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"The NRD is multi-purpose so we get involved in several things. Water management, groundwater management, in particular, is one of our primary jobs at this particular Natural Resource District. But we also get involved in soil and water conservation work, flood control works. [We] get involved in wildlife habitat work and in recreation development with multi-purpose dams. But yes, water management is top…
     "In the United States, this is the only animal like it in any state. We're the only state that has them. So everybody was learning on the go when districts started…
     "The funding base for a Natural Resource District is property tax, both rural and urban. In our particular case at the upper Big Blue Natural Resource District, the property tax amounts to about half or 60 percent of our annual revenue. The rest comes from grants and outside monies working with other agencies for projects. So, we literally use the property tax as leverage to get grants and to get other funds. The property tax amounts to about one and a half percent of an individual's property tax whether its farmland or property in town…
     "We have worked a lot with cities, particularly in the last five or eight years on urban problems. As a good example, we've worked with the city of Seward on a flood plain buy-out on Plum Creek on the east side of town which had a flooding problem for years…
     "On the agriculture side, of course, the one that draws the most fire is groundwater management, groundwater regulation. We've been in that since 1978 with some type of regulation in this district…
     "We have a million acres irrigated at this Natural Resource District. We're one of 23 districts. The state has about eight million irrigated acres total, eight to eight-and-a-half million. So, one million of that, 15 percent of the state's irrigated land is in this Natural Resource District. There is more land irrigated by groundwater in this Natural Resource District than there is irrigated by surface water (which is reservoirs and streams) statewide."

John Turnbull – Natural Resource Districts

   

Other Excerpts from John Turnbull’s Interview:

John in Vietnam
Anti-War Protests
Consumer Preferences
Water Quality
Surface & Groundwater