Area of Responsibility: UNL Panhandle Research & Extension District Program Responsibilities: Water management (crops and urban), horticultural topics, and some cropping systems Nebraska Extension Teams: Resistant and Invasive Pests and Efficient Water Use
North Platte River water operations and deliveries are expected to be normal for the 2017 growing season with an expected demand of 1.1 million acre-feet, according to a US Bureau of Reclamation forecast presented at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff April 19.
Ventenata is an invasive grass in Wyoming that is slowly spreading east. If it does migrate to Nebraska, early detection and rapid response will be essential in controlling its establishment. If it were to become established in the Pine Ridge area or Sandhills, it could devastate the ecology and range production.
Growers are encourage to watch for Medusahead, an invasive weed species that is now in Wyoming and moving eastward. If it reaches the Pine Ridge area or Sandhills, it could cause devastating damage to the ecology and range production. The concept of early detection and rapid response, as described here, will be important to its containment.
I usually start reporting on river flows and water reservoirs affecting western Nebraska in early May, but with recent national news about the spillway at the Oroville Dam in California, you may be wondering about the status of snowpack water content and the reservoir levels along the North Platte River in Wyoming.
Minor to moderate lowland flooding is still occurring along the North Platte River from Lewellen west into southeastern Wyoming and will continue for several weeks or months. The areas affected are primarily the river bottom, pasture, and low-lying agricultural production fields. Some areas are near flood stage and others have exceeded flood stage.
A collaboration of management agencies is closely monitoring the situation as reservoirs on the North Platte River in Wyoming fill and water is released. Flooding is likely in an area along the river in western Nebraska for several weeks to several months. Minor to moderate lowland flooding is occurring along the North Platte River from Lewellen west into southeastern Wyoming and will continue for several weeks or months. The areas affected are primarily the river bottom, mostly pasture but some cropland and homes.
Recent storms rolling through southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle have brought considerable moisture to the North Platte River Basin. The typical time for runoff/snowmelt in the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre mountains in southeastern Wyoming is mid-April; however, this year it was delayed several weeks and is just starting.