The project is a result of Upper Republican's purchase in early 2011 of 3,260 irrigated acres several miles north of Parks near what used to be the headwaters of Rock Creek. By retiring the land from irrigated production, the NRD is able to increase streamflows by using water that otherwise would have been pumped on the land and consumed by crops. Ten wells on the property are plumbed together and connected to a main 24-inch pipeline that is about seven miles long. The end of the pipeline is located a little more than a mile north of the Rock Creek Fish Hatchery, which contributes to the production of nearly half of the trout stocked throughout Nebraska.
Restoration of grass on the previously irrigated cropland is being funded with a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, which is funded by proceeds from the Nebraska Lottery. The NRD applied for a NET grant and was awarded a $735,000 this year with the potential to receive another $105,000 next year.
Four NRDs--Upper, Middle, Lower Republican NRDs and the Twin Platte NRD--are working on a much larger streamflow enhancement project in Lincoln County. A lawsuit filed by Frenchman Cambridge Irrigation District and Bostwick Irrigation District has temporarily delayed the project.
For more information about the Rock Creek project, contact the Upper Republican NRD at 308-882-5173.
Source: Upper Republican NRD