The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District Board of Directors approved standard variance requests for new irrigated acres at Tuesday night’s meeting.

In September the board voted to allow 295 acre feet of new irrigation development in hydrologically connected areas of the district and 2,500 acres for nonhydrologically connected areas.

A hydrologically connected, or 10/50, area is land where 10% of the water does not reach a river in 50 years.

The board approved 292 acre feet of variances for 10/50 areas. Only one application for variance that met the district’s requirements wasn’t approved. Approving that variance would have allowed more acre feet than the board previously approved.

The directors decided to go over their limit for non-10/50 areas, though.

The district staff recommended approving 2,417.51 acres to stay under the district’s limit.

“If we went farther … it would take us over the 2,500 (acres),” said Brian Bruckner, assistant general manager. “The final decision, again, is the board’s.”

Approving an additional request would put the board at about 42 acres over the original limit.

“I think those overall scores look pretty good in the non-10/50 area,” said board member Joel Hansen. “I guess I lean favorably toward giving a couple extra variances there.”

The other directors agreed.

“I’m fine with that, also,” said board member Roger Gustafson. “We’ve got a lot of excess water in this district; I think we’ve got a very tight belt.”

The directors voted to surpass the initial limit and approve 2,542.15 new irrigated acres for the non-10/50 area and went with the staff’s recommendation for the 10/50 areas, approving 292 acre feet.

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District board of directors met Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at 1508 Square Turn Blvd.

Board members present: Bob Noonan, Roger Gustafson, Mark Hall, Matt Steffen, Jerry Allemann, Gary Loftis, Scott McHenry, Joel Hansen, Anthony Wisnieski, Dennis Schultz, Scott Clausen, Jay Reikofski and Rod Zohner.

Board members absent: Kurt Janke and Chad Korth.

Meeting lasted: 1 hours, 30 minutes.

Others in attendance: NRD staff and members of the public and two media representatives.


— Passed resolution approving early redemption of district's Water Revenue Refunding Bonds Series 2017.

— Passed resolution authorizing issuance of Water Revenue Refunding Bonds Series 2021.

— Approved Hazard Mitigation Plan grant application update.

— Approved community forestry and incentive for public facilities applications.

— Passed final ranking of standard variance requests for new irrigated acres in the Lower Elkhorn hydrologically and nonhydrologically connected areas.

In other news

Eagle Distributing and Anheuser-Busch have provided nearly 5,000 cans of emergency drinking water to the volunteer fire departments in Neligh and Clarkson for their firefighters to consume when responding to wildfires or other emergencies.