All posts by Holly Rahmann

E67 Telemetry Project Begins Second Year

E67 Telemetry Project Begins Second Year

Centralized Water Use Database for Irrigation Water Management in CNPPID
by Marcia Trompke, CNPPID Conservation Director


Site 4

     Producers taking water from Central’s E67 Pipeline Canal are involved in our newest precision management pilot project; funded in part by Nebraska lottery dollars through the Nebraska Environmental Trust, McCrometer Inc., Central and Nebraska Extension.  McCrometer’s Steve Grove (Hemet, CA) and Paul Tipling (Salina, KS), came to NE last week to help Central staff install equipment at 25 new field sites.  These sites, added to the 2015 installations, bring total sites in the project to 51.  In addition, a third McCrometer weather station was set up next to an existing UNL station to compare measured weather data and the results of the evapotranspiration calculations from each unit.

20150615_141111
Each project site using water from E67 has been fitted with a UHF radio/solar panel set and a digitizer added to the existing flowmeter.  Most sites have a digital rain gauge unless pivot water will hit it.  A gateway unit at the powerhouse near Johnson Lake calls each field station every hour and each weather station every 15 minutes to gather data and transmit it to a host computer at McCrometer.  Producers have access to this information from each of their fields and the weather stations immediately from a home computer, tablet or smartphone.  Data is graphed, tabled and archived for producers and all data is exportable to an Excel spreadsheet.

flow meter 6  The outcome of precision management is expected to be high yields with minimum use of irrigation water.  It is possible that an irrigation event can be saved at the beginning or end of the season or both once the producer has reliable information on hand to make those decisions.

 

***

Other info:

  • The E67 Canal headgate is on the outlet side of Johnson Lake and the canal provides irrigation water to 5,767 acres to the south.
  • In 2001 and 2002, the E67 earthen canals were upgraded to 18.2 miles of pipeline, 2.9 miles of membrane lined canal (bank to bank) and a 0.4 mile lateral was left open. The project saved 5,000 AF of seepage and evaporation losses annually; storable water that can enhance aquatic and shoreline habitat at Lake McConaughy.
  • The E67 Telemetry Project is an upgrade on the customer side of the meter; an effort to help customers raise the efficiency of crop water use.
  • By having reliable information on the soil water balance in every field, producers are able to determine daily which field(s) need an irrigation.
  • The ability to see the amount of rainfall measured at the weather stations in 15 minute intervals, allows producers to determine if they need to irrigate through a light rain or shut a pivot down.
  • Data is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world
  • Central will allow producer purchased add-ons to be integrated into this system. Pressure sensors, soil moisture sensors and pivot locators are some of the possibilities.
  • Central will be able to see individual and aggregated deliveries throughout the season and by 2017, should be able to integrate the meter data directly into the accounting software for billing.
  • 2017 will be Year 3 of this project when all remaining turnouts will be included in the Telemetry system.
  • NET is providing 3 years of funding, $194,100 total as a cost share grant
    • 1 (2015), $61,380
    • 2 (2016), $65,460
    • 3 (2017), $67,260
    • McCrometer, Inc., Central, NE Extension share of the total project is $ 226,540
  • NET grants are funded from the NE Lottery; that return dollars to local communities to help fund improvement projects from these categories;
    • Habitat
    • Surface and Ground Water
    • Waste Management
    • Air Quality
    • Soil Management

University of Nebraska Kearney Students Visit J-2 Eagle-Viewing

University of Nebraska Kearney Students Visit J-2 Eagle-Viewing

Midway Point in the J2 Eagle Viewing Season

Post by Mark Peyton – CNPPID Senior Biologist

February 1st marks the mid-point in the eagle viewing season at Central’s J2 Power plant located south-east of Lexington.   So far this has been an excellent season with both consistent numbers of eagles and quite a few visitors.

To date over 1,000 people have signed the registration book averaging over 45/day.   They have been treated to about 25 eagles that are actively fishing, flying, and interacting with each other.   The viewing center is open through February on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

Shown here is Dr. Letitia Reichart’s Ornithology Class from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

unk1 unk2

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.

 

Gifts of the heart

Gifts of the heart

The following story was originally printed in the Gothenburg Times.

 

gothenburgemployees

DEPENDABLE DONORS: There are 16 employees at the Gothenburg office of Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District that regularly donate blood to the American Red Cross. CNPP&ID allows employees to take an hour leave to give when the Bloodmobile comes to town. Givers include, l-r: Front—Jake Sitorius, Matt Ostergard, Mike Koubek, Jeramy Hendricks, Doug Viter; Back—Tom Holm, Blake Munster, Dustin Ehlers, Scott Peterson, Ethan Lambert, Scott Wolf, Lonnie Warner and Mark Peyton. Not pictured: Jon Herrick, Logan Ricley and Randy Walker.

 

CNPP&ID employees donate blood freely, regularly

Because blood is pumped throughout the body from the heart, the donation of blood to someone in need can be likened to giving a gift from the heart.

American Red Cross officials describe the giving of blood as a gift of life.

Sixteen employees of Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District see it that way too.

Since each of them started giving blood, they have collectively donated 838 pints of blood when the Bloodmobile stops in Gothenburg.

With about 60 people giving blood four times yearly, CNPP&ID contributions make up a fourth of the givers, said senior biologist Mark Peyton.

Amanda Koubek, American Red Cross account manager, said an organization like Central that allows its employees to donate during work time is monumental to the success of the Gothenburg Community Blood Drive.

“The patients that need life-saving blood products are grateful for their selfless donations over the years,” Koubek said.

Doug Viter was 22 when he first gave blood. At the time, he was working at Central on a bridge crew.

When he first started the job in 1966, other members of the bridge crew, like Lloyd Streeter, Elmer Dyer, Aaron Olson and Louis Trimble, encouraged Viter to give.

He took their advice, donating blood for the first time in the former Gothenburg Times office which was where the present-day Sander Furniture and Gifts is located.

“I felt good about giving blood,” said Viter who is now 70 years old. “Anytime you can help someone, especially since there’s a blood shortage.”

Since Viter started giving, the canal superintendent has donated 123 pints of blood and is the longest-giving employee at Central’s Gothenburg office.

Peyton noted that Viter strives to be the first donor, showing up at the Bloodmobile 20 minutes early.

Viter added that after giving blood, he eats “the best” soup, sandwiches and cookies and visits with other donors.

Lonnie Warner, who started out working on the bridge crew with Viter, is now a heavy equipment operator at Central. He first gave blood in 1977.

Warner was a senior at Gothenburg High School when the Bloodmobile came to the school and set up their equipment in a hallway.

The next year, he began working at Central and to date, has donated 140 pints.

“My dad, Ben Warner, used to give blood and he was an example for me,” the general maintenance worker said. “It’s something now that I’ve always done.”

Donating blood helps other people.

“Everyone should do it if he or she is able,” Warner said. “You never know when you’re going to need blood for yourself or for a family member.”

Warner missed a year of giving when he broke his leg but has given consistently before and after the accident.

He added that he encourages the employees who work with him to donate blood.

“I think it’s awesome that so many guys from Central do it,” Warner said.

Central employees had the experience of helping a colleague 38 years ago when Leonard France had a bleeding ulcer.

France, who was an electrical supervisor, now works part-time for district.

When France needed 76 units of blood in 1977, Peyton said France was told he could pay for it or replace what he took.

Central employees district wide took it upon themselves to give blood for their co-worker and donated five more pints than what France needed.

Central’s newest employee, Dustin Ehlers, has given blood (four pints to date) for about a year.

Last April, Ehlers said he was encouraged by Warner and told that giving blood helps others.

“Before then, it was never brought up,” he said. “It would be cool to see just who it helps.”

ebarrett@gothenburgtimes.com

308-537-3636

E-65 Canal Groundwater Recharge Project

E-65 Canal Groundwater Recharge Project

Above normal flows in the South Platte River this fall has allowed Central to partner with Tri-Basin Natural Resource District and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to divert excess flows into the E-65 canal system and Elwood Reservoir for groundwater recharge. Agreements allow a total of 10,000 acre-feet of water total to be diverted into Central’s system of canals and lakes, allowing for Tri-Basin and the State of Nebraska to get credit for recharge in the Republican and Platte River basins. Diversions began on December 10, 2014, and so far approximately 6,500 a-f of water has been diverted. Elwood reservoir has risen five feet in elevation due to this project.

E-6519.3

This photo shows icy water held in the E-65 canal system from miles 19.3 to 20.1, allowing for groundwater recharge from Johnson Lake to the area shown above near Smithfield.

 

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.

eagle tree

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.

20141023_102103 20141023_104943

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.

Johnson Lake Drawdown Allows for Clean Up

Johnson Lake Drawdown Allows for Clean Up

Central decided to take advantage of the low water levels at Johnson Lake and do some shoreline maintenance work. As the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission worked to complete their Angler Access Project near the inlet at Johnson Lake, the water levels remained around eight feet lower than normal through most of October. This drawdown allowed cabin owners to clean up shoreline areas and also allowed Central to do some shoreline work.

Kent Aden uses his personal utility vehicle to spray an aquatic herbicide on the shoreline at Johnson Lake.

Kent Aden uses his personal utility vehicle to spray an aquatic herbicide on the shoreline at Johnson Lake.

Kent Aden is shown here testing a new aquatic herbicide in attempt to control the sago pondweed, which has been a concern for many lake residents. According to the USDA website, the sago pondweed plant is beneficial for wildlife and erosion control, but can become overgrown, and should be controlled in lakes commonly used for recreation and irrigation¹.

1. Sago Pondweed Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_stpe15.pdf.

 

Lake McConaughy Sign Gets Fresh Coat of Paint

Lake McConaughy Sign Gets Fresh Coat of Paint

DSCN1587

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.

complete

 


1 2 3
Facebook