Central Hosts Stakeholder Meetings

Central Hosts Stakeholder Meetings

By Jim Brown, CNPPID Land Administrator

NGPC's Colby Johnson addresses attendees at the Ogallala Stakeholder Meeting.

NGPC’s Colby Johnson addresses attendees at the Ogallala Stakeholder Meeting.

Stakeholder meetings were held recently to present modifications to permitting processes and regulations that are being contemplated by Central. This is the first year for these meetings, which were held at Gothenburg, Ogallala, and Lexington. The purpose is to allow stakeholders (cabin-owners and members of the public who use District lakes) the opportunity to provide feedback on current issues, to meet Central staff, and to be part of the process of improving the program.

Presentations about Central’s operations and permitting were made by Central staff members at all meetings and staff from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission gave a presentation about park improvements at Lake McConaughy park improvements during the Ogallala meeting. Contact information for appropriate personnel was provided at all three meetings and attendees were invited to share constructive opinions and improvements to the program with an emphasis in areas of safety, environmental impacts, and neighbor relations as they relate to the permitting program. Central staff will consider all suggestions and weigh them against mandatory requirements of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license, the Land and Shoreline Management Plan, and any other local, state, or federal regulations and potentially incorporate suggestion that meet the requirements.

Central will continue to accept comments and suggestions until early May, at which point the comments will be reviewed with the goal of submitting the update to the District’s permitting procedures as soon as possible. If you would like to provide a suggestion for improvement, send an email to jbrown@cnppid.com.

 

Perch Pole Installed for Bald Eagles at J-2 Power Plant

Perch Pole Installed for Bald Eagles at J-2 Power Plant

Colder weather has Central’s staff working towards preparing for winter activities. One of the most popular winter activities at Central is the eagle-viewing season. Central opens two eagle-viewing centers – one at the J-2 Powerhouse near Lexington, Neb., and one on the shores of Lake Ogallala – where viewing is available in a heated setting, and open to the public each weekend from late December through early March.

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For many years the J-2 Powerhouse has seen its share of eagles that enjoy the quiet atmosphere and open water for a supply of food. A favorite resting place for the eagles has been a dead tree on the west side of the canal not far from the powerhouse building. Over the summer, this “favorite” tree fell, and Central employees felt it needed a replacement.

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The new perch pole seen above was constructed by Gothenburg employees and set up near where the old tree stood in hopes that the eagles may use it in a similar fashion.

For more information on eagle-viewing opportunities, visit our Eagle-Viewing web page.

Lake McConaughy Sign Gets Fresh Coat of Paint

Lake McConaughy Sign Gets Fresh Coat of Paint

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Central teamed up with the group Keep Keith County Beautiful to re-vamp the iconic “Leave only your footprints please!” sign located on the shore of Lake McConaughy.

Central funded the project, which included repairing and repainting the cement slab. The sign had not been touched-up since August 1989.

Originally, the cement slab served as an unloading dock for the railroad as supplies were brought in on rail cars during construction of the dam. Although at times of high tide it is covered by water, most days it welcomes guests to Lake McConaughy with a friendly reminder to keep the beaches free of trash and debris.

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Lake McConaughy Listed in Top 27 Camping Places

Lake McConaughy Listed in Top 27 Camping Places

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Budget Travel Vacation Ideas – Best Places to go Camping

Budgettravel.com recently released a photo story about the top 27 places to go camping. Along with the expected beaches of various Caribbean islands, mountainous state parks, and foreign wonderlands lies Central’s very own beaches of Lake McConaughy, listed at number three. Click the link above to see it yourself!

 

 

Summer Internship

Summer Internship

The following post was written by Kyle Gaston, one of two CNPPID summer interns working at Lake McConaughy this summer. Kyle is an environmental science major at Doane College.

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Photos by Kyle Gaston

This summer has been quite the learning experience for me having never done work with birds before. I have learned a lot and had some good and some not so good experiences this summer. Locating birds, nests, and chicks took some time but the more I worked the easier it got. The job also got more enjoyable once I gained the confidence to do it. This job wasn’t all enjoyable though just like any other job. My first day working in one of the tern enclosures, I learn quickly to not look up because those terns seem to have extremely good aim and will leave your shirt, hat, and anything else you are wearing with white stains.

On a better note, there are some fun and enjoyable parts as well. The people I work with are almost always in good humor. We always seem to be making jokes and never allow people to forget some embarrassing events such as being stuck on the beach, even though we all have been stuck at some point. Overall, working for Central has been a fun and great experience for me even if those terns leave stains all over my clothes, and I would be happy to return and work again next summer.

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Photo by Kyle Gaston

Kingsley Dam Dedication – July 22, 1941

Kingsley Dam Dedication – July 22, 1941

On this day in 1941, Kingsley Dam was officially dedicated. Water storage in Lake McConaughy began to fill and irrigation water was delivered that same year. The project as a whole was officially completed in 1943.

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Chief Engineer George E. Johnson is shown above speaking at the dedication ceremony.

 

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A large crowd gathered to attend the official dedication of Kingsley Dam.

 

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Two young girls are shown here cutting a string to drop a capsule into the dam at the ceremony.

 

For more information on the history of the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, visit our History page here.

New Employee Project Tour

New Employee Project Tour

Eight new employees at Central recently participated in a one-day tour of the project to become more familiar with the many facilities that are part of operating the system.

Starting at the Holdrege Administrative Headquarters, the group traveled through parts of the irrigated area that included irrigation canals, laterals and turnouts, check structures and pivot sites using water from the canal system. After passing through the area that is the future site of the J-2 Regulating Reservoirs, the employees stopped at the headgate of the Phelps Canal and the J-2 River Return, which is the terminus of the 76-mile-long Supply Canal.

The group also stopped at Elwood Reservoir and the Carl T. Curtis Pump Station before visiting the Johnson Lake inlet and the headgate of the E65 Canal. After a stop at the Control Center in Gothenburg, where they learned about how Central’s control operators manage water flows, hydroelectric generation and communications throughout the District, the group visited Jeffrey Reservoir, Jeffrey Lodge and Jeffrey Hydroplant.

After lunch in North Platte, the group continued on to Kingsley Dam and Lake McConaughy where they had the opportunity to browse through the Lake McConaughy Water Interpretive Center, go out on the “Morning Glory” spillway and Control Tower, and received a guided tour through the Kingsley Hydroplant.

On the way back home, the employees stopped at the Nebraska Public Power District’s Keystone Diversion Dam at the east end of Lake Ogallala, and made one last stop at Central’s North Platte Diversion Dam.

All told, the tour group traveled more than 400 miles in about 10 hours and despite the wind and cool temperatures (particularly on the control structures at Lake McConaughy, gained a more complete understanding of how all the facilities within Central’s project fit together to provide benefits for irrigation, hydroelectric generation, recreation, wildlife habitat and groundwater recharge.

 

New employees - 2014

Employees who participated in the tour include (pictured left to right): Dustin Ehlers, general maintenance in Gothenburg; Jason Dorsey, who accompanied his wife, Kristen Dorsey, administrative assistant in Holdrege; Jarred Rickertsen, electrical/mechanical maintenance, Gothenburg; Brent DeBoer, assistant control operator, Gothenburg; and Jake Sitorius, Blake Munster, Scott Peterson, and Ethan Lambert, all in general maintenance at the Gothenburg Division office.

 

Post written by Jeff Buettner – CNPPID Public Relations Coordinator

Water Conservation Report

Water Conservation Report

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Spring moisture has improved somewhat from last year and we expect summer to follow suit however, nothing in the forecast is indicating “wet” summer conditions at this time.

Short of an epic rain event upstream of Lake McConaughy, Central irrigators will have a 9 acre-inch/acre water allocation in 2014. One-year delivery transfers have been allowed between farms and those transactions are complete. Groundwater transfers through Central’s canals will be allowed where possible and where approved by the Tri-Basin NRD.

A slow fill of the canals has begun with a combined flow of South Platte River water and our small, mandatory releases from McConaughy. Unless water supply conditions change substantially, water from the supply canal lakes, including Johnson Lake, must be used for the last irrigation to conserve water supply for the 2015 season in McConaughy.

There will be near 530 pivots, several new swing arms and 17 sub-surface drip systems on the Central system in 2014. Gated irrigation pipe is fast becoming a relic of the past. Central producers have made significant investments to stretch their water supply while increasing yield. Beyond the irrigation systems upgrades; precision equipment, no-till, strip-till, and field soil moisture and weather monitoring are becoming the norm. Our producers are definitely the A-team, bringing their game to 2014!

As of May 12th, Elwood Reservoir surface elevation is 2,583.8’ above MSL or 23.2’ below conservation pool. It will not be filled for irrigation this season but could possibly see summer gains if excess flows occur in the Platte River. Lake McConaughy surface elevation is 3,238.0’ or 27.0’ below conservation pool and is storing 1,043,000 acre-feet of water.

 

Submitted by Marcia Trompke, CNPPID Conservation Director

Boating Safety

Boating Safety

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As summer nears and lake season gets in to full swing, please remember to use safety when boating!

New Law REQUIRES Safety Course!

Nebraska law requires any motorboat operator (including personal watercraft) born after December 31, 1985, complete a Boating Safety Course and be in possession of a course certificate when operating the boat.  You must be at least 14 years of age to operate a motorboat (including personal watercraft) in Nebraska.  Classes are offered throughout the state in two options ( A or B ).

For more information on Nebraska’s boating laws, or to find a boating safety course near you, visit Nebraska Game and Park’s boating website.