Stakeholders Take Part In First IMP Meeting

Representatives of various water users groups attended the first meeting held to begin creation of a voluntary integrated management plan for the Lower Loup Natural Resources District on February 17, 2015 at the NRD office in Ord.  Those attending the meeting included surface water, groundwater, industrial, municipal, commercial and agricultural representatives.

The objective of developing an integrated management plan is to manage the Loup River Basin to achieve and sustain a balance between water uses and water supplies for the long term.

The voluntary integrated management plan is being created through a joint effort of the Lower Loup Natural Resources District and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.  Karen Griffin of Olsson Associates, the firm hired to facilitate the meetings, told the group that the plan was being created for a number of reasons. Those reasons include:

  1. Water Sustainability - Protecting existing infrastructure while allowing for future development
  2. Funding Opportunities - Including the Water Sustainability Fund created by LB-1098
  3. Integrated Management of Groundwater and Surface Water Resources

The group also received a presentation on the IMP process from Tim Freed, Integrated Management Coordinator for the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources.

The creation of a stakeholders group was one of the first steps in the process.  The stakeholders will offer input that will help DNR and the NRD develop goals and objectives for the integrated management plan.  DNR and the NRD will finalize the goals and develop the IMP.  Finally, the stakeholders will receive the opportunity to comment on the plan.  The process can last months and even years before it is finalized.

At the meeting, stakeholders reviewed the goals and objectives created for the Lower Platte River Basin Coalition, which includes the Loup and Elkhorn River Basins as well as the lower end of the Platte River Basin.  They further refined the goals and objectives to tailor the plan to the Lower Loup Basin.

To see the presentation prepared by Olsson Associates for the stakeholders, click here.

To see the presentation prepared by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, click here

Although no date has yet been set, the group will meet again in the coming months to move further into the process.