What are Natural Resources Districts?
The Nebraska Legislature enacted laws in 1972 to combine 154 special purpose entities into 24 Natural Resources Districts. A merger in 1989 reduced that number to 23 Natural Resources Districts. These Districts are unique to Nebraska. Natural Resources Districts are local government units with broad responsibilities to conserve and protect natural resources. Major Nebraska river basins form the boundaries, enabling Districts to respond best to local needs.
Power & Authorities:
Each Natural Resources District has the power and authority to levy a tax, with limits, for each one hundred dollars of taxable property. The levy limit established by State Statute Section 77-3442 for Natural Resources Districts is 4.5 Cents; plus up to 1.0 cent for ground water management activities as allowed by State Statute Section 2-3225, plus 3.0 cents for ground water management activities for Natural Resources Districts designated as fully appropriated or over appropriated as allowed by State Statute Section 2-3225. The Twin Platte Natural Resources District was designated as fully appropriated and over appropriated in 2004. The money from the tax is used along with other funding sources (cost-share programs, grants, and special assessments) for Twin Platte Natural Resources District operations.
Natural Resources Districts can offer technical and financial assistance to public and private cooperators for activities that support Natural Resources Districts stated purposes. Natural Resources Districts can provide specialized equipment materials and services to landowners that are not otherwise readily available, and assist them in soil and water conservation. Natural Resources Districts have the necessary authorities to manage the ground water resources to insure the future sustainability of the ground water. By cooperating with, combining, and administering funds of other state, local, and federal agencies, Natural Resources Districts provide a wide variety of services to protect Nebraska’s natural resources.
A locally elected board of directors governs the Natural Resources Districts. The Twin Platte Natural Resources District has 11 board members from Arthur and Keith Counties, the northern two-thirds of Lincoln County, and the western two-thirds of McPherson County. Elected sub-district 1 represents the Sandhills region and a part of the City of North Platte; sub-district 2 represents the canyonlands and harder rangelands of southern Lincoln County, the croplands of east central and northeast Lincoln County, and a part of the City of North Platte; sub-district 3 represents a part of the City of North Platte; sub-district 4 represents the North Platte River and South Platte River Valleys in Lincoln County and a part of the City of North Platte; and sub-district 5 represents the cropland of southern and western Keith County and the City of Ogallala.