A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust
Dave Heineman, Governor
Board of Trustees
In This Issue:
Executive Director Corner
The legislature is in full swing and all of the new 468 bills have joined the 704 from last year. Hearings are underway and floor debate has begun. It is the short session (60 days) and it is scheduled to end on April 12. The Trust is directly involved in only two of the new bills. LB 777 would give the Trust all money received by the Nebraska Attorney General’s office as a result of awards, judgments, and out-of-court settlements relating to enforcement of violations of the Environmental Protection Act. LB 857 would take any money returned to the Trust from Real Estate that is sold and transfer those returning funds to the Water Resources Cash Fund.
The Grants Committee has been busy ranking grants and the committee’s recommended rank order list will be presented to the full board on February 2. Unfortunately there is never enough money to fund all of the great grants we receive.
I hope you are enjoying 2012.
Mark A. Brohman
Eastern Republican Riparian Improvement by the Twin Valley Weed Management Area (by Merle Illian)
For a quick summary, the project area consists of 142-mile stretch of the Republican River from the Cambridge diversion eastward to the Nebraska-Kansas state line just south of Hardy. There are a total of 280 different landowners that own property adjacent to the river bank.
Primary focus of project is to 1) remove debris and logjams from the river channel that impedes river flow and 2) reduce invasive vegetation that is consuming moisture. The intent is to try and avoid lawsuit by Kansas for not delivering their quota of water across the state line.
Because of the magnitude and complexity of the project, it requires numerous partners and matching funds. Partners included: Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lower Republican NRD, Trailblazer RC&D, National Turkey Federation, Corp of Engineers - Harlan County, County Boards within the TVWMA, Extension Service and landowners along the river. Total matchinng funds in cash and in-kind received thus far is $314,266.
The success of this project is basically due to landowners involvement and when landowners get involved and voice their opinion, all other entities: i.e. federal, state and local government wants to be involved and be a part of the solution. They have also had excellent visibility with positive featured news articles from local and regional news media.
The Republican Valley has a lot at stake from an economic point of view, which is also the reason for the numerous partners involved. If this lawsuit by Kansas is heard and approved, it would require irrigation along the valley to shut down their wells for extended periods of time. All interested partners feel it is imperative to get involved.
Public Information and Education Mini-grants Update for 2011
The Nebraska Academy of Sciences has now administered the Public Information and Education mini-grants ten full quarters for the Nebraska Environmental Trust, nine funded quarters. During 2011 a total of 20 applications (in three quarters) requesting $54,992 were received and 11 grants were awarded totaling $28,412. Grant recipients were well represented from all across the state and from numerous entities including schools, environmental non-profit groups, city and county administrations, as well as NRDs, Extension, and 4-H groups and individuals. A review committee of four-five people evaluated all the applications and rated them according to criteria provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET). The reviewers have a broad variety of backgrounds and expertise and are from various areas in the state.
The variety of applications this first year was amazing. Grant requests were received for publicity for special meetings and conferences, nature education projects in schools, festivals, wildlife projects, recycling projects, habitat preservation and education and small research projects.
Grant recipients have one year to turn in their final report from the date their grant was awarded. The Academy has received eleven final reports this year.
The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo received a grant to develop butterfly workshops across the state. Numerous partners were brought on board and during the workshops 134 science educators, 103 students and family members participated. The science educators in turn were able to reach 3350 students with butterfly conservation information. Friends of Heron Haven received a grant to support a wetland festival. The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society conducted a Healthy Farms conference. Eemphasis in 2011 was on conservation practices as well as an outreach to youth.
NET funds also supported the 2011 Veg Fest. The 2011 event showcased non-profit and private organizations promoting and educating in the areas of environmental stewardship, re-use and re-cycle, and reduce.
For more information on the Public Information and Education Minigrants, contact: Nebraska Academy of Sciences, 302 Morrill Hall, 14th and U Street, Lincoln NE 68588-0339 or call 402-472-2644.
17th Annual Informational Seminar by the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture will host its 17th Annual Informational Seminar on Wednesday, February 8, at the Hastings Hotel and Convention Center, 2205 Osborne Drive East, in Hastings, Nebraska. The one-day seminar, which begins at 9:15 am, is an opportunity for landowners, agriculture producers, natural resource professionals, and other interested individuals to share ideas and learn about conservation issues, research, and habitat programs in south-central Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin region.
The seminar is open to the general public. Agenda details will be available at www.rwbjv.org after January 16. To register, please send an e-mail by January 31, to email@example.com; include name, organization, and mailing address. Or phone 402-463-6771 ext. 112. A $25 registration fee, payable at the door, covers all sessions, snacks, and a buffet lunch. Landowners and agriculture producers in the Rainwater Basin are invited to register free of charge. The Informational Seminar is funded in part by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
Upcoming Events for the Year
- 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.
- February 8, 2012 - 17th Rainwater Basin Informational Seminar, Hastings Hotel and Convention Center
- February 15-16, 2012 - Governor's Ag Conference, Holiday Inn, Kearney.
- March 15-18, 2012 - 42nd Rivers and Wilidlife Conference, TBA.
- April 5, 2012 (Thursday) - Nebraska Environmental Trust 2nd Ouarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lincoln.
- May 8, 2012 (Tuesday) - The Annual Children's Groundwater Festival, Grand Island.
-July 19-20, 2012 (Thursday/Friday) - Nebraska Environmental Trust 3rd Quarter Board Meeting, Ft. Robinson's State Park.
- September 4, 2012 (Tuesday) - General and Recognition Grant Application Deadline
- November 8, 2012 (Tuesday) - Nebraska Environmental Trust 4th Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lincoln.