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

July 2010

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Pit Fill Project Sends More Water to the Wetlands
  3. Five 2nd Quarter Public Information and Education MiniGrants Awarded
  4. Staff Member Feature - Lisa Beethe, Grants Administrator
  5. Upcoming Events


Executive Director Corner

Where has the summer gone?  Before you know it will be State Fair time, school will be back is session, the September 7th grant deadline will be here, followed by Husker Harvest Days.  I know some of you are counting the days before the Huskers enter their last football season as part of the Big 12 before the dawn of a new era in the Big 10.

The Nebraska Lottery is selecting the company that will operate the Nebraska Lottery for the next six years with the option of four one year extensions.  I was selected to be on the interview team and it has been a real learning experience.  There were two vendors that responded to the request for proposal (RFP) and each submitted several thousand pages of material in response to the RFP.  The scoring sheet or should I say book, contains 23,250 points.  I’m used to dealing with 100 or 200 point scoring sheets. The selected company will take over July 2011.   

The Trust Board will be holding its 3rd quarter meeting at the E.K. and Mary Yanney Heritage Park just west of Kearney on July 29th and 30th.  The Board will take time to take a look at a few projects the Trust has funded while in the Kearney area.

Don’t wait till the last minute to get your grant application in this year.  Remember, the deadline is September 7, 2010.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!  

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director


Pit Fill Project Sends More Water to the Wetlands

(Submitted by Doreen Pfost, RWBJV)

A Rainwater Basin wetland and neighboring farmers will soon see benefits from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund’s grant to Friends of the Rainwater Basin for “Hydrologic Restoration of Rainwater Basin Wetlands.” The grant provides funds to fill obsolete irrigation re-use pits, thus restoring watersheds of selected Rainwater Basin wetlands.

Over 10,000 irrigation pits dot the Rainwater Basin landscape; more than 800 are in watersheds of State Wildlife Management Areas and federal Waterfowl Production Areas. The pits, generally on privately-owned farmland, intercept rainwater and snowmelt that under natural conditions would flow to the wetland. As a result, most public Rainwater Basin wetlands contain less water each spring – and provide less habitat – than they ideally could.

The good news is that center-pivot irrigation makes a re-use pit...useless.  Filling unneeded pits increases farmable land in addition to improving the nearby wetland. But the expense of earthwork to fill a pit generally outweighs the economic benefit to a farm operation. The NET grant helps offset that cost.


Although filling a pit provides more arable crop land, the high cost of earthwork deters farmers unless financial assistance is available.

Clark Waterfowl Production Area WPA in Kearney County is this grant’s first success story. Five neighboring landowners have agreed to fill a total of nine irrigation pits on their land, achieving an almost-complete watershed restoration. Water that once filled these pits will flow instead to Clark WPA, which provides migration habitat to ducks and geese and has also received visits from trumpeter swans, whooping cranes and sandhill cranes.

Project partners include Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

USFWS wildlife biologist Laurel Badura, who worked with landowners to secure agreements, says, “Weather permitting, the work will be done this year.” And migrating birds should find a larger wetland next spring.


Five 2nd Quarter Public Information and Education MiniGrants Awarded

The Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Inc. received 11 applications totaling $31,103 for the second quarter 2010 Public Information and Education Minigrants funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.  Grant applications were submitted by:  Keep Omaha Beautiful, Inc. – Storm Drain Cleaning and Education; Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo – Amphibian Conservation Education Student Workshops; Nemaha Natural Resources District – Watershed of Wonders Youth Day Camp; University of Nebraska at Omaha – UNO Nature Preserve Educational Materials; Garden County Schools – Greenhouse Growing and Learning; Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Interpretive Visitor Center – SISB Natural Wonders Kiosk; Children and Nature in Our Parks/NGP – High Plains Science Adventures; Burt County Extension/UNL – Pedaling for Power; Friends of Extension & 4-H Douglas &  Sarpy County – Environmental Literacy: Platte River System; Omaha by Design – Environment Omaha: “What can you do?” Campaign Expansion; Grand Island Area Clean Community Systems – Recycling/Waste Reduction at Husker Harvest Days and State Fair.

Five of the 11 grant applications were approved for funding at the June 4th, 2010 Nebraska Academy of Sciences Executive Committee meeting.  The selections were forwarded to the Nebraska Environmental Trust for final approval and contracts were sent out June 11th.  Second quarter recipients are: Keep Omaha Beautiful, Inc., Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, Garden County Schools, Children and Nature in Our Parks/NGP and Grand Island Area Clean Community Systems.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust Public Information and Education MiniGrant Program awards MiniGrants of up to $3,000 each, to support the presentation and dissemination of information and perspectives that will stimulate enhanced environmental stewardship in any category eligible for Nebraska Environmental Trust funding.  These categories are habitat, surface and ground water, waste management, air quality and soil management.  The grant expands dialogue on important current conservation topics and provides information on emerging or highly useful conservation methods.  All Nebraska individuals, private organizations and public entities are eligible to apply for these funds.  Fourth quarter applications are due October 8th, 2010.  Grant forms and information can be found at the website, www.neacadsci.org.  Click on Information and then click on PIE Grants. 


Staff Member Feature - Lisa Beethe, Grants Administrator


Lisa Beethe is the Grants Administrator of the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Lisa started at the Trust in January 1999 as an Administrative Assistant to handle bookkeeping and board support duties. She previously worked in the mortgage loan business, insurance and personal banking. Her responsibilities with the Trust grew quickly into full assistance to applicants and grantees. Lisa's position was upgraded to Grants Administrator in 2001. She works with applicants from start to finish on their projects, including application review with the Trust Board, grant contracts , processing grant payments and reports and site visits. She is also a board member and current Vice-Chair of the Nemaha NRD and has been serving the board for 4 years.

Originally from Pawnee City, she now lives near Elk Creek with her husband, Harlan and two kids, Brent (14) and Haley (9). She enjoys attending the kids' activities and playing in the bell choir at church. She is also active in the Elk Creek Community Club and is a co-leader of a Girl Scout troop in the Tecumseh area. She says, "I really enjoy working with the public and meeting people all over the state who are implementing great projects to benefit natural resources." Lisa has served her entire 11.5 years with the State through her services with the Trust.

Upcoming Events    

-July 29-30, 2010 - NET 3rd Quarter Board Meeting, Kearney

-August 27-September 6, 2010 - Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island

-September 7, 2010 - 2011 Grants Deadline

-September 14-16, 2010 - Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island

-September 18-19, 2010 - Missouri River Outdoor Expo, Ponca

-September 19, 2010 - World O! Water Festival, Omaha


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