Notice Order Adopting Amendments to the Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations in the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District

A public hearing was held on Tuesday, August 5, 2014, for the purpose of receiving public testimony and other evidence regarding the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District’s (UNWNRD) proposed amendments to the Ground Water Management Area (GWMA) Rules and Regulations.  Public notice was given as required by law and the hearing record remained open until August 8, 2014, to receive written testimony and other evidence.

The UNWNRD having considered the testimony and evidence presented at the public hearing shall adopt the amendments to the GWMA Rules and Regulations pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 46-712, and all other applicable Nebraska law.

The proposed amendments included in the GWMA Rules and Regulations are as follows:  Authority – Added reference to statute for Nebraska Chemigation Act; Definitions – proposed amendments to this section are to incorporate new definitions and to modify existing definitions related to the proposed amendments in these rules; Inspections – proposed amendments to this section are to incorporate language for authorities under the Nebraska Chemigation Act; A compliance inspector shall be authorized to conduct a prompt chemigation inspection without consent or appropriate warrant in emergency situations when there is neither sufficient time nor opportunity to obtain an inspection warrant; Ground Water Controls – general guidelines for ground water transfer – language has been added to clarify the transfer rules; Certified uses will be evaluated prior to allowing ground water transfers.  If agricultural acres are not being watered or taxed as irrigated, then certification will be modified to what is currently irrigated or taxed prior to  determining whether a transfer will be allowed.  If industrial or commercial, the baseline will be evaluated to determine if transfer would result in additional consumption potentially requiring an offset; a transfer will be approved only once during an allocation period to or from a tract of land; Emergency temporary transfers may be allowed in an effort to prevent crop loss or to prevent undue harm to the health and safety of human life.  Permission for these cases could be approved by the General Manager or his/her designee, prior to Board review and consideration. The Board will ratify the temporary transfer at the next scheduled monthly Board meeting; Pooling of Irrigated Acres – proposed amendments include clarifying language on historically connected irrigated tracts and potential sanctions for certifying acres as historically connected when those tracts are found to not be connected; Allocations – proposed amendments include an adjustment to the allocation for sub-areas 4 and 6, changing the allocation period from a four (4) year to a five (5) year period and a prorated annualized allocation for use(s); The 2015-2019 base allocation for sub-areas 4 and 6 will be sixty-five (65) acre-inches for the five (5) year allocation period, which is an annualized allocation of 13 acre-inches; Applications may be accepted to certify perennial forage crops to allow an extended allocation period.  This certification will be subject to conditions outlined in an agreement between the landowner and the District.  The agreement will be subject to modification or cancellation, if it is determined that the agreement is no longer in the best interest of the resource; Any use(s) that did not exist at the start of the allocation period will receive an annualized allocation based on the number of years remaining in the allocation period.

PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY GRANTED IN Neb. Rev. Stat. § 46-712, IT IS HERBY ORDERED BY THE UNWNRD:

1. That the proposed amendments to the Ground Water Management Area Rules and Regulations be adopted and shall be implemented by the UNWNRD.

2. This Order shall become effective on October 1, 2014.

During regular business hours, copies of the full text of the GWMA Rules and Regulations may be obtained at the UNWNRD office, located at 430 East Second Street, Chadron, Nebraska 69337.  A copy of the GWMA Rules and Regulations can also be viewed on the Upper Niobrara White NRD’s website at the following address: http://www.unwnrd.org.  

This Order shall be published once each week for three consecutive weeks in a local newspaper published or of general circulation in the area involved, the last publication of which shall be no less than seven days prior to the date set for the effective date of the Order, in accordance with Neb. Rev. Stat. § 46-744.

DATE: August 14, 2014 UPPER NIOBRARA WHITE NATURAL RESOURCES DISTRICT

BY: Rich Zochol

Chairman

Published: September 17, 2014