Urban and rural management of Nebraska's water resources will be examined in a two-day University of Nebraska water and natural resources tour in June.

The June 25 and 26 tour is jointly planned and conducted by NU's Nebraska Water Center, the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, and Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District. The Nebraska Water Center (NWC) is part of NU's Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute.

The tour leaves from and returns to UNL's East Campus in Lincoln but will be based primarily in and around York and Clay Center.

Present and future management of Nebraska's surface and groundwater resources from both rural and urban perspectives will be the tour's main focus.

"In terms of current and future demands and with additional impacts of ongoing drought conditions fresh in everyone's minds, the timing is right to visit these topics in some detail," said tour organizer and retired UNL water resources engineer, Mike Jess.

The annual tour is normally three days, but to keep costs in check and accommodate schedules that sometimes have difficulty fitting-in a three-day tour, organizers thought a two-day format was worth exploring for this year's in-state tour. Traditional July tour dates have also been moved-up to take advantage of the probability of cooler temperatures.

"We've held the tour in June a few times in the past and we're hoping it's a better alternative again in terms of cooler weather. Temperatures for last year's tour in July were pretty uncomfortable," said organizer and NWC communicator Steve Ress.

The tour will encompass several watersheds and look at both rural and urban water management issues. There will be one overnight at York.

Anticipated tour stops include:

  • The Jayne Snyder Trails Center, Lincoln, with discussions hosted by the Lower Platte South NRD on the Antelope Creek flood control and urban development project.
  • Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center near Denton.
  • Monsanto Research Center near Waco for discussions on crop research and genetics.
  • Preferred Sands of Genoa for viewing and discussion of sands used in the fracking industry.
  • Crop demonstration sites and public works water projects in the Upper Big Blue NRD and York areas.
  • Agricultural water management and research projects at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's South Central Agricultural Lab near Clay Center
  • A tour and discussion of the missions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center.
  • A tour of Reinke Manufacturing Co. near Deshler

Registration is $400 per person single occupancy or $350 per person double occupancy. To register, contact Nollette at the Kearney Area Chamber.

Additional tour organizers are Jeff Buettner of Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District and Nollette of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce.

Additional sponsors include Monsanto Company and Nebraska Public Power District.

Mike Jess, Jennie Nollette and Megan Colling at the Jayne Snyder Trails Center in Lincoln.
Mike Jess, Jennie Nollette and Megan Colling at the Jayne Snyder Trails Center in Lincoln.

A view to native prairie at the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center near Denton
A view to native prairie at the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center near Denton

Just a few of the thousands of head of livestock at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center
Just a few of the thousands of head of livestock at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center

Preferred Sands of Genoa ships special sand nationwide that is used in the fracking and glass-making industries.
Preferred Sands of Genoa ships special sand nationwide that is used in the fracking and glass-making industries.