The plan limits farmers use of non-organic fertilizers and regulates well construction
The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District voted to adopt a new groundwater plan that limits farmers use of non-organic fertilizers and places restrictions of well building with the aim of protecting groundwater resources. The district covers Douglas, Sarpy, Dakota, Washington, Burt and Thurston counties of northeast Nebraska.
Under the new groundwater plan, non-organic nitrogen fertilizer application will be limited to the beginning of the growing season and restricted after harvest time. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the time sensitive restrictions are targeted to increase plant uptake of fertilizer during growth and minimize soil infiltration during fall rains.
Additionally, new restrictions are placed on well constructions. Any well that pumps more than 50 gal per minute requires a permit and must be 600 ft from another registered well. While some farmers are concerned with the regulations, livestock producers and environmentalists view the new groundwater plan as a step forward.
“It’s not an easy process,” said Jane Griffin, executive director of the Lincoln-based Groundwater Foundation. “Are we making a step forward in protecting our groundwater? Definitely that is the direction we are going… It doesn’t mean we are eliminating all the risks, but we are making progress.”