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

October 2015

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Trust Director wins award at Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference
  3. Technical Reviewers (TAC) Luncheon
  4. Nebraska Conservation Summit Announcement
  5. Upcoming Events


Executive Director Corner

The last few weeks have been interesting and exciting.  I was able to attend the Pibel Lake renovation ceremony north of Grand Island, near Ericson. The Trust provided funding to the Lower Loup Natural Resources District to renovate the lake and the NRD is doing additional work including building a picnic shelter and campground work. It was very obvious at the ceremonny that the community loved their lake.

I once again attended the Ponca Outdoor Expo and was able to visit with a lot Nebraskans, South Dakotans and Iowans about the Trust and conservation. I was honored to speak at the US Fish and Wildlife’s Private Landowners meeting in North Platte that had almost 200 participants.  Marilyn was able to join me as well as our chair, Sherry Vinton.  There were landowners from all over the U.S. telling their stories of working with State and Federal partners on successful wildlife projects.  The Sandhills Task Force was being highlighted and the group even toured via three buses from North Platte to Thedford, Seneca and back.  The out-of-state visitors were very impressed with the Sandhills, even though we had rain almost the entire day.  Attendees were excited to hear about the Trust and our role in many projects in Nebraska.

Chadron State College had a big celebration opening three new buildings on campus; the Coffee Agriculture Pavillion, the Rangeland Center and the Chicoine Center. The Trust had provided funding to make the Rangeland Center more sustainable and energy efficient. It was good to see some old friends including Senator Al Davis and several Chadron State officials.

After recharging my batteries a few days in the Badlands of South Dakota, I was invited to speak at a national neighborhood conference in Omaha.  Most of the attendees were from the Omaha and Lincoln metro areas, but there were folks from across the country.  Again people were very interested in learning about the Trust, our mission and the types of projects we have funded.

I traveled out to the University of Nebraska-Kearney campus for a water summit (faculty retreat) the UNL Water Center was hosting.  The greatest thing I learned was that Dr. Trenton Franz and a graduate student are working with equipment that uses nano-particles to measure and map soil moisture in fields and on pastures.  One instrument in the middle of the field can read soil moisture to 32 cm (over a foot) deep and across the entire field.  Better yet, the instrument can be placed on an ATV or the bed of a pickup and as you drive at 30 mph or slower, it can map the surrounding land.  They showed an area 15 miles long by three miles wide that they mapped in four to five hours.  I am very excited about this technology.

Next was the Annual Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Coordinating Meeting held on East Campus.  We learned about Master and PhD. Student research.  There were 18 presentations given by the students, as well as updates from UNL, US Geological Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

There are a lot of things going on across Nebraska and I feel honored and privileged to be part of this conservation world and know the Trust is making a difference on the landscape of Nebraska.

I usually end with a note about the Cornhuskers. The volleyball team has provided some excitement with big wins over ranked opponents, even beating number one Penn State. They continue to be ranked in the top of the polls.  The football team however has the worst start since 1959, but the four losses were by a total of 11 points.  An interesting fact I saw, Mike Riley’s team hasn’t once trailed a single opponent with 15 seconds left in regulation.  Coach Riley even joked the other day that he was working on introducing a change next year to shorten all college football games by 15 seconds.  At least the guy has not lost his sense of humor. Let’s hope the Huskers luck can change and change in a hurry.

Hoping for a safe harvest!

Mark Brohman
Executive Director  


Trust Director Wins Award at the Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference - submitted by Kristal Stoner

"The challenge we face to ensure Nebraska’s biodiversity is great.  It is too much for any one organization.  The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project was always intended to act as a guide or roadmap and as a catalyst for collaboration, so a fundamental piece for the Natural Legacy Project to be a success is that it needs to be embraced and implemented by many agencies, organizations and concerned citizens. If it turned into only a Nebraska Game and Parks Plan, then we failed. 

Over the years, Mark Brohman has been a champion for the Natural Legacy Project.  He has discussed it with many, and repeatedly referred to it as the gold standard for biodiversity and at-risk species conservation.  Thanks to his commitment to increasing awareness, collaboration and implementation of the Natural Legacy over the last 10 years, the number of partners has increased substantially so that together we are strategically working toward a future where our natural legacy is secured for future generations." - Kristal Stoner


Mark Brohnman with his award

We, at the Trust office are so proud to have Mark honored with this award. He has such a dedication and passion for Nebraska's natural resources.


Technical Advisory Committee(TAC) Luncheon

The Trust organized three Technical Reviewers Luncheon this month to thank all of our appointed technical reviewers. We have close to 180 reviewers in various fields and they are the experts that help the Grants Committee and Trust Board evaluate the grants that come in on a yearly basis.

Our reviewers volunteer their time and resources by providing us their review sheets and making recommendations based on their expertise as to whether a project is feasible. The Grants Committee and the Board then relies on these reviews to score grants and make final recommendations on the projects and determine which get funded.


Some of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) members
at one of the threeLuncheons.


2015 Nebraska Conservation Summit Announcement - Water Experts to Discuss Key Threats and Solutions Regarding Preservation and Utilization of Nebraska's Water Supplies

The Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and Nebraska Conservation Education Fund are pleased to announce that the 2015 Nebraska Conservation Summit will take place December 7th, 2015, at the Scott Conference Center in Omaha. This year’s Summit is centered on the theme of water, and will explore how they can ensure water sustainability for future generations while encouraging a strong, vibrant economy. Attendees will learn about the greatest threats to Nebraska’s water supply, what is being done to address them, and the role that all of us can play in protecting this essential resource.

Dr. Peter Gleick, Co-founder and leader of the Pacific Institute based in Oakland, California, will serve as the Keynote Speaker. Dr. Gleick is renowned the world over as a leading expert, innovator, and communicator on water and climate issues. Dr. Gleick’s work has redefined water from the realm of engineers to the world of social justice, sustainability, human rights, and integrated thinking. 

The Summit will begin at 1 PM with panel discussions featuring some of Nebraska’s leading experts on water issues affecting our state. A cocktail hour and networking opportunities have been incorporated into the event, and they are excited for the discussions that will ensue throughout the day as they gather many of the best minds working on water issues into one room. The agenda can be found at ConservationSummit.com as can the full list of presenters and discussion leaders.

Tickets for the 2015 Nebraska Conservation Summit can also be purchased at ConservationSummit.com. Early-bird ticket prices are: $25 to attend the afternoon sessions only, $25 to attend the evening keynote only, or $40 to attend the entire day. Early-bird ticket prices will last until October 31. Tickets will be sold through December 7, but prices will go up on November 1.

The 2015 Nebraska Conservation Summit is hosted by the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund. Members of the Summit’s Host Committee include the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute and the Groundwater Foundation, and sponsors of the Summit include the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Academy of Sciences, the Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District, and Bank of the West.

For more information, contact Chelsea Johnson at 402-274-7623 or email: chelsea.johnson@nlcv.org


Upcoming Events

- October 14, 15 and 20, 2015 - Technical Reviewers Meeting and Luncheon (By invitation only) at the Ferguson House

- November 3, 2015 - 4th Quarter Board Meeting

- December 6, 2015 - Christmas Holiday Open House


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