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Nebraska NRD Board: Upper Big Blue, Dist 5

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  • Kendall J Siebert
    (NP)

  • Merlin Volkmer
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What steps will you take to prepare for changes in climate trends that affect Natural Resource District management?

What educational actions will you advocate for your district's students and adults regarding the changing climate?

How do you address the concerns of citizens and developers who want access to NRD projects?

Has your district tested its water for nitrate levels? If its concentration is found higher than the federal limit of 10 ppm, how would you recommended remedying the situation?

If elected, what would be your first year priorities? Please detail.

Education Have a bachelor's degree in biology with an emphasis on ecology
Current Public Office, dates held None
Past Public Office, dates held None
Military experience None
Volunteer experience Multiple church related activities cleaning up after flooded areas ànd tornado impacted areas. Have assisted in yard clean up for people who have trouble doing it themselves. Volunteer at county Fair and spring shows to help line up classes.
Address Henderson NE
Marital Status Married
Age 35
Weather along with resource availability can vary greatly in our area so I think to best course of action to dealing with those changes is paying attention to how they are impacting our residents and listening to the problems people are having in their local area. Whether it is water shortages in low water areas or a demand for more public Access areas for residents usually there are people being impacted by those things so keeping in touch with your residents and being aware of changes as they are happening will give us time to make decisions to help decrease the impacts of those changes. This will also allow us to prepare as best as possible for the uncertain future.
Many of the challenges we face managing resources come from climate change whether globally or locally and certainly locally can impact us dramatically from one year to the next. I think the NRD should get students more involved in research opportunities getting them out into nature or on a farm or ranch this will allow them to see how much weather impacts what people can and cannot do from one year to the next as well as providing good science learning opportunities and a good work force for accomplishing goals. If you want to understand the impacts of weather on natural resources it is best to see it first hand. We need to be connected to each other to understand why certain things are significant.
There are a lot of stakeholders involved in NRD projects and I think communication will be the most important attribute to keeping up with everyone's concerns and ideas. The public has a right to know what is going on and the developers need to understand the goals of the project and how much they need to be involved or not involved. The NRD also needs to keep up with what development is taking place and what impacts it might have on our people as well as resources. Public meetings are important for keeping in touch with citizens but communicating with individuals in your daily life is important as well to get input from people who are not as comfortable in a public setting.
Yes our district has tested it's water for nitrates and there are communities who are currently dealing with the nitrates being above 10ppm and as of now there are certain limits to what the NRD can do since they are not allowed to provide financial assistance on a homeowner by homeowner basis. As for now helping communities with the paperwork process for getting grants and getting good trackable data of nitrate movements in the groundwater will be some of the best practices. Large scale water treatment plant a and new well drilling and different well packing techniques are all tools to produce safe drinking water in a reasonable amount of time and whatever cost share, contact information, and knowledge that the NRD has to offer should be provided as best as possible. Also need to find areas of continued nitrate leaching and work with land owners through education, research and cooperation to help solve their problem.
The majority of my focus for my first year would be getting to know all the board members personally and figuring out where they are coming from with their beliefs on certain issues and trying to connect with as many people involved in the NRD as possible. Also try to get a greater involvement from the public in the NRD and their activities, projects, and meetings. If I do not understand the people and problems I am going to be dealing with I will be of no use to the people I am representing. So trying to get a better understanding of the people I represent as well as the board members I will be working with will be my main focus.
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