A Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust



Dave Heineman, Governor


Board of Trustees

District I

Vincent Kramper - Dakota City

Rodney Christen - Steinauer

James Stuart, Jr. - Lincoln



District II

John Campbell - Omaha

Paul Dunn - Omaha

Robert Krohn - Omaha


District III

Sherry Vinton - Whitman

Barbara Batie - Lexington

Gloria Erickson - Holdrege


Agency Directors

Rex Amack, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Gregory Ibach, Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Mike Linder, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

Brian Dunnigan, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources

Dr. Joann Schaefer, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health


Trust Staff

Mark Brohman Executive Director

Lisa Beethe
Grants Administrator

Tina Harris
Grants Assistant

Lori Moore
Administrative Secretary

Sheila Johnson
Public Information Officer


The Nebraska Environmental Trust
700 S 16th Street
P.O. Box 94913
Lincoln, NE 68509-4913

web site:



February 2010


In This Issue:

    1. Executive Director Corner
    2. Preliminary Recommendations Grants List Available on Trust website
    3. Block your dates for the Upcoming Grantee Seminars
    4. Lake Wanahoo Water Quality Project/Sand & Duck Creek Water Quality
    5. Board Member Feature - Sherry Vinton
    6. Upcoming Events


Executive Director Corner

Our 2010 Preliminary Rank Order List was released at our last board meeting on February 4th.  As always, there isn’t enough money to fund all of the great projects submitted.  The grants committee worked very hard to rank the projects and forward their recommendations to the entire board.  The public now has an opportunity to comment on that list.

We are always excited to see the grant proposals and watch how projects develop.  Knowing we are participating in projects that are funded gives the Trust staff and board a personal connection.  Lisa and I anticipate reading the quarterly reports and seeing the progress.

The State’s as well as the Nation’s financial picture is still in question.  The Legislature and many others are awaiting the Nebraska Forecasting Board’s report on February 26.  Let’s hope for some good news on the State’s economy.

We are receiving many complements on our 2009 Annual Report.  If you haven’t received a copy yet and would like a copy, please contact our Public Information Officer at: or (402)471-1714.  It is also available for viewing on our website.

Think Spring!

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director  


Preliminary Recommendations Grants List Available on Trust Website

The board of the Nebraska Environmental Trust recommended the funding of 88 projects for a total of $14,970,328 in grant awards at its board meeting on February 4th. Of these, 32 are carry-over projects. The Trust received a total 142 applications requesting over $54 million compared to $26 million two years ago. This is the 17th year of grants from the Trust, which has provided over $142 million dollars in lottery revenue to preserve and protect the air, water and land of our state. This is the second highest amount requested in the history of the Trust. The highest amount of $58,935,806.20 was requested in 1999.

As part of the grant making process, the Trust is seeking public input on the proposed grants before announcing final awards on April 1, 2010. A list of all recommended grants and project information is available on the Trust website at: or by contacting the Trust office. Written public comments will be accepted until March 31, 2010 at the Nebraska Environmental Trust, P.O. Box 94913, Lincoln NE 68509-4913 or via email at: . Please include your name, address and organizations (if applicable) and be sure to reference the project name and number in your correspondence. Comments can also be presented in person during a public hearing on April 1, 2010. The meeting begins at 1:30 pm with the public hearing starting at 1:45 pm at the Ferguson House, 700 South 16th Street, Lincoln NE.


Block your dates for the upcoming Grantee Seminars (for awarded grantees only)

The Trust will be holding a series of grantee seminars throughout the state for all grantees that will receive Trust funding in 2010. The seminars will be held at the following locations:

  • Lincoln - Tuesday, April 6, 2010, Lincoln Woman's Club
  • Grand Island - Wednesday, April 7, 2010, Central Platte NRD
  • Scottsbluff - Thursday, April 8, 2010, North Platte NRD

Additional details about the seminars will be announced soon. Stay tuned!


Lake Wanahoo Water Quality Project/ Sand & Duck Creek Water Quality

(Article and Photos - Courtesy of the Lower Plate North NRD)


The Lake Wanahoo/Sand Creek Project began in 1990 as an effort to control severe flood problems on Sand and Wahoo Creeks. Efforts to find solutions for the flood problems date back to at least the mid-1960s, and numerous reports and studies since then have confirmed the need for flood control in the area. However, little progress was made until 1993, when Wahoo, Saunders County and the Lower Platte North NRD formed a partnership to begin seriously investigating the possibility of constructing a large reservoir just north of Wahoo.

As the project progressed, it evolved into a broader-based watershed project focused on environmental restoration, with flood control and recreation as added benefits.

Lake Wanahoo Dam which is currently 95% complete is located one mile north of Wahoo, on the west side of Highway 109. The dam is constructed to allow the future Highway 77 bypass, which will skirt the west and north sides of Wahoo to pass over the top of the dam directly west of the re-constructed Highway 92 junction.

The dam creates a 637 surface-acre lake, approximately seven times as large as nearby Czechland Lake near Prague. The lake will be situated on 1,600 acres of land, and will be open to the public for fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, day use and no-wake boating.

Seven smaller dams will be built upstream on Sand and Duck Creeks.  A large wetland at the north end of Lake Wanahoo was constructed in 2008. These measures will help trap sediment and nutrients before they reach the lake, preserving the water quality, creating wetlands and extending the life of the lake. Construction of these components are being accomplished by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with local funding for these projects being provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust and other partners of the Lower Platte North NRD.


Environmental restoration is the primary benefit of the Sand Creek Project. A large wetlands area at the north end of Lake Wanahoo, along with wetland areas around the seven upstream structures, will help mitigate wetland losses that have occurred in the Todd Valley over the years. The project will also create new wildlife habitat, restore native grassland and hardwood forest areas and improve water quality in the watershed.

Flood control is another benefit of the Lake Wanahoo/Sand Creek Project. The project should reduce flood damages in the Wahoo Creek watershed by at least 23 percent and help protect Wahoo, Ithaca, Ashland and surrounding rural areas. Estimated annual savings from this flood protection are approximately $250,000.

Recreation is also a benefit of Lake Wanahoo. The lake will help meet some of the steadily-growing demand for outdoor recreation in eastern Nebraska. To maximize the lake's recreational benefits, the project partners plan to work closely with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Numerous habitat structures and shoreline protection features have been incorporated into the lake to provide a high-quality fishery. A wildlife management area is planned for the north portion of the lake area, which will be open for youth mentor upland game and waterfowl hunting. Elsewhere, there will be sites for both RV and primitive camping, and a day use area will be developed with picnic shelters, hiking/biking trails and more.

Work began on fishery structures in summer 2004. Construction on the wetlands phase of the Lake Wanahoo site (north of the lake) was completed in fall 2008. Work on a breakwater structure and the Lake Wanahoo dam embankment began in fall 2008. Construction of the dam was approximately 95% complete at the end of 2009, with work expected to be finished in spring 2010. Other components of the project, including the seven upstream dams and the Lake Wanahoo recreation facilities, will be completed in 2010-2011, with a 2012 Grand Opening planned for the Lake Wanahoo Recreation Area.


Board Member Feature - Sherry Vinton


Sherry Vinton

After studying accounting at UNL, Sherry returned to the Sandhills ranch owned and operated by her husband’s family for five generations. Sherry is an active partner in the current ranching enterprise along with her husband, Chris.  Two adult children and their families have now joined the operation to continue the ranching tradition.  One daughter at home attends Arthur County High School.

Currently, she serves on the Grant County planning commission, as treasurer and a mentor for the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and is a state director for Nebraska Farm Bureau.  She has also served on advisory committees for Gudmundsen Sandhills Research Lab and Farm Credit Services.  As a member of St. Mary’s parish she enjoyed teaching CCD for 12 years.

Combining environmental, agricultural and land use planning interests, Sherry is an advocate for private property rights information and education.  She has been a featured speaker at national conferences held in Salt Lake City, Bismarck, Omaha and Rapid City.  Chris and Sherry are members of Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen and Stewards of the Range.

Upcoming Events:

  • March 3-4, 2010 - Governor's AG Conference, Holiday Inn, Kearney
  • March 18-20, 2010 - 40th Annual Rivers and Wildlife Conference, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Kearney
  • April 1, 2010 - 2nd Quarter Nebraska Environmental Trust Board Meeting
  • April 6, 2010 - NET Grantee Seminar, Lincoln
  • April 7, 2010 - NET Grantee Seminar, Grand Island
  • April 8, 2010 - NET Grantee Seminar, Scottsbluff
  • April 17, 2010 - Earth Day Omaha, Elmwood Park, Omaha
  • April 24, 2010 - Earth Day Lincoln - Antelope Park, Lincoln
  • May 11, 2010 - Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival, Central Community College and College Park, Grand Island
  • May 15, 2010 - Nebraska Outdoor Expo, Fort Kearny State Recreation Area

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