A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust

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Pete Ricketts, Governor

Board of Trustees

District I
District II
District III

Agency Directors

Trust Staff

March 2015

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Update on Newly Appointed Board Members
  3. Grantee Seminar dates for April 2015
  4. 2015 Public Information and Education Grant Report
  5. Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) - submitted by Anne McCollister
  6. Upcoming Events


Executive Director Corner

Things are getting very busy at the Trust with the next board meeting on Thursday, April 2nd at 1:30 pm at the Ferguson House.  At this meeting we will hold a public meeting on the 2015 grants.  We will be holding grantee seminars on April 7-10 to explain grant requirements to new and old grant recipients.  Later this year we will hold three public meetings across the state to discuss our funding categories. 

The Trust has three new board members and two previous board members that have been reappointed to the board.  Jim Macy has been appointed as the Director of the Nebraska Dept. of Environmental Quality, thus having a place on the Trust board. Dr. James Schneider was appointed as Acting Director of the Dept. of Natural Resources, replacing previous Director, Brian Dunnigan. Jim Hellbusch was appointed to the board by Governor Ricketts to represent District 1.  Bob Krohn was reappointed to represent District 2 and Rod Christen was reappointed to represent District 3. In the past Rod represented District 1, but after the last census, he is now in District 3 and no longer in District 1.

The weather continues to be Nebraska-like. Highs in the 40’s one day and in the 80’s a few days later.  All I know is we have a chance of snow and frost until early May and all the flowers and trees and bushes that are budding will regret trying to get an early jump on spring.

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director


Update on Newly Appointed Board Members

The Trust saw many new changes and appointments to the Trust Board this past month. We are pleased to welcome our previous board members, Robert (Bob) Krohn and Rod Christen back to the board.

Bob Krohn was appointed by Governor Johanns in 2002 and represents Congressional District II on the Nebraska Environmental Trust board. His 53-year career included over 25 years as President and/or Chairman of the Board of three Nebraska Companies; HDR, Commercial Federal Bank and PSI Group; all had a National and/or International reach. He also served on numerous Company Boards and State and Community Organizations. He will serve the Trust board till March 10, 2021.

Rod Christen was appointed to the Trust board in March of 2009 by Governor Heineman. He was a recipient of the 2007 Leopold Conservation Award and the 2008 Nebraska Land Stewardship Award presented by the Partnership for All Bird Conservation as a result of their wildlife friendly practices and land stewardship. Originally from District 1, Rod will now represent District 3 on the Trust board. Rod will also serve the board till March 10, 2021.

A new face on the Trust Board is Mr. Jim Hellbusch. Mr. Hellbusch owns Duo Lift, a company that manufactures wagon lifts to enhance farming operations. Today, Duo-Lift manufactures one of the largest lines of fertilizer trailers and running gears in the country and is known throughout the industry as a manufacturer of high quality equipment with special emphasis on safety. Mr. Hellbusch was appointed on March 19, 2015 and will serve till March 10, 2021.

Another new member on the Trust Board is Mr. Jim Schneider, who is currently the Acting Director for the Department of Natural Resources replacing previous Director Brian Dunnigan.

Also appointed recently is Mr. Jim Macy for the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. Governor Pete Ricketts recently appointed Mr. Macy as Director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, thus becoming a board member of the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

The Trust board is made up of five agency directors and nine citizens appointed by the Governor, three from each of the three congressional districts. Appointments are for a six year term. The Trust was established in 1992 and has funded more than $228 million to over 1,700 projects across the state. 


Grantee Seminar dates for April 2015

It's that time of the year again where we are preparing to have our grantee seminars at two different locations to welcome our new grant recipients as well as visit with some of our existing grant recipients. Please RSVP if you have not done so as the grants contracts will be distributed at the Grantee Seminars. You may call Allison Alley at 402-471-5417 for any questions or RSVPs.

We will be holding four sessions in total, three in Lincoln and one in Grand Island. The seminars will be held on April 7 in Grand Island and April 8, 9 and 10 in Lincoln. Please see the agendas attached for details:

Agenda for Grand Island - April 7, 2015

Agenda for Lincoln - April 8, 9 and 10, 2015


2015 Public Information and Education Grant Report

The Nebraska Academy of Sciences (NAS) received eight applications for the first quarter 2015 PIE minigrant program.  Applications were received from: Elkhorn Valley Museum, Exploring Vegas Park; Upper Elkhorn NRD, Bazile GWMA Storm Water Conservation; Audubon Nebraska, Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival; The Nature Conservancy, The Central Nebraska Prairie Reader; WasteCap Nebraska, Lincoln Community Soil Rebuilders-Advance Composter Training; Community Crops, Sustainable Agriculture Education Program; Loup Basin Resource Conservation and Development, 2015 Loup Basin Recycling Guide; and Bryan College of Health Sciences, Environmental Pollutants As A source of Endocrine Disruptors.

Six were awarded grants: Elkhorn Valley Museum, Exploring Vegas Park; Audubon Nebraska, Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival; The Nature Conservancy, The Central Nebraska Prairie Reader; WasteCap Nebraska, Lincoln Community Soil Rebuilders-Advance Composter Training; Community Crops, Sustainable Agriculture Education Program; and Loup Basin Resource Conservation and Development, 2015 Loup Basin Recycling Guide.

During the first quarter a number of PIE grants were completed.  Reports were received from 11 grant recipients.  Grant monies were used to support speakers at conferences, improve website design, design and distribute promotional materials for environmental projects and in general improve Nebraska citizens’ knowledge and relationship to the environment.  Here are just a few highlights.  The Nature Conservancy sponsored the Platte River Field Day in June and August of 2014.  Over 100 people attended who learned more about grassland habitat, identification of birds, wetland plants, grasses, and general management of habitat.  Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center used their grant funding to develop a Spanish Language Discovery Pack to help inform visitors about Nebraska’s tallgrass prairie.  The Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District presented demonstrations on nitrate testing at a number of county fairs, and a ranch expo.  With their in house testing machine they can test for nitrate on site.  Since nitrate contamination in water wells has become a concern the ability to “test your well” is very important.  

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.


Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA) - submitted by Anne McCollister

Connecting Nebraska Communities Driving America’s Fuel! is the title of the top-rated grant by the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) in 2014, which awarded its primary sponsor, the Nebraska Community Energy Alliance (NCEA,) $403,000 in matching funds on a statewide project worth just under $800,000.

The grant funded nine Nebraska communities and the University of Nebraska to demonstrate the economic and air quality benefits of advanced transportation technologies of electric and compressed natural gas vehicles.

With the NET funding, the towns of South Sioux City, Wayne, Central City, Bellevue, Nebraska City, Seward, Holdrege, Lexington and Gothenburg purchased thirteen municipal electric cars, 3 municipal compressed natural gas trucks, and 13 municipal ChargePoint™ electric vehicle charging stations, and contributed fifty percent of the cost of the local projects with a local match.

electric car

ChargePoint™ was selected for its networked technology capable of collecting data on the amount of gasoline saved (municipal fleets are dominantly gas-powered), electricity used (municipal cost of recharging an EV battery) and CO2 emissions reduced per charging event as well as a wealth of other information derived from each charging event. This information is provided as part of ChargePoint’™s network service to any of its station owners. However, the network is also capable of sharing that data directly with others, which was, in this grant, shared with the University of Nebraska research team directly in real time from each community’s ChargePoint™ to document and demonstrate the economic and air quality benefits of these two advanced transportation technologies.

NCEA was founded by the nine communities to build in phases a statewide network of electric vehicle refueling stations in Nebraska communities to enable and promote electric vehicle travel throughout Nebraska. NCEA has since grown to include the City of Lincoln and cities surrounding it, the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency which includes Washington and Douglas counties and communities within those counties, including the City of Omaha, Omaha Public Power District, Metro Community College, UNL Durham School at Peter Kiewit Institute, and UNO Center for Urban Sustainability.

The Nebraska Community Energy Alliance was organized to build and promote advanced building and transportation technologies that save energy, cut costs and reduce pollution from the two most expensive and polluting fueling sectors for communities, transportation and buildings.


Upcoming Events

- April 2, 2015 (Thursday), 1:30 pm - 2nd Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lincoln NE.

- April 12, 2015 (Sunday) - Sustainability Celebration, First Plymouth Courtyard

- April 18, 2015 (Saturday) - Earth Day Omaha, Omaha NE.

- April 18, 2015 (Saturday) - Lincoln Earth Day, Lincoln NE.

- April 22, 2015 (Wednesday) - Gallup Earth Day, Omaha NE.

- May 12, 2015 (Tuesday) - 8:00am - 4:00pm Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival, Grand Island NE.

- May 15 - 17, 2015 (Friday - Sunday) - Spring Into Spring at Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha NE.


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