Upcoming Events

March 2018

8       Board Meeting- 
                ULNRD Office 3 PM CT

12       Soil Moisture Workshop- 

April 2018

12       Board Meeting- 
                ULNRD Office 3 PM CT

May 2018

28     Memorial Day- Office Closed








Attention Groundwater Irrigator’s in the Upper Loup NRD District. Funds are still available but time to reserve flowmeters is running short…

Flow meters are a valuable tool for providing producers with information about the total amount of irrigation water being applied.With rising input costs and uncertain markets, eliminating guesswork is a top priority for irrigators.  Knowing the exact amount of irrigation water applied to a crop through its growing season can aid the producer in making money-saving management decisions.  Flowmeters accurately record the amount of water pumped from a well or through an irrigation system.  This information can be used to check efficiency, and can save as a watchdog device by detecting well and pump problems.

Data collected from the flowmeters also helps the NRD determine the amount of water being withdrawn from the aquifer across the district and provide information useful to future groundwater modeling efforts.  Due to the increasing demands of water for irrigation it is important that long-term water usage is managed in a sustainable and equitable way. Effective groundwater irrigation management begins with accurate water use measurements. Quantifying the amount of groundwater utilized for irrigation is essential for water and nitrate management. Currently most of the data is manually recorded by farmers which could result in irregular reporting and is subject to human errors.

With help from a Nebraska Environmental Trust Grant, the Upper Loup has cost share dollars devoted to the purchase of flowmeters for producers in our District.  Any legally registered and actively pumping irrigation well that was drilled prior to 2008 and is not associated with new irrigated acres for in years 2013 and 2014 are eligible.  Producers have until April 30, 2014 to install the flowmeter but need to make requests for the meters as soon as possible so that we may properly allocate the funds for the flowmeters.  This is a first come first serve program and only has funding for approximately 30 more meters. The NRD will reimburse you 100% of the actual cost of an impeller driving flowmeter up to $1,700.00.  As a condition of receiving a flowmeter the participating landowner agrees to pay for taxes on the meter,  installation fees  and allow the District access to the monitoring site so that the meter can be read in the fall or at the end of the irrigation season.  If you would like to reserve your meter(s) please call our office at 308-645-2250 or contact us by email at


Work to Update Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan Beginning

Effort Being Led by Upper Loup NRD

Thedford, Nebraska – For every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, $4 in post storm cleanup and rebuilding is saved, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Proactive hazard mitigation planning allows a community to take actions to reduce or eliminate threats from natural disasters. To help guide future hazard mitigation projects, Upper Loup Natural Resource District is undertaking an effort to update the region’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, originally approved by FEMA in August of 2009. Hazard mitigation plans (HMP) are a requirement of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, administered by FEMA, and once a community, county, or district is part of an approved plan they become eligible for up to a 75% cost share for a wide variety of projects listed in the plan. Hazard Mitigation Plans are required to be updated on a five-year cycle and the current Upper Loup Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan will expire August 2014.

A hazard mitigation plan is a publicly-guided document that identifies vulnerability to natural disasters such as flood, drought, earthquake, wildfire, winter storm, tornado/high wind storm, dam failure, etc. The plan establishes goals, outlines specific mitigation options, and prioritizes projects which may reduce or eliminate loss of life and potential damages to property when future disasters occur.

This planning effort is being guided by a Planning Team consisting of representatives from the NRD, counties, and some jurisdiction in the plan area as well as representatives from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Public input will be gathered throughout the duration of the plan development through online tools and public meetings. All communities, public school districts, and other taxing authorities within the NRD are eligible to participate.

The Upper Loup Natural Resource District has hired JEO Consulting Group, Inc. (JEO) to assist with the plan development over the next 12 to 16 months. JEO assisted in completing the district’s current Hazard Mitigation Plan. This hazard mitigation plan update is funded by a FEMA planning grant. The cost is shared 75% through federal funding and 25% through a local match provided by the Upper Loup Natural Resources District.

For more information on this planning effort, contact Anna Baum, Upper Loup NRD General Manager, at 308.645.2250 or by email at


Proposed 2013 Rules and Regulations

The Upper Loup NRD will be conducting a public hearing July 11, 2013 to receive public testimony on a proposed amendment to its Gound Water Area Rules and Regulations. The change is to move up the due date for any "Expansion of Irrigated Acres" application from December 31st of each year to September 30th of each year. You can review a full text copy of the amended Groundwater Rules and Regulations by clicking on the below link or by requesting one from our office.

*UPDATE July 12, 2013: The date change was approved. The link below is the updated Groundwater Rules and Regulations.

2013 Revised Rules and Regulations


ULNRD Receives Grant from Nebraska Environmental Trust

Upper Loup Natural Resources District announced today that it will receive $100,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “Groundwater Irrigation Management Program”. The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its meeting on April 4, 2013 in Lincoln.

Funding is being sought from the Environmental Trust to help provide a portion of the monies needed to offer flowmeters and crop water sensors to irrigators. Having this technology in place will help to increase understanding of groundwater irrigation occurring in the Upper Loup Natural Resources District (ULNRD) as well as help irrigators to conserve water by managing water application practices. This project addresses several of the trust’s priorities in regards to water use. There is limited information available regarding the total amounts of irrigation taking place across the District. Due to the increasing demands of water for irrigation it is important that long-term water usage is managed in a sustainable and equitable way. Effective groundwater irrigation management begins with accurate water use measurements. Quantifying the amount of groundwater utilized for irrigation is essential for water and nitrate management. Currently data is manually recorded by farmers resulting in irregular reporting and is subject to human errors. We are looking at the Trust to help provide funds for the flowmeter portion of this project. The placement of flowmeters on wells, which qualified District personnel will read, will ensure the accuracy of the data collected.

The ULNRD is also involved with the Elkhorn Loup Modeling (ELM) Project, which heavily relies on irrigation pumping figures and having accurate data is absolutely imperative to ensuring the accuracy and replicability of the numerical groundwater model. The ULNRD wants to use the best scientifically-based management practices to deal with current and future groundwater management needs and feels that this project will provide key information when developing groundwater policy.


Domestic well owner is you’re drinking water safe?

A good supply of fresh water is essential to human existence. We use fresh water not only for drinking, but for bathing, growing food, cleaning, watering animals and watering lawns.  In Nebraska about 95 percent of rural residents get their household water supply from private or domestic wells.  If they are not properly protected, these wells are at risk of being contaminated from several sources.  Potential sources of ground water contamination which may be present near your home include septic tanks, animal waste, pesticides, fertilizers, fuel storage tanks, household chemicals, used motor oil, etc.  The potential for contamination in our area is also increased because of the sandy soil. 

The only way to know if nitrates and or bacterial are present in your drinking water is by testing because both contaminants are colorless, odorless, and tasteless.  A water test for nitrate is highly recommended for households with infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers, or elderly people, as these groups are most susceptible to nitrates. Coliform bacteria are microscopic, generally harmless organisms that live in the intestinal tract of many warm blooded animals including humans and are excreted into the environment through feces. Although most coliform bacteria are not directly disease causing, some are often found with other, more dangerous strains of bacteria like E. coli, shigella and salmonella. Some strains of E. coli are known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other serious gastrointestinal problems.

As of October 2012, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) listed over 24,960 domestic wells registered in the state.  Domestic wells were not required to be registered with the state prior to September 1993, therefore thousands of domestic wells exist that are not registered with the NDNR.  Unlike public water supplies, the quality of private water sources in Nebraska is unregulated by federal or state mandate.  Thus, well owners are encouraged to have their well water tested and make sure their well is properly maintained to help protect their health and safety.


The Upper Loup Natural Resources District (ULNRD) has been a part of an important water quality grant the past three years.  The goal of this undertaking was to obtain a good base of information about the nitrate levels within the district as well as develop a long-term comparable data base system that would support sound management and policy decisions.  I am happy to report that we were able to collect, review and log a significant amount of information in regards to any point and nonpoint contamination problems within our district and found there to be no significant findings or events that occurred.  The District’s average nitrate levels were 3.5 ppm in Domestic wells and 3.2 ppm in Irrigation wells, all which are well below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 parts-per-million (ppm).

The potential for water contamination is always present therefore water quality requires long term monitoring.  The Upper Loup NRD recommends that all domestic wells, either registered or unregistered, get tested at least once every five years.  Wells in Sub District 3, which includes all of Thomas County and the south third of Cherry County adjacent to Thomas County, are on schedule to be tested this year. We are glad to offer this important safety service to you AT NO CHARGE.  Samples are most often collected from an outside faucet so there would be no need for you to be present at collection time.  If you would like to have your well tested please contact our office at 308-645-2250 or email our water technician at to be placed on the list.