NRD approves variance for McCook

Friday, August 16, 2002

Curtis -- Middle Republican Natural Resources District directors approved a variance request from the city of McCook to drill four test holes for water wells in the McCook area.

Variance requests from landowners Steve Seeman, Doug McDermott, Bruce McDermott, Bruce Kramer, Ilah Rice, Doug Sellers, Ryan Kuhlman, William Green, Don and Bruce Hagan, Les Wood, the NE BELF and James Uerling were denied.

Nearly 30 people attended the public hearing Tuesday night. Preceding the public hearing in executive session, Nebraska Assistant Attorney General Dave Cooksen brought MRNRD directors and staff up to date on recent developments in the Kansas vs. Nebraska lawsuit. Directors also heard from District Attorney Jon Schroeder.

In regular business, directors discussed and accepted the NRD's proposed Fiscal Year 2002-2003 budget. The property tax requirement will be $440,325 compared with $426,499 for FY2001-2002. Most district programs will remain unchanged but increases will be seen in the NRD's legal and personnel expenses.

The total proposed budget for the district is $1,143,700. Directors set Sept. 10, 2002 for a budget hearing date. NRCS District Conservationist Dave Griffith reported that $496,000 in EQIP funds has been allocated within the Middle Republican NRD. During the June EQIP signup 192 applications were received in the district for nearly $3 million.

"$2 million in drought assistance through EQIP is also available to residents in Frontier, Hayes, Hitchcock and Red Willow Counties," Griffith said. The sign-up will continue at county NRCS offices through August 16.

Medicine Valley High School Envirothon team members Glenn Melvin and Alison Griffith along with their advisor Katy Knutson briefed the board on their recent trip to the Canon National Envirothon in Amherst, Massachusetts. The group received the Dale Watermeier Extra-Mile Award. The MRNRD was a contributing sponsor for the team. The directors congratulated the students on their great work.

Cheryl Griffith, Information and Education Coordinator informed the board that it was recently discovered by Jon Wilson, District Forester, that the first shelterbelt planting under the Prairie States Forestry Program was actually planted in McCook on April 3, 1935. The earliest shelterbelt planting was previously believed to have been in Antelope County on April 23, 1935.

Wilson will be contacting property owners and the MRNRD will look into erecting a sign to recognize this fact.

General Manager Dan Smith said that the district staff would be working with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources collecting data information on 80-100 dams in the NRD. The NRD will also be involved in the Trenton North Lake Project with the Department of Environmental Quality.

Bob Merrigan, Assistant Manager, circulated results of water samples to directors. These samples were tested for nitrates. WILD Nebraska applications were also approved for Roland Miller. Discussion was held on the status of the flow-meter program. It is still unclear exactly what the district will have available for cost-share funds.

Smith reported that repairs were made to the alley behind the MRNRD office in Curtis for $3,200. Bids will be accepted to replace an air conditioner in the office. Approval was also given for upgrades to the district accounting software.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2002 at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds Meeting Room beginning at 8 p.m. with a budget hearing.

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