Water Quality Initiative, Kicking Off in Saline County

BEATRICE – The Lower Big Blue NRD, working with several other agencies, is kicking off a Turkey Creek-Wilber-area water quality initiative.   Officials will meet Wednesday evening with landowners, farm operators and community representatives at the Wilber American Legion Club.

Assistant NRD Manager Scott Sobotka says the initiative got started after impairment was detected in Turkey Creek for substances such as atrazine, e-coli bacteria and test results on nitrate levels in drinking water.

:16                  “the nitrates, also”

Atrazine and e-coli contamination appeared as a result of routine testing of the Big Blue River and Turkey Creek.

Sobotka says the kick-off meeting is to get all stakeholders together with good information.  Mailings have been sent out to farm owners and operators about the community planning process.   The area of concern covers a sizable piece of Saline County.

:28                  “and turkey creek”

The Wednesday night meeting will begin with a dinner at 6 p.m., following by presentations from area officials about the scope of the problems.  Sobotka says the planning process will include taking a land inventory and hearing input from owners and operators.   The Lower Big Blue NRD will then work with other agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Nebraska Extension, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and Game and Parks Commission.

One objective is to get funding support for water quality conservation measures.

Sobotka says municipal water quality in communities such as Wilber and DeWitt is good, but the initiative will try to find out how water quality could be impacted decades into the future.

:26                  “into the future”

Sobotka says the NRD has compiled a list of some 400 to 500 owners or operators of area farms, being invited to participate in the planning process.

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