarter Board Meeting, Scottsbluff at North Platte Natural Recources District Office.
- August 22 - September 1, 2014 - Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island
- September 2, 2014 (Tuesday) - General and Recognition Grant Application Deadline
- September 9-11, 2014 (Tuesday - Thursday) - Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island
- September 20-21, 2014 - Ponca Outdoor Expo, Ponca State Park, Ponca, Nebraska.
- November 6, 2014 (Thursday) - 4th Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lincoln