While most people associate the NRD’s with managing ground water usage, Jack Russell, manager of the Middle Republican Natural Resource District, told members of McCook Rotary that the district accomplishes that function in a variety of ways.
For example, it applies for and receives water sustainability grants. The grants provide funding for installing moisture probes in the field and, using telemetry, the producer receives data on their computer or mobile device that shows them exactly what they are irrigating and how much rain-water soaks into the soil. Russell said that using this technology, they can help irrigators reduce usage by up to two-inches per year.
It also has a tree program available to landowners to provide windbreaks, wildlife habitat, and for conservation measures.
The MRNRD will soon be moving into a new office space in Curtis, which Russell anticipates will save the NRD money in the long run because of increased energy efficiency. The district covers Frontier, Hayes, Hitchcock, Red Willow, and southern Lincoln counties. Russell told the gathering that the MRNRD is governed by a 13-member board of directors, with two members elected from six sub-districts and one at-large.