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. Ronnie Green, Chancellor, Univeristy of Nebrask-Lincoln. The WRAP generally meets three times a year – in January, April, and September.
Who are the current WRAP members?
- Mark Brohman, Nebraska Environmental Trust
- Gordon W. "Jeff" Fassett, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
- Eugene Glock, Cedar Bell Farms
- Mace Hack, The Nature Conservancy, Nebraska
- Senator Steve Halloran, Chair, Agriculture Committee, District 33, Nebraska Legislature
- Senator Dan Hughes, Chair, Natural Resources Committee, District 44, Nebraska Legislature
- Michelle Koch, 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; Monica Norby, Assistant Vice Chancellor, UNL Office of Research & Economic Development; Chittaranjan Ray, Director of the Nebraska Water Center and Derrel Martin, UNL Professor of Biological Systems Engineering and an Extension Specialist in Irrigation and Water Resources Engineering. Rachael Herpel, Assistant Director, 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; these results were then communicated to faculty.
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.
Additional Project Support - The NU Water-Related Research Database was used to identify how faculty's current and completed research applies to each topic. Often in high priority areas, faculty members are already working closely with state agencies and other Nebraska partners to secure local, state and federal funds to implement collaborative projects. Where gaps still remain, collaborative efforts are underway to fill those gaps.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Water Current Articles
Previous summaries of WRAP meetings are available in the Water Current .