Upcoming Events

December 2018

5           National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush- ULNRD Office Closed

13         Board Meeting- ULNRD Office @ 3 pm CT

25         Christmas Day-ULNRD Office Closed


January 2019

1          New Year's Day- ULNRD Office Closed

10        Board Meeting- ULNRD Office @ 3pm CT

15        Hazard Mitigation Meeting- Mullen Village Office @ 6pm MT

16        Hazard Mitigation Meeting- ULNRD Office @ 9am CT

16        Hazard Mitigation Meeting- Logan County Courthouse @ 3pm CT

21        Martin Luther King Jr. Day- ULNRD Office Closed


February 2019

7          Board Meeting- ULNRD Office @ 3pm CT

18        President's Day- ULNRD Office Closed







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.


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.


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.



 The Upper Loup NRD will conduct a public hearing at the office 39252 Hwy. 2, Thedford, NE on June 9th, 2016 beginning at 7:30 pm CT. The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony on revisions to the Erosion and Sediment Control Program of the District which include: definitions for excess erosion, erosion and sediment control plan, additions to non-agricultural land disturbing activities and soil-loss tolerance levels, authority to cause immediate discontinuance of activity which causes damage to neighboring property, eliminated mandate for cost-share for compliance practices, and established new soil-loss tolerance levels.

Copies of the proposed Rules and Regulations are available by contacting or visiting the Upper Loup NRD office in Thedford at (308)645-2250, or here
Erosion and Sediment Control Program - ULNRD - Proposed Rules and Regulations




Domestic Well Owner, Is Your 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, and more.   

The potential for contamination in our area is also increased because of the sandy soil.  The only way you know if nitrates and or bacterial are present in your drinking water is by testing because both 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 December 31, 2015, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) listed 50 domestic wells registered in Grant County.  Domestic wells were not required to be registered with the state prior to September 1993, therefore many 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 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. 

We are starting year 6 in our cycle which means that we will be testing both registered and non-registered domestic wells in Sub District 1 which includes all of Grant County and the southwest third of Cherry County. We are glad to offer this important safety service to you AT NO CHARGE.  If you would like to ensure your well is on our list or would like to be added to the list please contact our office at 308-645-2250 or email Taylor at