July 31, 2009
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has awarded $500,000 in grant funds for a project to address riparian vegetation overgrowth in the Platte River basin. The project addresses invasive vegetation on approximately 130 river miles from Ogallala to Columbus.
NDA Director Greg Ibach said the project represents a continued effort toward improving the health of riparian areas and streamflow.
“The goal of this project is to address overgrowth of noxious weeds, including Saltcedar and phragmites,” Ibach said. “By removing these moisture-robbing invasive species, the streamflow, habitat, and even recreational opportunities, will improve.”
The grant proposal was submitted by the West Central and Platte Valley Weed Management Areas based out of Kearney. Their project is entitled, “Invasive Species Control within the Central Platte River Channels.”
The grant was funded as part of the Riparian Vegetation Management Grant Program, which was created in LB 701, and continued by LB 98, the comprehensive water legislation signed into law earlier this year by Governor Dave Heineman. The legislation authorizes $2 million annually for the program, but $500,000 was appropriated for fiscal year 2009-2010.
Ibach said NDA is working with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission on the grant award so the grant recipient is aware of wildlife and habitat concerns within the project area. Game and Parks is charged in LB 98 with assisting grant recipients with implementing their projects.
Including the above grant, NDA has awarded 10 grants for multiple projects through this program over the past three years. The total grant money issued by NDA has been approximately $4,380,000. For more information on the projects, please visit: http://www.agr.ne.gov/riparian/grant_program_addendum08.pdf.
Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA)