A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust

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Dave Heineman, Governor

Board of Trustees

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District II
District III

Agency Directors

Trust Staff


December 2011

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Hummel Park Nature Center and ZNETH II
  3. Carter Lake Restoration and Rehabilitation
  4. Merry Christmas from the Trust Staff!
  5. Upcoming Events
  6. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on YouTube


Executive Director Corner


The holiday season is upon us.  Everyone is busy buying presents, traveling to relatives’ houses and getting ready to make New Year’s resolutions.  We had over 130 visitors at the Ferguson House’s Holiday Open House earlier this month.  It is always fun to share our historic offices with the public.  Anne Ferguson (great-granddaughter of the original Fergusons who built the house) joined us and talked with many of the visitors about her family and their interesting history.

Sheila has been busy getting the Annual Report finished and now it is at the printer.  Kacey is settling in nicely, getting used to the Trust, keeping up with all of the holiday rentals of the house and helping Marilyn.  Marilyn is processing payments to all of the grantees, keeping their quarterly reports organized and double checking their figures.  Lori is keeping the office paperwork in order and making sure our bills are paid.

The Grants Committee is busy ranking applications and preparing for the next board meeting in February.  There have been two legislative meetings concerning LR 332 (permanent wildlife conservation easements).  We will have to wait until January to see if Senator Carlson introduces any legislation as a result of LR 332 or if he amends LB 529 and attempts to get it out of the Natural Resources Committee.  Let’s hope 2012 doesn’t bring as much legislative action involving the Trust as this past session.

The football bowl season is upon us and the Huskers are headed for Orlando and a meeting with South Carolina.  I’m happy we are facing a higher rated opponent, as a win almost guarantees a higher finish in the polls.  The Husker volleyball team seemed to be getting stronger towards the end of the season, but I think too many of the gals might have been dreaming of sand and the next round in Hawaii and not giving the K-State Wildcats enough credit.  Like they always say, “there is always next year”.   

Happy Holiday and have a great 2012!!

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director


Hummel Park Nature Center and ZNETH II by Pat Slaven, City of Omaha



Since 1948, young Omahans have learned about the outdoors through Hummel Park Day Camp, operated by Omaha Parks and Recreation.  Over the years, the structures that served the camp became old and dilapidated, no longer meeting building codes and accessibility guidelines.  It became critical to replace the buildings in order to keep the camp open.

The city designated $1,000,000 of the City’s Capital Improvement Program towards replacing the buildings. The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District contributed $50,000 and with a $350,000 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, it became feasible to construct two new buildings to serve the camp and provide an on-site caretaker’s house.

The new Hummel Park Nature Center is a multi-purpose, four-season building which will be programmed for nature education, recreation and retreat activities.  The building includes a safe room for severe weather protection, a geo-thermal heat pump and natural day lighting.  The landscape features rain gardens. 

The Zero Net Energy Test House II (ZNETH II) caretaker’s house is a successful public private partnership between the City of Omaha and researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Peter Kiewit Institute.  Both contributed in-kind services toward design of the ZNETH II with the goal of providing optimal energy efficiency with little to no additional construction cost.  Energy efficient components include high efficiency doors and windows, R-50 attic insulation, double wall framing, geothermal heat pump and rain barrels. Whole house energy monitoring and control systems will collect data regarding energy use for use in future projects.


Carter Lake Restoration and Rehabilitation by Pat Slaven, City of Omaha


Carter Lake, an oxbow lake located along the Missouri River, is bordered by the cities of Omaha, Nebraska and Carter Lake, Iowa.  Placed on Nebraska’s Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waters for elevated concentrations of nutrients, the lake was no longer a place for recreation and beauty, but a terminate for contaminants in an urban landscape. 

A community based watershed plan was initiated to identify best management practices to improve water quality.  Interested citizens formed the “Carter Lake Environmental Assessment and Rehabilitation Council”.  With in-kind assistance from professionals from several state and local agencies, they developed a plan to address concerns.  Goals were to achieve and maintain water quality for aquatic life, recreation and aesthetic use.
Components of the project include implementing stormwater detention basins, 100 acres of no-wake boating, shoreline restoration, dredging, wetlands, alum treatments to help clear the water, fishery renovation and an education program targeting fertilizers and pet waste. 

This has been a model project in terms of cooperative funding. The project takes place in two cities, two counties, and two states. Matching funds have been secured from the Cities of Omaha and Carter Lake, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.  Collectively, these agencies contributed over $6,000,000 toward the project. The Nebraska Environmental Trust committed $425,000 in funds for a second alum treatment and shoreline stabilization.


Merry Christmas from the Trust Staff!


Wishing all our friends A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Upcoming Events

- January 30 - February 3, 2012 - Nebraska Environmental Trust Display at The Nebraska Wellhead Protection Network Meeting, First Floor Rotunda, State Capitol

- February 2, 2012 (Thursday) - Nebraska Environmental Trust 1st Quarter Board Meeting, 1:30pm, Ferguson House, Lincoln.


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