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History of Natural Resources Districts in Nebraska

The video above was created to explain the history of how Natural Resources Districts were born and created from Conservation Districts.  Conservation Districts are most commonly used in other states today, but do not have as many capabilities NRDs have in regards to funding and programs. Nebraska Natural Resources Districts are a liaison between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) and the public. 


NRDs provide conservation/education programs and cost-sharing programs to protect lives, property, and the future of generations to come.  These programs help tremendously when natural disasters strike and put a solid plan in place.

Below is a list of the 12 categories NRDs oversee:

1. Development, management, use, and conservation of groundwater 

2. Soil conservation

3. Erosion prevention and control

4. Flood prevention and control

5. Pollution control

6. Water supply for beneficial uses

7. Prevention of damages from flood water and sediment

8. Development and management of recreational and park facilities

9. Forestry and range management

10. Development and management of fish and wildlife habitat

11. Drainage improvement

12. Solid waste disposal

Why are Nebraska Natural Resources Districts so vital and what do they do?

Nebraska Natural Resources Districts are organized by river basin boundaries. There are 23 NRDs across the state of Nebraska and each district has different areas of responsibilities.  The NRDs work hand in hand with other state and federal government agencies such as USDA NRCS, which are located all over the United States.  The NRDs however, are only in Nebraska.  The NRDs are vital to implementing conservation practices for ranchers, farmers, and urban areas.  In the 1940's, Nebraska experienced the Dust Bowl which was devastating and left many people starving.  Because of the fragile environment of the Sandhills and farmland, it is vital that rotational grazing and farming practices are implemented so the top layer of soil and sand is protected and not over exposed or lost. 

The Ogallala Aquifer is located underground in parts of western NE and is used to irrigate crops and provide water for people and livestock.  If the water is not used sparingly, this could potentially hurt the health of the aquifer, reducing water for future generations.  This is where the NRD's come in. TPNRD specifically helps farmers and ranchers with providing water programs to help them know how much water they are using.  TPNRD also provides cost-share programs, and helps design windbreaks to protect livestock and property in areas of harsh wind and cold weather, as well as grassland/rangeland programs.