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Lower Platte North NRD

Image of Lower Platte North NRD coverage area


Office Information

Name Address Phone Numbers
Mark Walkenhorst
District Conservationist
611 Commercial Park Road, Suite 1
Wahoo, NE 68066-9716
Phone: (402) 443-4106 ext. 3
Fax: (402) 443-3005






  • Resource Needs and Concerns

  • The Lower Platte North covers 5 counties in East Central Nebraska including Platte, Colfax, Dodge, Butler, and Saunders. The district includes parts of the following five Natural Resource Districts:

    1. Lower Platte North
    2. Lower Platte South
    3. Lower Elkhorn
    4. Lower Loup
    5. Central Platte

    The population of the district is approximately 90,000, divided almost equally between rural and urban residents. The largest communities in the district are:

    • Columbus
    • Fremont
    • Wahoo
    • Schuyler
    • David City
    • North Bend
    • Valparaiso
    • Ceresco
    • Ashland

    The land use in the district is divided as follows:

    • Dry Cropland, 1,200,000 acres
    • Irrigated Cropland, 485,000 acres
    • Pasture, 190,000 acres
    • Rangeland, 27,000 acres
    • Forest, 32,000 acres
    • Urban, 32,000 acres
    • Other rural land, 53,000 acres
    • Water, 27,500 acres

    Primary resource concerns within the NRD include the following in priority order:

    1. Soil Resources
      -- Cropland erosion control
      -- Improve soil health
    2. Water Resources
      -- Prevent contamination of groundwater supplies
      -- Reduce chemical and sediment loading on surface water
      -- Irrigation water management
      -- Flood control
    3. Grazing lands
      -- Improve range condition
      -- Implement waste management systems
    4. Wetlands
      -- Protect, restore, and enhance
    5. Fish and Wildlife Habitat
      -- Increase size and diversity of habitat areas
      -- Reduce turbidity and chemical levels in surface water

    Priorities Addressed by NRCS

    The priorities are listed in order from one to five in the previous section. However, programs are ongoing to address parts of all concerns. The NRCS plays a major role in reducing cropland erosion through the planning, layout, and design of terraces, diversions, waterways, filter strips, sediment and erosion control structures, dams, and many other practices. The water resources concerns are addressed by reducing sedimentation into lakes and streams with the application of conservation practices and Irrigation Water Management planning. The grazing lands are addressed through technical assistance with livestock producers to plan and apply grazing systems. The wetlands and wildlife concerns are addressed by NRCS through conservation compliance activities and implementing Federal programs such as Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

    Primary Programs and Services

    The NRCS cooperates with all six of the NRD's to implement a strong Nebraska Soil and Water Cnoservation Program (NSWCP), Natural Resources District (NRD) and Environmental Trust funded program to apply conservation practices to cropland within the district. Over $400,000 of cost share is provided to producers on an annual basis to install over 800,000 feet of terraces with pipe and grass outlets as well as approximately 20 erosion control dams, 50 sediment basins, and other practices such as filter strips.

    One EQIP priority area, Wahoo Creek, has been approved and applications for other areas have been submitted. The CRP program is popular with over 600 active contracts in five counties. This district leads to the State in Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) activity to restore and preserve wetlands, most notable is the recently completed "Wilkensen Wildlife Management Area" in Platte county. This area was restored using WRP funds in combination with other private, state, and local government funds to restore 640 acres of wetlands. The WHIP program is also used to restore wildlife habitat.