WRAP members sitting at table

Why organize a WRAP?
Recognizing the critical importance of water to the environmental and economic well-being of our State, the University of Nebraska has had an ongoing commitment to excellence in water resources research, education and outreach for decades. In 2006 the state was facing increasing pressure to address serious water issues as a result of interstate compacts and agreements, state statutes, continuing drought and other factors. With these factors converging, the Water Resources Advisory Panel (WRAP), was created in 2006 to better connect the University with the wisdom of outside experts and those who often rely on NU water-related research, education and outreach to make decisions impacting Nebraska's water resources.

What is the WRAP?
Fifteen individuals representing a cross section of the Nebraska water decision-making community serve on the WRAP to provide guidance to the University of Nebraska on state water research needs, education, and outreach programs. The WRAP is convened by Dr. Mike Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor, UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, NU Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Dr. Bob Wilhelm, UNL Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development. The WRAP generally meets three times a year - in January, April, and September.

Who are the current WRAP members? 

  • Karl Elmshaeuser, Nebraska Environmental Trust
  • Tom Riley, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
  • Jason Farnsworth, Platte River Recovery Implementation Program
  • Eugene Glock, Cedar Bell Farms
  • Mace Hack, The Nature Conservancy, Nebraska
  • Senator Steve Halloran, Chair, Agriculture Committee, District 33, Nebraska Legislature
  • Senator Bruce Bostelman, Chair, Natural Resources Committee, District 23, Nebraska Legislature
  • TBD, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
  • Matt Lukasiewicz, Farwell Irrigation District
  • Jim Macy, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
  • Mike Sousek, Lower Elkhorn NRD
  • Lee Orton, Nebraska Well Drillers Association
  • Jay Rempe, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation
  • Marty Stange, Hastings Utilities
  • Dayle Williamson (retired), Offices of Senator Ben Nelson and Nebraska Natural Resources Commission

Also working closely with the WRAP are Ron Yoder, Associate Vice Chancellor, IANR, and Chittaranjan Ray, Director of the Nebraska Water Center. Rachael Herpel, Assistant Director, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, serves as the liaison and coordinator for Panel activities and for water faculty activities associated with the WRAP.

What the WRAP and the NU Water Faculty have achieved:

Research Priorities - In 2006 the WRAP initiated a comprehensive survey of the state's water research needs and developed a state water research priorities list. The WRAP updated and re-ranked this list in 2009 and re-evaluated needs in 2019.

In 2015 the WRAP affirmed its vision, "water research responsive to Nebraska's needs." WRAP members also reviewed Nebraska's water research priorities and NU's role in addressing these priorities.

Specific Projects - Three projects were developed in direct response to the WRAP's top priorities:

  • Riparian Vegetation Impacts on Water Quantity, Quality, and Stream Ecology. The first year of this project was funded internally by the NU Rural Initiative and IANR. Subsequent funding has been provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust. 
  • Measurement of evapotranspiration, plant physiology, and other surface energy fluxes in relation to tillage practices. Substantial IANR funding for equipment, on top of NUs in-kind funding, enabled this research to get underway. Subsequent funding has been provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
  • The Center Pivot Water Conservation Project was developed in part to address the education and outreach needs identified during the process. Funding has been provided by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and Nebraska's Center Pivot Manufacturers - Lindsay Corporation, Reinke Manufacturing, T-L Irrigation Co., and Valley Irrigation. 

Moving Forward - Significant progress has been made with cooperation from many people, both within the University and from across the state, to better understand state water issues and to collaborate to address water research needs. A remarkable precedent has been set where projects receiving internal NU funds go on to secure state and other funds on a 6 to 1 ratio. The University and the WRAP have built on this success and will continue to work together to address current and future water issues facing Nebraska.

Contact Information - To contact the University about the WRAP, please call or e-mail:

Rachael Herpel - 402-472-4977 or rherpel@nebraska.edu