Why organize a WRAP?
Recognizing the critical importance of water to the environmental and economic well-being of our State, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 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, multi-year drought, and other factors. With these factors converging, the Water Resources Advisory Panel (WRAP), was created 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 with a focus on water conservation and water quality.
Currently there is increased public awareness of elevated nitrate concentrations in aquifers in the state, and there are intense ongoing discussions about water quality. The WRAP was reconstituted in early 2023 to better participate in these discussions.
What is the WRAP?
Seventeen 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, the NU Vice President and IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor, and Dr. Jeff Gold, Chancellor, University of Nebraska Medical Center. The WRAP generally meets three times a year.
Who are the current WRAP members?
- Bruce Bostelman, Senator Chair, Natural Resources Committee, Nebraska Legislature
- Kelly Brunkhorst, Executive Director, Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA)
- John Cougher, State Director, The Nature Conservancy Nebraska Field Office (TNC)
- Dean Edson, Executive Director, Nebraska Association of Resource Districts (NRDs)
- Laura Field, Executive Vice President, Nebraska Cattlemen
- Steve Halloran, Senator Chair, Agriculture Committee, Nebraska Legislature
- Robert Lawson, State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
- Jim Macy, Director, Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy (NDEE)
- Peter McCornick, Executive Director, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute (DWFI)
- Tim McCoy, Director, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC)
- Mark McHargue, President, Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB)
- Scott Merritt, President, Nebraska Agribusiness Association
- Tom Riley, Director, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR)
- Dannette Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
- Sherry Vinton, Director, Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA)
- Jeff Gold*, NU Executive Vice President and Provost, UNMC Chancellor, University of Nebraska and University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
- Mike Boehm*, NU Vice President and IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources - UNL (IANR)
Also working closely with the WRAP is Ron Yoder, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, IANR, and Chittaranjan Ray, Director of the Nebraska Water Center. Alesia Zaruba serves as the liaison and coordinator for Panel activities.