A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust

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Dave Heineman, Governor

Board of Trustees

District I
District II
District III

Agency Directors

Trust Staff

October 2012

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director's Corner
  2. Nebraska Continuous No-till Project
  3. Dedication Ceremony Celebrates Completion of Lake Wanahoo
  4. Used Oil Filter Recycling Program
  5. Household Hazardous Waste Collections
  6. Upcoming Events
  7. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on YouTube


Executive Director Corner

The Grants Committee is gearing up to begin the grant review process.  Technical reviews are pouring in and the review of the 109 new applications will take some time.  It is always exciting to read about new projects and see what folks are working on across the state.

It seems like everyone is talking about this winter and next year’s weather.  Will we get very much snow?  Will next year be year two of a multi-year drought?  Will wild fires continue at this year’s record pace?  It seems like not only Nebraska’s weather, but weather around the globe has been very unpredictable lately and extreme weather seems to be the norm and not the exception.

Lottery proceeds continue to be very strong and 2012 looks to be a record year with a couple quarters setting records.  The amount we have to award will still be far less than the funds requested, but it is good to have more demand than funds, insuring great project continue to be funded.

I would like to honor a special lady that passed away recently.  Betty Curtis ran the Grand Island Area Clean Community System facility.  She was one of those local spark plugs that every community needs.  Betty’s heart was always in the right place and she worked very hard to provide recycling and reuse opportunities for not only Grand Island residents, but for surrounding communities.  One of my favorite memories of Betty was riding around Husker Harvest Days a few years ago picking up cardboard, plastic bottles and aluminum cans at the end of the day.  Over three days, she filled three roll-offs.  She was a one woman army and I’ll miss her. 

I said it last month and I’ll repeat it this month, here is to a safe harvest, no more wild fires and some fall precipitation.

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director


Nebraska Continuous No-till Project - submitted by Denise Trine

The Nebraska Continuous No-till Project is closing in on its sixth year of education about the benefits of no-till farming practices.  One of the partners, No-till on the Plains, just completed three “Whirlwind” events in western Nebraska, adding to the four other large field days and three multi-day bus tours.  In the last three years these events have educated over 800 Nebraska residents and the grant has enabled more Nebraska residents to attend the No-till on the Plains large no-till educational event held in Salina, Kansas in January each year.  UNL Extension is also a partner in this educational grant.  Paul Jasa, an Extension engineer, works throughout the state to help educate producers and educators about the equipment and different techniques needed to be successful with no-till, cover crops and water management.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partners with this grant by using staff members to promote the benefits of no-till, help producers get signed up for various beneficial programs offered to help conserve the land with no-till programs.  Dan Gillespie, NRCS No-till Specialist demonstrates the rainfall simulator to various groups throughout the state, most recently to a group attending an art exhibit opening that focused on water and to a group of water quality testing students.  This grant also employs Mark Watson as the Panhandle no-till educator and partners with Ward Labs and the Nebraska Farmer Magazine to spread the information about the benefits of no-till practices. The original goal of the grant to achieve one million acres of no-till farmland has been expanded to include beneficial cover crops and water management.   According to surveys of the attendees of these educational events, the average monetary impact of these farming practices has been estimated at approximately $36 per acre - this translates to a total approximate impact of more than $30 million dollars.


Shell Creek Water Quality testing students watch the rainfall simulator


Dedication Ceremony Celebrates Completion of Lake Wanahoo

Sponsors celebrated the completion of Lake Wanahoo and the Sand Creek Environmental Restoration Project with a dedication ceremony at the lake one mile north of Wahoo on Saturday, September 29.

Approximately 250 guests attended the dedication, which included a pancake breakfast sponsored by Olsson Associates. Speakers included: Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy; U.S. Senator Ben Nelson; U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District Commander Colonel Joel Cross; State Senator Chris Langemeier; Wahoo Mayor Jerry Johnson; Saunders County Supervisor Doris Karloff; Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, Lower Platte North NRD Director Clint Johannes; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Deputy Director Tim McCoy; Nebraska Environmental Trust Executive Director Mark Brohman.


Mark Brohman speaking at Lake Wanahoo dedication

Following the speakers, several special dedications were announced for the recreation area:
The Lake Wanahoo dam was rechristened the Doug Bereuter Dam, honoring the former Nebraska Congressman who was instrumental in getting Federal support in the initial stages of the project. The trail at Lake Wanahoo was named the Ben Nelson Breakwater Trail in honor of Senator Ben Nelson. Senator Nelson played a crucial role in ensuring continued Federal support for the project after Congressman Doug Bereuter left office.

The new Daryl Reitmajer Shower House at Lake Wanahoo was dedicated to former Wahoo mayor and NRD board member Daryl Reitmajer. In his dual roles as mayor and NRD director, Daryl was an important long-term supporter of the Wanahoo project. The Ron Larsen Day Use Area on the west side of Lake Wanahoo (where the dedication ceremony was held) was dedicated to former NRD Director Ron Larsen, a dedicated and knowledgeable champion of the Wanahoo project during his time on the board. The Lake Wanahoo State Recreation Area opened to the public in April this year, capping a nearly 20-year effort to provide flood control, public recreation and environmental restoration in the Sand Creek watershed in Saunders County.

In addition to the 662-acre Lake Wanahoo and surrounding 1,770-acre recreation area, the $32.5 million project encompasses seven smaller upstream dams (five of which are complete, and two that are scheduled for completion in 2013); restoration of wetlands, forested areas and native grasslands; and numerous water quality improvement projects. All told, the effort involved almost a dozen Federal, state and local partners.

More than 320,000 people have visited the Lake Wanahoo State Recreation Area since it opened in April. The recreation area, managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, offers fishing, no-wake boating, tent and RV camping, hiking/biking trails, day use, youth hunting and more.

A common thread running through many of the speakers' remarks at the dedication ceremony was the importance of cooperation in completing the Wanahoo/Sand Creek Project. Over the nearly 20-year history of the project, cooperation between many agencies and individuals was crucial in moving forward. The Lower Platte North NRD extends its thanks to all of the partners in the effort, including: City of Wahoo; Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality; Nebraska Department of Natural Resources; Nebraska Department of Roads; Nebraska Environmental Trust; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Nebraska Natural Resources Commission; Pheasants Forever; Saunders County; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Used Oil Filter Recycling Program

The City of Omaha was awarded funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust to purchase a heavy duty oil filter crusher for large and small filters. This machine was purchased to lessen our waste load by crushing the oil filter to a compact size while at the same time eliminating the amount of oil that can be left behind in dirty filters. Fleet Management is responsible for the repair and maintenance of over 2,600 pieces of equipment and uses over 3,300 oil filters a year.   By crushing oil filters the City of Omaha has been able to recycle used oil filters instead of the previous practice of hot draining the filters and disposing them in the trash.  The City was awarded funding for the purchase of the machine and the City funded the costs associated with the install.


Oil Filter Crusher

Filter crushing began on June 14th 2012 and has already resulted in over 900 oil filters being recycled instead of sent to the landfill.  Another benefit is we have found that with the previous practice of hot draining the oil filters, they still retained an average of four ounces of waste oil. Crushing the filters removes  this oil and to date has resulted in recycling 28 gallons of waste oil.  The City of Omaha wishes to express thanks to the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, this program will continue to benefit the citizen of the State of Nebraska for many years to come. 


Household Hazardous Waste Collections

The Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department and partner agencies recently held several Household Collection events through a grant provided by the Trust. The collection events were free to the community. Collection events were held in Madison and Stanton counties as well as Bancroft School and at the Decatur Recycling Center. Some of the items collected at these events include: paint, pesticides, herbicides, oil, cleaning chemicals, yard chemicals, anti-freeze, fluorescent bulbs and car batteries. Members of the public were encouraged to bring these items so they can be properly disposed of, thus not ending up in landfills or flushed into our water sewer systems, where they may contaminate our water and soil.


Collection in Madison County


Upcoming Events

- November 8, 2012 (Thursday) - Nebraska Environmental Trust 4th Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lincoln.

- December 9, 2012 (Sunday) - Ferguson House Christmas Open House, Lincoln. Time: 1-5pm

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