Nebraska's NRDs To Celebrate 40 Years

Nebraska's NRDs To Celebrate 40 Years

Boundaries for the 23 districts were formed along river basins; key responsibility is managing groundwater use in Nebraska.

The year 2012 marks 40 years of managing natural resources for Nebraska's 23 natural resources districts.

Throughout 2012, the NRDs will be celebrating the success of projects and programs that help protect Nebraska's natural resources, according to Dean Edson, executive director of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.

Nebraska is the only state in the union to have this system of resource districts governed by locally elected boards, Edson says. The districts have multiple responsibilities, but managing groundwater use is the key charge.

State Sen. Maurice Kremer of Aurora introduced and the Nebraska Legislature enacted Legislative Bill 1357 in 1969 to combine Nebraska's 154 special purpose entities into 24 Natural Resources Districts by July 1972. The boundaries of the original 24 NRDs are based on Nebraska's major river basins, which allows for better management practices to be applied to similar topography, according to Edson.

In 1989, the Middle Missouri NRD and the Papio NRD were merged into one, becoming the Papio- Missouri NRD, a move that resulted in the current 23-NRD system.

"For the last 40 years, the 23 NRDs across the state have been addressing natural resources issues and concerns with local solutions," says Ron Bishop, who has been the manager at Central Platte NRD since 1972.    

NRDs were created to solve flood control, soil erosion, irrigation runoff, and groundwater quantity and quality issues. Nebraska's NRDs are involved in a wide variety of projects and programs to conserve and protect the state's natural resources. NRDs are charged under state law with 12 areas of responsibility, including flood control, soil erosion, groundwater management and many others.  

"While all NRDs share the 12 main responsibilities, each district sets its own priorities and develops its own programs to best serve local needs and to protect Nebraska's natural resources for the future generations" says Bishop.

"The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, the trade association for Nebraska's 23 natural resources districts, works with individual NRDs to protect lives, protect property, and protect the future of Nebraska's natural resources," says Edson.

To learn more about Nebraska NRDs visit www.nrdnet.org.
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