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Little Blue NRD

image of Little Blue NRD coverage area

Office Information

Name Address Phone Numbers
Janet Valasek
District Conservationist
172 East 4th Street
P.O. Box 307
Nelson, NE 68916-0307
Phone: (402) 225-2311 ext. 3
Fax: (402) 225-4343


Janet ValasekJanet Valasek
District Conservationist
Little Blue NRD

¨     Childhood was on a livestock and grain farm located southwest of Spalding in Greeley County.

 ¨     1984 – Graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of  Science Degree in Agriculture.

 ¨     1988 - Began career with NRCS (SCS) as a Soil Conservationist at the Stanton Field Office.

 ¨     1991 - Moved to Iowa and started working with the NRCS (SCS) as a Soil Conservationist in the Carroll Field Office.

 ¨     1993 – Transferred to the Audubon, IA Field Office as a Soil Conservationist.

 ¨     1997 – Transferred to Nebraska to the Clay Center Field Office as a Resource Conservationist.

¨     2003 – Promoted to the Little Blue NRD District Conservationists position located at the Nelson Field Office for the five counties located in the Little Blue NRD.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides assistance to our customers through natural resource districts. The Little Blue Natural Resources District (LBNRD) covers all or parts of 7 counties in south central Nebraska. NRCS provides assistance generally to a whole county through USDA SERVICE CENTER offices located in the county seat. The five counties of Adams, Clay, Nuckolls, Thayer and Jefferson, which comprise the majority of the LBNRD, are covered by NRCS offices in Hastings, Clay Center, Nelson, Hebron and Fairbury. Supervision, management and liaison activities are headquartered at the Nelson Office.

In general, three employees staff each field office to assist customers with their conservation needs in that county. However, employees regularly help farmers throughout the LBNRD without regard to county boundaries. The offices also have access to several other professionals located throughout the state. Some of the disciplines include engineers, soil scientists, biologists and range management specialists. Using the team concept, employees go to wherever the workload is in the LBNRD without being restricted by county boundaries.

The Little Blue NRD Team's mission is "To conserve and improve our natural resources one field at a time with our partners by leading our customers where they want to go".

Resource Needs and Concerns

Over 90 per cent of the land in the NRD are used for agricultural purposes with approximately 70 per cent being cropped. Much of the land being cropped is on highly erodible soils. Therefore, erosion control on cropland and flood control have always been high priority resources concerns. In the Eighties, declining water tables made water quantity a major concern. Water quality has surfaced as the District's main focus in the Nineties due to increasing levels of nitrates in the groundwater.

The following is a list of the needs and concerns within the LBNRD listed in priority order as determined by the local Board.

Of these twelve major areas of emphasis, priorities 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,11 & 12 can best be addressed by NRCS. Land users can receive technical assistance for planning, survey, design and construction inspection for numerous conservation practices. Assistance is also available to assist the landowners with applying for various programs to assist with defraying part of the cost of installing the conservation practices.

Several local, state and federal programs are available. The Little Blue NRD annually funds approximately $300,000 for conservation cost share programs. These funds assist producers with a variety of practices including terraces, waterways, dams, grass and tree plantings, well abandonment/decommissioning, livestock wells, pipelines and fencing, irrigation pipelines, flow meters, tail water recovery systems and center pivot conversions. The Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program is annually funded at approximately $180,000 for many of the above mentioned practices. The state also funds special projects through the Environment l Trust Fund. There are several new and existing federal programs that provide assistance for wetland creation and restoration, irrigation variable flow return systems, riparian buffers and other special or unique practices as well as the traditional conservation practices. Some of the primary programs include:

The Coordinator for the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (RWBJV) also assists with unique wetland habitat projects by obtaining both funding and technical expertise from numerous conservation partners interested in wetland issues. Partners include the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission (NGPC), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (F&WS), Army Corp Of Engineers (COE), Ducks Unlimited, and the Nature Conservancy.

  1. Groundwater Quality Protection/Well Head Protection
  2. Groundwater Quantity Protection/Irrigation Water Management
  3. Livestock Waste Management
  4. Reduce Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Damages
  5. Flood Control & Flood Damages Reduction
  6. Protect and Restore Riparian Areas, Buffer Strips, Stream Bank Protection
  7. Waste Management and Recycling Efforts
  8. Tree Planting, Windbreak Renovation and Improved Timber Management
  9. Rural Water Development and Management
  10. Public Recreation Development and Maintenance
  11. Grazing Land Improvement and Management
  12. Wildlife Protection and Habitat Improvement