Lower Loup NRD Awarded Federal Grant for Petersburg Well Interference Area

On July 25, 2023, the Lower Loup Natural Resources District (LLNRD) was notified of a grant award of $53,485.72.

The grant, issued by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), will help fund installation of new monitoring wells and pressure transducers to measure drawdown in the Petersburg Well Interference Area in Boone County.

This area has been identified as a concern because of extensive drawdown caused by increased aquifer demand during peak irrigation season. Shallower domestic wells in the area have experienced trouble pumping during this time.

In March of 2022, the LLNRD placed a restriction on any additional high-capacity wells or irrigation water right transfers from being allowed in the designated area and placed more emphasis on groundwater monitoring to determine the level of stress the aquifer is experiencing, as well as post-irrigation aquifer recovery.

Months later, LLNRD technicians and a hydro-geoscientist from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Conservation and Survey Division collected aquifer lithologic data from test holes drilled during the summer of 2022. The test holes provided valuable subsurface data and allowed aquifer depths to be estimated with much higher accuracy. 

The new monitoring wells will be drilled by Downey Drilling Inc. from Lexington, NE. LLNRD staff will be present during construction, development, and completion of each well. The LLNRD will install real-time water-level monitoring equipment following completion of the wells and will collect water-level measurements each spring and fall. The NRD will also sample water quality at the new monitoring well sites.

The LLNRD selected sites that would provide additional groundwater data and where landowners were willing to participate in expanding groundwater knowledge. The LLNRD secured property easements for the sites prior to completing the test holes.

“The ability to expand our monitoring well network gives the NRD better monitoring coverage and the means to assess groundwater quantity and quality over a larger area,” said LLNRD Assistant General Manager Tyr Naprstek.