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

September 2015

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Nebraska Environmental Trust Invites Comments on 2016 Grant Applications
  3. New 30 by 30 Mobile Water Tracking App Promotes Water Conservation and Education - Submitted by Jennifer Wemhoff, Program Communications Manager, The Groundwater Foundation
  4. 2015 Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference
  5. Pibel Lake Renovations
  6. Upcoming Events


Executive Director Corner

September is always a busy time for the Trust and this year is no exception.  From the deadline for new grants on September 8th, the State Fair, Husker Harvest Days, World O’ Water, Nature Palooza and the Ponca Outdoor Expo.

We received 127 new applications this year which is a record, the old record was 125 new applications two years ago.  Last year we received 122 new applications asking for $59M and this year the amount requested was just over $58M.

The Trust had a booth inside the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission pavilion in the Nebraska building at the State Fair this year.  Everyone loved the Commission’s exhibit that included a large aquarium full of native fish and a waterfall and stream display complete with real animal mounts and a beautiful mural painted on the wall behind the waterfall.  The public is so happy to have live fish back at the State Fair.  The Trust provided some of the funding for the Commission’s exhibit.  The free pellet gun and archery galleries were also a big hit.

Sheila and I had the opportunity to interact with a lot of kids at the World of Water festival held at Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District’s headquarters on Wehrspann Lake in Omaha and I manned the booth for two days at the Ponca Expo held at Ponca State Park.

We are busy getting the new applications sent to our technical reviewers and then the Grants Committee will start their work on the 127 new grant applications.  We are planning three luncheons in October to thank our technical reviewers.

The Cornhuskers dropped their second football game of the season to sit at 1-2, something we haven’t experienced since I was a senior in high school (1981).  I think most fans will agree, we didn’t think they could come back in that Miami game and we came ever so close taking them in overtime.  As one announcer stated, “I don’t think Husker fans could have asked for two closer games, both being won on the final snap in both of their last two games.”  Let’s hope we can grab a little of the luck for a few games as we start into conference play after this next game.

Mark Brohman
Executive Director  


Nebraska Environmental Trust Invites Comments on 2016 Grant Applications

The Nebraska Environmental Trust entered the 2016 grant cycle on September 8, 2015 receiving 127 new applications and 49 carry-over projects requesting a total of $58,038,630 in grants. Last year the Trust received 122 new applications and 57 carry-over projects. The Trust has completed 22 grant cycles and will announce the results of the 23rd round of award recommendations in February 2016.

As part of the grant application process, the Trust invites members of the public to review the proposed grants and provide written comments about the projects. A summary of each proposal will be available soon on the Trust’s web site www.environmentaltrust.org. Comments on the grant applications will be accepted until April 5, 2016 at the Nebraska Environmental Trust, 700 S 16th Street, PO Box 94913, Lincoln, NE 68509-4913 or via e-mail to marilyn.tabor@nebraska.gov.


New 30 by 30 Mobile Water Tracking App Promotes Water Conservation and Education - Submitted by Jennifer Wemhoff, Program Communications Manager, The Groundwater Foundation

The Groundwater Foundation, in partnership with Netafim USA and with generous support from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, recently released a groundbreaking interactive mobile app that aims to educate users on how much water they are using in their everyday activities and challenge them to find ways to conserve at least 30 gallons of water in 30 days. The Groundwater Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Lincoln, NE with a mission to educate people and inspire action to ensure clean, sustainable groundwater for future generations. Since its inception in 1985, the Foundation has offered various educational programming for youth and adults.

Aptly named “30 by 30,” the app was released in August and developed to provide a simple, intuitive measurement tool for users of all ages to gain a better understanding of how much water they use daily and how small changes can deliver a major impact in the face of drought conditions across the country. The app is available for download now in the Apple Store and Google Play.


A screen shot of the app

The average American uses approximately 100 gallons of water a day. 30 by 30 allows users to track their daily water usage with a few simple taps of a finger. Users can select from a menu of common water-using activities, such as brushing teeth, showering or watering lawns, and the app will calculate the approximate number of gallons of water used for each activity. After reaching certain milestones, users will be able to earn one of three badges: the Ripple Creator, the Hydro Hero and the Groundwater Defender. Challenging users to take steps to reduce their overall water usage, the free app keeps track of all activity inputs in a giant droplet-shaped chart on the homepage.

A contest is currently being held through the month of September in conjunction with The Groundwater Foundation’s 30th anniversary. Users are being encouraged to compete with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers and challenge their friends and colleagues to participate in the 30 by 30 competition. Users who have logged their water usage every day in September are eligible to win prizes.

“The challenge of changing the public mindset when it comes to water conservation, has always been the inability to directly relate each consumer’s personal activities to water use. This app goes a long way towards educating consumers about how the choices we make in our daily lives can have a radical impact on their overall water use, and in turn have a ripple effect for the water situation,” says Ze’ev Barylka, Marketing Director for Netafim USA. 

Now in its 30th year, The Groundwater Foundation is a leader in its innovative approaches to educating people and inspiring action to ensure sustainable, clean groundwater for future generations through community-based programs.

“We are excited to be at a point where technology enables us to demonstrate the power each person has when it comes to conserving Earth’s most precious resource,” said Jane Griffin, President of The Groundwater Foundation. “We tend to think that sustainability issues are someone else’s problem to deal with, but the reality is that water conservation is a paramount issue that requires that everyone of us makes changes to our daily lives. This app is a great tool for connecting the dots between daily habits and the preservation of water for future generations.”

Find out more about the 30 by 30 app at http://www.groundwater.org/action/home/30by30.html.


Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference

This year’s conference will be a birthday celebration as the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project turns 10 years old! The conference will take place at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Kearney, NE on September 29–30. The first day will be jam-packed with updates on projects, research, and wildlife happenings that impact Nebraska’s at-risk species and their habitats. The second day, participants will continue to learn about Nebraska’s natural wonders and then explore Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary and sites in the Rainwater Basin to see the inspiring results of long-standing conservation efforts in central Nebraska.

Presenters are dedicated professionals and researchers representing agencies and groups such as:

  • Audubon Nebraska
  • Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Lauritzen Gardens
  • Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas
  • Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
  • Oak Woodland Alliance
  • Quail Forever
  • Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
  • Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
  • Saline Wetlands Conservation Partnership
  • Sandhills Task Force
  • School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • South Dakota State University
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Xerces Society
  • University of Colorado
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Wayne State College

And, Naomi Edelson, Senior Director of State and Federal Wildlife Partnerships with the National Wildlife Federation, will be traveling from Washington D.C. to deliver the keynote presentation.
Thanks to the Nebraska Environmental Trust and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for making this event possible. Happy Birthday Nebraska Natural Legacy Project!

For questions regarding the event, please contact Melissa.Panella@nebraska.gov

For more info, please click on the brochure.


Pibel Lake Renovation

With a goal of improving water quality in the Clear Creek Watershed and to renovate the Pibel Lake Recreation Area, the Lower Loup Natural Resources District is undertaking a $1.3 million project at the Wheeler County site.  The planned improvements, funded in part by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, include a sediment structure to prevent lake sedimentation and to allow cleaner water to enter the lake; deepening the upper end of the lake to increase fish habitat; and installing two breakwater piers to improve lake access for fishermen and other visitors.   The renovations also include two new roofed ADA accessible fishing piers, new landscaping at the picnic area, and improvements to the primary and auxiliary outlets to reduce downstream erosion and control floodwaters.  Dredging work is set to begin in October and the entire project is expected to be completed next year.


41st District State Senator Kate Sullivan presents Lower Loup NRD Board Chairman Gary Kruse of Columbus with a plaque commemorating the groundbreaking for the Pibel Lake Renovation Project in Wheeler County.

Upcoming Events

- September 29, 2015 - Nature Palooza, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

- September 29-30, 2015 - Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Kearney

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

- November 4, 2015 - 4th Quarter Board Meeting


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