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Ogallala Aquifer Initiative FY 2016 Investments

NRCS is investing $8 million through the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI) in fiscal 2016 in nine focus areas in five states to support targeted, local efforts to improve the quality and availability of this vital water supply.

Conservation work in these focus areas will continue for up to four years. It will conserve billions of gallons of water per year, extending the viability of the Ogallala Aquifer for multiple uses. This year’s work is planned in seven focus areas in Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.

NRCS started OAI in 2011. From 2011 to 2014, NRCS invested $75.8 million in financial assistance help more than 1,600 agricultural producers conserve water on 341,000 acres.

Underlying the Great Plains in eight states, the Ogallala supports nearly one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton and cattle produced in the United States.

2016 Focal Areas


OAI Focus Area





Northern High Plains Groundwater Basin

Parts of Sedgwick, Logan, Phillips, Washington, Yuma, Lincoln and Kit Carson counties.

Marks Butte Groundwater Management District (GWD), Frenchman GWD, Sand Hills GWD, W-Y GWD, Central Yuma GWD, Arikaree GWD, Plains GWD and the Republican River Water Conservation District.



Kansas - OAI High Priority Areas

Parts of 36 counties containing High Priority Areas designated by the Groundwater Management District Quick Response Area or as Priority 1 Groundwater Decline Areas.

Areas are located Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Jewell, Republic, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Wallace, Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Barton, McPherson, Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Hodgeman, Pawnee, Stafford, Reno, Harvey, Sedgwick, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Gray, Ford, Edwards, Pratt, Kiowa, Morton and Stevens counties.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Ground Water Management Districts, Kansas Department of Agriculture, KDA-Division of Conservation, Kansas Technical Committee, Kansas Water Office and Sheridan LEMA

Oklahoma Oklahoma-OAI Cimarron and Texas counties Oklahoma Conservation Commission, the Panhandle Irrigation Association, Texas County Conservation District, Cimarron County Conservation District, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Panhandle State University and Oklahoma State University $900,000


Central Platte NRD

Parts of Dawson, Custer, Buffalo, Hall, Howard, Nance, Merrick, Hamilton, Platte, Polk and Frontier counties.

Central Platte Natural Resources District, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources



Little Blue NRD

Parts of Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Nuckolls, Thayer and Webster counties.

Little Blue Natural Resources District, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

Nebraska Middle Republican NRD Includes the counties of Hayes, Hitchcock, Red Willow and part of Frontier and Lincoln counties. Middle Republican Natural Resources District $600,000


Upper Big Blue NRD

Parts of Adams, Clay, Hamilton, Steward and York counties.

Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District


New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico OAI Focus Areas

Parts of Curry, Lea and Roosevelt counties.

Central Curry Soil  & Water Conservation District (SWCD), Roosevelt SWCD, Lea SWCD, and New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts



Texas – OAI Partnership

Parts of 36 counties in the Texas panhandle with focus areas identified as concentrated groundwater pumping areas within the Ogallala Aquifer.

Areas are located in Dallam, Sherman, Hansford, Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Hartley, Moore, Hutchinson, Roberts, Potter, Carson, Gray, Deaf Smith, Randall, Armstrong, Donley, Parmer, Castro, Swisher, Bailey, Lamb, Hale, Floyd, Cochran, Hockley, Lubbock, Crosby, Yoakum, Terry, Lynn, Garza, Gaines, Dawson, Martin, Howard and Glasscock counties.

Garza County Underground Conservation District,
Glasscock Groundwater Conservation District,
Hemphill Co. Underground Water Conservation District,
High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1,
Llano Estacado Underground Water Conservation District,
Mesa Underground Water Conservation District,
Mesquite Groundwater Conservation District,
North Plains Groundwater Conservation District,
Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District,
Permian Basin Underground Water Conservation District,
Sandy Land Underground Water Conservation District,
South Plains Underground Water Conservation District



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