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.
Chief Engineer George E. Johnson is shown above speaking at the dedication ceremony.
A large crowd gathered to attend the official dedication of Kingsley Dam.
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.
Fourth of July is a holiday many spend celebrating at the lake. This year, Johnson Lake events are being held on Saturday, July 5th. The day will begin with the annual boat parade 10:00 a.m. at LakeShore Marina boat docks. Sign up at LakeShore Marina C-Store from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. Immediately following the boat parade prizes will be given out.
There will also be a dock decorating contest on July 5th. Sign-up at LakeShore Marina from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Judging will take place in the afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. with cash prizes. The night will conclude with a wonderful fireworks show on the lake.
As always, please use safety precautions when boating or participating in other lake activities at any lake this weekend.
Above: UNK Students and Professors pose for a group photo with Central’s Holly Rahmann on the shores of Jeffrey Lake.
Students from the University of Nebraska-Kearney recently participated in a tour of Central’s hydro-irrigation project, learning about irrigation, hydroelectric generation, wildlife habitat, recreation, groundwater recharge and – at the end of the tour – how to paddle a canoe.
Ten students and two professors spent two days with Public Relations Coordinator Jeff Buettner and Public Relations Assistant Holly Rahmann. They also heard on-site presentations from Senior Biologist Mark Peyton about wildlife habitat at Jeffrey Island, Gothenburg Division Manager Kevin Boyd at the Gothenburg Control Center, and Kingsley Dam Foreman Nate Nielsen at the Lake McConaughy Visitors Center and the Kingsley Hydroplant.
Above: UNK students listen as Central’s Jeff Buettner explains the operations of the canal system shown.
UNK’s Summer Student Research Program, under Honors Program Director John Falconer, was established in 2002 to provide multi-disciplinary research opportunities to UNK undergraduates. Through this program, students work one-on-one with faculty experts to conduct original scholarly projects in their field of study. The experience increases knowledge in their discipline, improves critical thinking skills, and oral and written communication skills.
The summer program starts with a field trip to begin building a sense of community among the students, and to increase their understanding of south-central Nebraska. A “sense of place” is known to be an important factor in student development. The trip, hosted by Central each year, helps students learn how different audiences understand and use water resources that are vital to our regional economy. They also see how private and public organizations collaborate on important issues.
At the end of the tour, the students piled out of their vans and into canoes for an approximately 7-mile trip down the Supply Canal from just below Midway Lake to Gallagher Canyon Lake.
Above: Students launch canoes and begin their trip down the stretch of canal.
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.
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
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