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Upcoming Events

November 2017

9       Board Meeting- 
                ULNRD Office 7 PM CT

10     Office Closed- 
                Verteran's Day

23-24     Office Closed- 
                Thanksgiving

December 2017

14       Board Meeting- 
                ULNRD Office 3 PM CT

25-26     Office Closed- 
                Christmas

 

 

 

 


Thursday
Nov032016

Fall is the Time to start Tree Planning

   Trees provide important benefits such as protecting homes and livestock from wind and snow, helping to reduce heating and cooling costs, preventing soil erosion, and providing wildlife habitat. The Upper Loup NRD offers tree program services including: planning, planting, weed barrier installation or weed control, and drop irrigation.

   Fall is a good time to think about tree planning. The ULNRD provides a 65% cost share along with free tree planning services. Trees and shrubs (excluding small acreage package), planting, weed mulch, and drip irrigation systems are all eligible for the cost share program. For more information about these services or to make an appointment for your tree plan, contact Shane at 308-645-2250.

Tuesday
Oct182016

Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) 2016 Annual Conference Has Increased Attendance Educating Public About Water and Soil Conservation

(Kearney, NE) – The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Annual Conference was held at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, September 26th – 27th and focused on protecting the future of Nebraska’s natural resources.  This year more than 400 Natural Resources Districts (NRD) managers, staff, board members, conservation partners and the public received new information on many natural resources and agriculture developments and projects going on now.

“I’m thrilled Nebraskans see the value in the Natural Resources Districts (NRD) Annual Conference and I’m proud to announce this is one of our biggest crowds yet,” said Jim Bendfeldt, President of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.  “The Annual Conference continues to put a spotlight on new studies, ideas, programs and technology to continue improving our natural resources conservation efforts to protect lives, protect property and protect the future for generations to come.”

Participants had a variety of educational break-out sessions to choose from.  Sessions targeted the Emerald Ash Borer threat, Telemetry projects that measure available groundwater resources, the use of drones for water and natural resources management, developing effective drought management practices, flood control projects and much more. Other events included recognition of Hall of Fame inductees, conservation award winners, Master Conservationist’s awards and a speech by Governor Pete Ricketts.

The NARD Foundation which provides financial assistance to youth programs in natural resources and agriculture, raised more than $24,000 this year during its live and silent auctions, golf and shootout fundrasers! These funds will assist in supporting more than ten different educational programs in Nebraska to encourage kids to learn more about our natural resources and consider a career in natural resources.

During the Hall of Fame ceremony, three individuals were inducted into the Natural Resources Hall of Fame. They include James Irwin, former longtime Board member of the Upper Niobrara White NRD, Glenn Johnson, recently retired General Manager of the Lower Platte South NRD in Lincoln and Dayle Williamson, retired Director of Nebraska’s Soil and Water Conservation Agency who was key in implementing law that created the Natural Resources Districts in 1972. 

“The Inductees of the Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame are people who’ve changed Nebraskans’ lives for the better by helping shape how this state conserves our natural resources,” said Bendfeldt. 

Hall of Fame inductee categories include: Natural Resources District Board Member, Natural Resources District Employee and NRD Supporter which includes individuals outside the NRD system. 

  • Hall of Fame inductee, James Irwin, was nominated for the NRD Board member category by the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District. He was an elected Director of the UNWNRD for almost five decades from 1972-2013. Irwin has helped educate landowners about the nature of water use and water ownership in Nebraska and supports the chemigation program. He’s also developed the Irwin No-Till Demonstration site on the North edge of Alliance to help local producers and partners adapt to more progressive agricultural practices.
  • Hall of Fame inductee, Glenn Johnson, was co-nominated for the Hall of Fame NRD Staff category by Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and Lower Platte South Natural Resources District. Johnson grew up on a no-till farm near Wakefield, Nebraska. Johnson retired this year as LPSNRD General Manager after 44 years of service. Johnson’s accomplishments include the Weeping Water and Stevens Creek watershed projects, the Antelope Valley Project, and the voluntary Integrated Management Plan. He’s credited with lead roles in forging the Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance, the Saline Wetlands Conservation Partnership, Authority and the NRD/City of Lincoln Stormwater partnership.
  • Hall of Fame inductee, Dayle E. Williamson, was nominated for the Hall of Fame category, Individual Outside the NRD System by Little Blue Natural Resources District. Williamson was born and raised on a family farm near Ohiowa, Nebraska. He served in the U.S. Army, and was a member of theNebraska National Guard for 30 years. As a leader of the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, he worked diligently with the State legislature to form Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts. Williamson was Director for the Commission until 2000 when he retired. He continued to assist in forming the Department of Natural Resources. In total, Williamson served Nebraska’s natural resources agencies for 42 years. In 2001, he was appointed by U.S. Senator Ben Nelson as the Nebraska Agricultural Representative, working diligently on agriculture and military issues, a position he retained until 2013.

 

Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Conservation award winners include:

·         Tree Planter of the Year: Robert Price Family, Burwell, NE - nominated by Lower Loup NRD
·         Grassland Conservationist: Lemoyne Dailey, Thedford, NE – nominated by Upper Loup NRD
·         Community Conservation: Mullen Public Schools, Mullen, NE – nominated by Upper Loup NRD
·         NRD Director of the Year: Richard Hadenfeldt, Dannebrog, NE - nominated by Lower Loup NRD
·         Educator of the Year: Ken Malone, Palmyra High School – nominated by Nemaha NRD

Omaha World-Herald and IANR Master Conservationist Award Winners include:

  • Agriculture – Ken Seim Family of Chapman, Nebraska
  • Community Winner – City of LaVista, John Kottmann, Joe Soucie, Rocky Henkel, and Brian Lukasiewicz

 

Monday
Aug292016

Are noxious weeds a problem for you? Let Upper Loup NRD help.

The legal description of a noxious weed is any plant designated by a Federal, State or county government as injurious to public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife or property.  More commonly they are defined as a plant that grows out of place and is competitive, persistent, and pernicious.

Regardless of which weed you are trying to manage it’s important to continue yearly management as skipping a year can cause the noxious weed to re-infest rapidly.  Persistence is the key to any successful weed control program.

In Nebraska you are legally required to control noxious weeds on your property.  The common noxious weeds on the Nebraska State list include: plumeless thistle, musk thistle, diffuse knapweed, spotted knapweed, Canada thistle, leafy spurge, purple loosestrife and saltcedar.  Fortunately, not all of these weeds are found in our District.  To help with the battle those found in our area (leafy spurge, Canada thistle, musk thistle) the Upper Loup Natural Resources District provides cost share funds for BOTH fall and spring treatment to landowners in the NRD area.  Funds are available to cover 45% of the cost of approved chemicals up to $400 per landowner. 

Not sure if you have noxious weeds on your property?  Read on to learn more about them.

  Leafy spurge is an invasive, herbaceous perennial weed that infests more than five million acres of land in 35 states and the prairie provinces of Canada.  In Nebraska alone the direct loss in forage value attributed to leafy spurge has been estimated at more than 2 million dollars. It causes significant problems by invading grazing lands for cattle and horses, reducing rangeland productivity and cattle carrying capacity by 50-75 percent, decreasing plant diversity, degrading wildlife habitat, displacing sensitive species and drastically reducing land values.

Leafy spurge is an erect plant that grows 1 to 3 feet tall. Leaves are bluish-green with smooth margins, 0.25 inch to 0.5-inch-wide, and 1 inch to 4 inches long. Shoot emergence begins in early March in Nebraska and increases until early summer.  Umbel flowers are surrounded by heart-shaped, showy, yellow-green bracts. An umbel looks like the stays of an umbrella if it is held upside down. Flowers occur in many clusters toward the top of the plant and are most conspicuous from mid-May to mid-June. Seeds are round to oblong, about 1/12 inch long, gray or mottled brown with a dark line on one side.  Seeds are dispersed by birds, wildlife, humans, and in rivers and streams.  Leafy spurge contains white milky latex in all plant parts.  This latex is poisonous to some animals and can cause blistering and irritation on skin.  The digestive tract is similarly affected when this plant is eaten by humans and some animals. In cattle it causes scours and weakness; when ingested in larger amounts it can cause death. Cattle usually refuse to eat leafy spurge unless it is given to them in dry, weedy hay or when better forage is not available.

  Canada Thistle is another weed that poses a threat to the economic, social and aesthetic well-being of Nebraska residents.  It is probably the most widespread of all thistle species and in Nebraska is estimated to infest 375,000 acres and causes over 3 million dollars in lost production each year.  Canada thistle differs from musk thistle in that it is an aggressive weed in tilled cropland, range, pasture, and non-cropland areas.  The other thistles are not considered problem weeds in tilled cropland. Canada thistle also harbors insects and is an alternative host for some diseases. It can release toxic substances into the soil from both live and decay­ing plants, inhibiting the growth of some plants.

Canada thistle is a member of the sunflower family. It is a perennial that reproduces from seed and by extensive horizontal roots from which arise aerial shoots. Once it becomes established, plants can live and reproduce for many years.  Horizontal roots spread rapidly and in a single season may grow 9 to 18 feet laterally and 6 to 9 feet deep. Tillage through these patches can cut roots; however, root segments as small as 1 inch can survive and produce new plants, spreading the original infestation.

In the seedling stage, Canada thistle cotyledons are oblong and fleshy. The first true leaves are obovate and do not have a petiole (stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the stem). Leaf margins have regularly spaced, coarse, marginal hairs that resemble the spines of later-developing leaves. Canada thistle usually grows to 2 to 3 feet tall with alternate, dark green leaves that vary in length from 2 to 7 inches and in width from 0.5 to 2.5 inches. Leaves are oblong or lanceolate, usually with crinkled edges and spiny-toothed margins. The under­side of leaves may be hairy or hairless when mature. Stems are erect, branching, grooved, and without hair above and below. Flowering heads form in clusters on the ends of branches. Heads are about 0.5 inch in diameter and flow­ers are usually pink to purple but may be white. Seeds or achenes are smooth, light brown to straw colored, and 0.1 to 0.2 inches long.  Seeds are dispersed by wind (up to half a mile), irrigation water, humans (contaminant in crop seed or hay), and in rivers and streams.  Seeds may germinate once they have left the seed head or they may remain dormant in the soil for up to 20 years.

  Musk Thistle can invade all lands in Nebraska.  Typical cropland weed control methods are very effective against them; however, land with permanent cover such as pasture, range, and roadway ditches that is not managed to prevent bare ground is more likely to develop a serious infestation.  In pasture and rangelands thistles compete for the mois­ture, sunlight, and nutrients needed to produce forage for livestock. Musk thistle is not a poisonous plant; however, livestock will refuse to enter heavily infested areas and will not graze close to the spiny plantsOn roadways and wastelands musk thistle does not provide sufficient protection against soil erosion, crowds out desir­able vegetation, is unsightly, hinders movement of people and wildlife, and produces seed that infests surrounding areas.

Although classified as a biennial plant musk thistle can behave as an annual or a winter annual depending on the growing conditions. Musk thistle seedlings can emerge anytime during the growing sea­son. Leaves of both rosettes and bolted plants are deeply cut (segmented) and dark green with a light green midrib. There is a grayish-green area at the outer edge of each spine-tipped leaf segment. Each lobe has three to five points that end in a white or yellowish spine. The leaves extend onto the stem, giving it a winged or frilled appearance The leaves and stem are relatively free of hair. Seedlings emerge with two cotyledon leaves, then add other leaves one leaf at a time to develop into a rosette that can reach over 2 feet in diam­eter. Mature plant heights are typically 5 to 7 feet with a long, fleshy taproot.  Musk thistle has deep reddish purple flowers that are large (up to 3 inches in diameter) and attractive. The head is sol­itary on the end of the stem and nods or hangs down as it grows in size.  Seeds are dispersed by wind, small mammals, birds, and water and may be viable in the soil more than 10 years.

Monday
Jul112016

Seventh Year of ACE Camp, Yet Another Success

     This year marked the seventh annual Adventure Camp about the Environment (ACE). The camp was held from Sunday, June 12th through Wednesday, June 15th at the 4-H Camp in Halsey. A total of 41 campers traveled from all over the state to attend camp, with 13 of them returning for a second or even a third year! This year, 12 NRD’s across the state were represented, including two for the first time: Lower Elkhorn NRD and Upper Elkhorn NRD.
     The campers had the opportunity to learn through hands-on activities about Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts, energy, wetlands, water quality, forestry, soils, range, wildlife, fishing, GPS, and careers in natural resources. Activities included building and testing solar cars, searching for aquatic creatures in the Middle Loup River, painting with soils, and finding geocaches with a GPS. Some of the presenters came from NRD’s close by, while others came from all over the state to help teach the campers, including employees from USDA-Natural Resouces Conservation Services, Pheasants Forever, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
      Many sponsors continue to help make ACE Camp successful from year to year. The main sponsors every year are Nebraska's NRDs and the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Foundation. Other sponsors that help make camp successful are the Nebraska National Forest, Nebraska State 4-H Camp, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and the Hooker County Turner Youth Initiative.

Tuesday
Jun212016

Important Information about Irrigated Acres

Upon evaluation of the District's static water levels, stream depletion information and the Department of Natural Resources INSIGHT data, the Upper Loup NRD's Board of Directors has decided to NOT allow any new irrigated acres anywhere within the District for 2017.