Gov. Dave Heineman appointed 18 members to the Riparian Vegetation Management Task Force, which was included in a provision of LB 701, the big water bill signed into law during this year's legislative session.
"I want to thank each of these individuals for their willingness to help find ways to improve river flow in several parts of our state by dealing with invasive plants," Heineman says.
The task is to analyze the costs of removing vegetation along Nebraska river basins, with efforts targeted primarily at the Republican and Platte basins. It also is to analyze various treatment options.
LB 701 calls for three of the seats to be filled by riparian landowners from Nebraska's three congressional districts. Mike Arps of Fremont represents the first district, Rich Tesar of Waterloo represents the second district and Mike Sarchet of Minatare represents the third congressional district.
The task force also consists of representatives of surface water projects along each of the state's fully or over appropriated river basins. Representing the Platte River Basin is Kent Aden of Cozad. Jim Miller of Hardy represents the Republican River Basin and Tom Thompson of Whitney represents the Upper Niobrara River Basin.
These individuals join representatives of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Weed Control Association, and the University of Nebraska, along with representatives from several state agencies and the Legislature.
Representing NARD are Michael Clements of Alma and Ron Bishop of Grand Island, general managers of the Lower Republican and Central Platte NRDs, respectively. Gloria Erickson of Holdrege serves on behalf of the NET, Charles Brooks of Holdrege and Russ Schultz of Lincoln represent the Weed Control Association, and Gary Cunningham, dean of the Agricultural Research Division, represents UNL.
Those representing state agencies include: Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture; Mike Linder, director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality; Ann Bleed, director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources; John Erickson, representing the Office of the Governor; Scott Josiah, representing the Office of the State Forester' and Kirk Nelson of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
LB 701 also provides that interested members of the Legislature may serve on the task force. State Sens. Tom Carlson of Holdrege, Cap Dierks of Ewing, Deb Fisher of Valentine, John Harms of Scottsbluff, and Don Preister of Omaha have expressed an interest in being part of discussions.