Lower Elkhorn NRD board approves groundwater management area changes

August 27, 2018

NORFOLK - The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District Board of Directors approved changes to the groundwater management area in Pierce and northern Madison Counties in an effort to keep the nitrate levels from increasing.

During Thursday’s meeting, board members discussed the proposed changes as well as public comment collected during a public hearing in July.

Some residents in attendance expressed concerns wondering if this is an issue that needs to be addressed right now.

Board member Robert Huntley said this is a “right now” issue.

“I assume that everyone has read this paper that was put out by the NRD, and it says since the early 80′s we’ve had 175% increase in nitrogen concentration. It also says the City of Osmond is under administrative order for high nitrates and that Plainview has recently been issued a nitrate violation from the DHHS (Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services)” Huntley said.

“If it keeps going up at that rate - this is where I keep saying we’ve got to educate these people. These are things that are quite serious” Huntley added.

Board member Chad Korth said maybe some rules need to be applied to residents in the towns as well as education on how they apply their fertilizer.

“I don’t like hearing that it’s the big bad farmer. I think the urban people have a horse in the race here, and they need to play a part in this also...not just agriculture” Korth said.

The board voted to approve the changes by a vote of 9 to 4 with board members Jerry Allemann, Roger Gustafson, Chad Korth, and Mark Hall voting against.

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