61-101. Transferred to section 25-21,270.

61-102. Transferred to section 25-21,271.

61-103. Transferred to section 25-21,272.

61-104. Transferred to section 25-21,273.

61-105. Transferred to section 23-1313.

61-201. Director of Natural Resources; qualifications.

The Director of Natural Resources shall be qualified by training and business experience to manage and supervise the Department of Natural Resources. The director shall be a professional engineer as provided in the Engineers and Architects Regulation Act and have had at least five years' experience in a position of responsibility in irrigation work.

Source:Laws 1957, c. 365, § 19, p. 1241; Laws 1959, c. 219, § 2, p. 767; Laws 1969, c. 386, § 1, p. 1355; Laws 1997, LB 622, § 75; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-701; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 1.    


Cross References

61-202. Director of Natural Resources; employment of personnel.

The Director of Natural Resources may employ such personnel, including legal and technical advisors, as necessary to carry out the duties required of the director.

Source:Laws 1957, c. 365, § 20, p. 1241; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-702; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 2.    


61-203. Director of Natural Resources; seal; certified copies of records; admissibility as evidence.

The Director of Natural Resources shall adopt a seal. Copies of all records or other instruments in the Department of Natural Resources when certified by the department as true copies and bearing the seal thereof shall be received in any court as prima facie evidence of the original record or instruments.

Source:Laws 1957, c. 365, § 21, p. 1241; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-703; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 3.    


61-204. Department of Natural Resources; rules and regulations.

(1) The Director of Natural Resources may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for the Department of Natural Resources except to the extent such power is statutorily granted to the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. The director shall administer rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the commission.

(2) The rules, regulations, and orders of the Director of Water Resources, the Department of Water Resources, and the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission shall remain in effect unless changed or eliminated by the Director of Natural Resources or the Department of Natural Resources or by the commission to the extent such power is statutorily granted to the commission.

Source:Laws 1957, c. 365, § 22, p. 1241; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-704; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 4.    


61-205. Department of Natural Resources; general grant of authority.

The Department of Natural Resources shall exercise the powers and perform the duties assigned to the Department of Water Resources prior to July 1, 2000. The Department of Natural Resources shall exercise the powers and perform the duties assigned to the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission prior to July 1, 2000, except as otherwise specifically provided.

The Director of Natural Resources and his or her duly authorized assistants shall have access at all reasonable times to all dams, reservoirs, hydroelectric plants, water measuring devices, and headgates, and other devices for diverting water, for the purpose of performing the duties assigned to the department.

Source:Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 1, p. 834; C.S.1922, § 8420; C.S.1929, § 81-6301; R.S.1943, § 46-208; Laws 1973, LB 186, § 1; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-208; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 5;    Laws 2006, LB 1226, § 29.    


Annotations

61-206. Department of Natural Resources; jurisdiction; rules and regulations; hearings; orders; powers and duties.

(1) The Department of Natural Resources is given jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to water rights for irrigation, power, or other useful purposes except as such jurisdiction is specifically limited by statute. The department may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing matters coming before it. It may refuse to allow any water to be used by claimants until their rights have been determined and made of record. It may request information relative to irrigation and water power works from any county, irrigation, or power officers and from any other persons. It may have hearings on complaints, petitions, or applications in connection with any of such matters. Such hearings shall be had at the time and place designated by the department. The department shall have power to certify official acts, compel attendance of witnesses, take testimony by deposition as in suits at law, and examine books, papers, documents, and records of any county, party, or parties interested in any of the matters mentioned in this section or have such examinations made by its qualified representative and shall make and preserve a true and complete transcript of its proceedings and hearings. If a final decision is made without a hearing, a hearing shall be held at the request of any party to the proceeding if the request is made within thirty days after the decision is rendered. If a hearing is held at the request of one or more parties, the department may require each such requesting party and each person who requests to be made a party to such hearing to pay the proportional share of the cost of such transcript. Upon any hearing, the department shall receive any evidence relevant to the matter under investigation and the burden of proof shall be upon the person making the complaint, petition, and application. After such hearing and investigation, the department shall render a decision in the premises in writing and shall issue such order or orders duly certified as it may deem necessary.

(2) The department shall serve as the official agency of the state in connection with water resources development, soil and water conservation, flood prevention, watershed protection, and flood control.

(3) The department shall:

(a) Offer assistance as appropriate to the supervisors or directors of any subdivision of government with responsibilities in the area of natural resources conservation, development, and use in the carrying out of any of their powers and programs;

(b) Keep the supervisors or directors of each such subdivision informed of the activities and experience of all other such subdivisions and facilitate cooperation and an interchange of advice and experience between such subdivisions;

(c) Coordinate the programs of such subdivisions so far as this may be done by advice and consultation;

(d) Secure the cooperation and assistance of the United States, any of its agencies, and agencies of this state in the work of such subdivisions;

(e) Disseminate information throughout the state concerning the activities and programs of such subdivisions;

(f) Plan, develop, and promote the implementation of a comprehensive program of resource development, conservation, and utilization for the soil and water resources of this state in cooperation with other local, state, and federal agencies and organizations;

(g) When necessary for the proper administration of the functions of the department, rent or lease space outside the State Capitol; and

(h) Assist such local governmental organizations as villages, cities, counties, and natural resources districts in securing, planning, and developing information on flood plains to be used in developing regulations and ordinances on proper use of these flood plains.

Source:Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 14, p. 839; C.S.1922, § 8433; C.S.1929, § 81-6314; R.S.1943, § 46-209; Laws 1957, c. 197, § 1, p. 695; Laws 1959, c. 219, § 1, p. 766; Laws 1981, LB 109, § 1; Laws 1984, LB 897, § 2; Laws 1984, LB 1106, § 36; Laws 1991, LB 772, § 4; Laws 1995, LB 350, § 1; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-209; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 6;    Laws 2004, LB 962, § 102;    Laws 2008, LB727, § 1;    Laws 2019, LB319, § 3.    


Annotations

61-207. Department of Natural Resources; decisions; appeal; time; procedure.

If any county, party, or parties interested in irrigation or water power work affected thereby are dissatisfied with the decision or with any order adopted, such dissatisfied county, party, or parties may appeal to the Court of Appeals to reverse, vacate, or modify the order complained of. The procedure to obtain such reversal, modification, or vacation of any such decision or order upon which a hearing has been had before the Department of Natural Resources shall be governed by the same provisions in force with reference to appeals and error proceedings from the district court. The evidence presented before the department as reported by its official stenographer and reduced to writing, together with a transcript of the record and pleadings upon which the decision is based, duly certified in such case under the seal of the department, shall constitute the complete record and the evidence upon which the case shall be presented to the appellate court. The time for perfecting such appeal shall be limited to thirty days after the rendition of such decision or order, and the appellate court shall advance such appeal to the head of its docket.

Source:Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 15, p. 840; C.S.1922, § 8434; C.S.1929, § 81-6315; R.S.1943, § 46-210; Laws 1961, c. 227, § 1, p. 671; Laws 1973, LB 186, § 2; Laws 1984, LB 897, § 3; Laws 1987, LB 33, § 9; Laws 1991, LB 732, § 105; Laws 1992, LB 360, § 12; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-210; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 7.    


Cross References

Annotations

61-208. Department of Natural Resources; powers; survey of streams.

The Department of Natural Resources may make surveys of streams showing location of possible water power developments and irrigation projects.

Source:Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 30, p. 845; C.S.1922, § 8449; C.S.1929, § 81-6330; R.S.1943, § 46-212; Laws 1984, LB 897, § 4; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-212; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 8.    


61-209. Department of Natural Resources; powers; water data collection; fee.

The Department of Natural Resources may conduct special projects for water data collection on behalf of other state agencies, political subdivisions, or federal agencies. Such data shall be public information. The department may charge a fee to cover in whole or in part the costs of collecting, analyzing, and publishing the data and such fees shall be deposited in the Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund.

Source:Laws 1983, LB 33, § 1; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-212.01; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 9.    


61-210. Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund; created; use; investment.

The Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund is created. The State Treasurer shall credit to such fund such money as is specifically appropriated or reappropriated by the Legislature. The State Treasurer shall also credit such fund with payments, if any, accepted for services rendered by the department and fees collected pursuant to subsection (6) of section 46-606 and section 61-209. The funds made available to the Department of Natural Resources by the United States, through the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture or through any other agencies, shall be credited to the fund by the State Treasurer. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act. The Department of Natural Resources shall allocate money from the fund to pay costs of the programs or activities of the department. The Director of Administrative Services, upon receipt of proper vouchers approved by the department, shall issue warrants on the fund, and the State Treasurer shall countersign and pay from, but never in excess of, the amounts to the credit of the fund. Transfers may be made from the fund to the General Fund at the direction of the Legislature.

Source:Laws 1937, c. 8, § 13, p. 109; C.S.Supp.,1941, § 2-1913; R.S.1943, § 2-1547; Laws 1959, c. 6, § 25, p. 90; Laws 1969, c. 584, § 28, p. 2358; Laws 1973, LB 188, § 2; Laws 1987, LB 29, § 2; Laws 1995, LB 7, § 6; Laws 1999, LB 403, § 2;    R.S.Supp.,1999, § 2-1547; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 10;    Laws 2001, LB 667, § 26;    Laws 2002, LB 458, § 8;    Laws 2005, LB 335, § 81;    Laws 2007, LB701, § 26;    Laws 2009, First Spec. Sess., LB3, § 38.    


Cross References

61-211. Department of Natural Resources; powers; measuring devices; gauge height reports; requirements; violation; penalty.

The Department of Natural Resources may direct managers or operators of interstate ditches to construct and maintain suitable measuring devices at or near the state line in Nebraska. A manager or operator shall within thirty days after receipt of notice from the department construct and complete installation of such a measuring device and shall furnish daily gauge height reports to the department from the beginning to the end of the irrigation season, in such form and manner as recommended by the department. Failure of any manager or operator of an interstate ditch to comply with this section shall be a Class V misdemeanor.

Source:Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 31, p. 846; C.S.1922, § 8450; C.S.1929, § 81-6331; R.S.1943, § 46-213; Laws 1977, LB 40, § 256; Laws 1991, LB 276, § 1; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-213; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 11.    


61-212. Water divisions; denomination.

The State of Nebraska is hereby divided into two water divisions, denominated water division No. 1 and water division No. 2, respectively.

Source:Laws 1895, c. 69, § 1, p. 244; R.S.1913, § 3378; Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 1, § 10, p. 833; C.S.1922, § 8415; C.S.1929, § 46-510; R.S.1943, § 46-215; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-215; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 12.    


Annotations

61-213. Water division No. 1; boundaries.

Water division No. 1 shall consist of (1) all the lands of the state drained by the Platte Rivers and their tributaries lying west of the mouth of the Loup River and (2) all other lands lying south of the Platte and South Platte Rivers that may be watered from other superficial or subterranean streams not tributary to the Platte River.

Source:Laws 1895, c. 69, § 2, p. 244; R.S.1913, § 3379; Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 1, § 11, p. 833; C.S.1922, § 8416; C.S.1929, § 46-511; R.S.1943, § 46-216; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-216; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 13.    


61-214. Water division No. 2; boundaries.

Water division No. 2 shall consist of (1) all lands that may be watered from the Loup, White, Niobrara, and Elkhorn Rivers and their tributaries and (2) all other lands of the state not included in any other water division.

Source:Laws 1895, c. 69, § 3, p. 245; Laws 1911, c. 153, § 2, p. 498; R.S.1913, § 3380; Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 1, § 12, p. 833; C.S.1922, § 8417; C.S.1929, § 46-512; R.S.1943, § 46-217; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-217; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 14.    


Annotations

61-215. Water divisions; division supervisors.

There shall be one or more division supervisors acting for the Department of Natural Resources to administer the public water of the state in the water divisions created by section 61-212. Such a division supervisor, acting for the department, shall have the immediate direction and control of the distribution of water in such manner as directed by the department.

Source:Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 3, p. 834; C.S.1922, § 8422; C.S.1929, § 81-6303; R.S.1943, § 46-218; Laws 1953, c. 157, § 1, p. 495; Laws 1987, LB 140, § 2; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-218; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 15.    


61-216. Water divisions; division supervisors; duties.

The division supervisor or supervisors shall, under the direction of the Department of Natural Resources, see that the laws relative to the distribution of water are executed in accordance with the rights of priority of appropriation.

Source:Laws 1919, c. 190, tit. VII, art. V, div. 2, § 4, p. 835; C.S.1922, § 8423; C.S.1929, § 81-6304; R.S.1943, § 46-219; Laws 1953, c. 157, § 2, p. 495; R.S.1943, (1998), § 46-219; Laws 2000, LB 900, § 16.    


Annotations

61-217. Repealed. Laws 2010, LB 682, § 1.

61-218. Water Resources Cash Fund; created; use; investment; eligibility for funding; annual report; contents; Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund; grant application; use of funds; legislative intent; department; establish subaccount.

(1) The Water Resources Cash Fund is created. The fund shall be administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.

(2) The State Treasurer shall credit to the fund such money as is (a) transferred to the fund by the Legislature, (b) paid to the state as fees, deposits, payments, and repayments relating to the fund, both principal and interest, (c) donated as gifts, bequests, or other contributions to such fund from public or private entities, (d) made available by any department or agency of the United States if so directed by such department or agency, (e) allocated pursuant to section 81-15,175, and (f) received by the state for settlement of claims regarding Colorado's past use of water under the Republican River Compact.

(3) The fund shall be expended by the department (a) to aid management actions taken to reduce consumptive uses of water or to enhance streamflows or ground water recharge in river basins, subbasins, or reaches which are deemed by the department overappropriated pursuant to section 46-713 or fully appropriated pursuant to section 46-714 or are bound by an interstate compact or decree or a formal state contract or agreement, (b) for purposes of projects or proposals described in the grant application as set forth in subdivision (2)(h) of section 81-15,175, and (c) to the extent funds are not expended pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) of this subsection, the department may conduct a statewide assessment of short-term and long-term water management activities and funding needs to meet statutory requirements in sections 46-713 to 46-718 and 46-739 and any requirements of an interstate compact or decree or formal state contract or agreement. The fund shall not be used to pay for administrative expenses or any salaries for the department or any political subdivision.

(4) It is the intent of the Legislature that three million three hundred thousand dollars be transferred each fiscal year from the General Fund to the Water Resources Cash Fund for FY2011-12 through FY2022-23, except that for FY2012-13 it is the intent of the Legislature that four million seven hundred thousand dollars be transferred from the General Fund to the Water Resources Cash Fund. It is the intent of the Legislature that the State Treasurer credit any money received from any Republican River Compact settlement to the Water Resources Cash Fund in the fiscal year in which it is received.

(5)(a) Expenditures from the Water Resources Cash Fund may be made to natural resources districts eligible under subsection (3) of this section for activities to either achieve a sustainable balance of consumptive water uses or assure compliance with an interstate compact or decree or a formal state contract or agreement and shall require a match of local funding in an amount equal to or greater than forty percent of the total cost of carrying out the eligible activity. The department shall, no later than August 1 of each year, beginning in 2007, determine the amount of funding that will be made available to natural resources districts from the Water Resources Cash Fund and notify natural resources districts of this determination. The department shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing application for and use of the Water Resources Cash Fund by natural resources districts. Such rules and regulations shall, at a minimum, include the following components:

(i) Require an explanation of how the planned activity will achieve a sustainable balance of consumptive water uses or will assure compliance with an interstate compact or decree or a formal state contract or agreement as required by section 46-715 and the controls, rules, and regulations designed to carry out the activity; and

(ii) A schedule of implementation of the activity or its components, including the local match as set forth in subdivision (5)(a) of this section.

(b) Any natural resources district that fails to implement and enforce its controls, rules, and regulations as required by section 46-715 shall not be eligible for funding from the Water Resources Cash Fund until it is determined by the department that compliance with the provisions required by section 46-715 has been established.

(6) The Department of Natural Resources shall submit electronically an annual report to the Legislature no later than October 1 of each year, beginning in the year 2007, that shall detail the use of the Water Resources Cash Fund in the previous year. The report shall provide:

(a) Details regarding the use and cost of activities carried out by the department; and

(b) Details regarding the use and cost of activities carried out by each natural resources district that received funds from the Water Resources Cash Fund.

(7)(a) Prior to the application deadline for fiscal year 2011-12, the Department of Natural Resources shall apply for a grant of nine million nine hundred thousand dollars from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, to be paid out in three annual installments of three million three hundred thousand dollars. The purposes listed in the grant application shall be consistent with the uses of the Water Resources Cash Fund provided in this section and shall be used to aid management actions taken to reduce consumptive uses of water, to enhance streamflows, to recharge ground water, or to support wildlife habitat in any river basin determined to be fully appropriated pursuant to section 46-714 or designated as overappropriated pursuant to section 46-713.

(b) If the application is granted, funds received from such grant shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for credit to the Water Resources Cash Fund for the purpose of supporting the projects set forth in the grant application. The department shall include in its grant application documentation that the Legislature has authorized a transfer of three million three hundred thousand dollars from the General Fund into the Water Resources Cash Fund for each of fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13 and has stated its intent to transfer three million three hundred thousand dollars to the Water Resources Cash Fund for fiscal year 2013-14.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department apply for an additional three-year grant that would begin in fiscal year 2014-15, an additional three-year grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund that would begin in fiscal year 2017-18, and an additional three-year grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund that would begin in fiscal year 2020-21 if the criteria established in subsection (4) of section 81-15,175 are achieved.

(8) The department shall establish a subaccount within the Water Resources Cash Fund for the accounting of all money received as a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund as the result of an application made pursuant to subsection (7) of this section. At the end of each calendar month, the department shall calculate the amount of interest earnings accruing to the subaccount and shall notify the State Treasurer who shall then transfer a like amount from the Water Resources Cash Fund to the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund.

Source:Laws 2007, LB701, § 25;    Laws 2009, First Spec. Sess., LB3, § 39;    Laws 2010, LB689, § 1;    Laws 2010, LB993, § 1;    Laws 2011, LB229, § 1;    Laws 2012, LB782, § 87;    Laws 2012, LB950, § 1;    Laws 2017, LB331, § 30;    Laws 2018, LB945, § 15;    Laws 2019, LB298, § 15.    


Cross References

61-219. Repealed. Laws 2010, LB 683, § 1.

61-220. Repealed. Laws 2016, LB665, § 1.

61-221. Repealed. Laws 2016, LB665, § 1.

61-222. Water Sustainability Fund; created; use; investment.

The Water Sustainability Fund is created in the Department of Natural Resources. The fund shall be used in accordance with the provisions established in sections 2-1506 to 2-1513 and for costs directly related to the administration of the fund. The Legislature shall not appropriate or transfer money from the Water Sustainability Fund for any other purpose, except that transfers may be made from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund and as a one-time transfer to the General Fund as described in this section.

The Water Sustainability Fund shall consist of money transferred to the fund by the Legislature, other funds as appropriated by the Legislature, and money donated as gifts, bequests, or other contributions from public or private entities. Funds made available by any department or agency of the United States may also be credited to the fund if so directed by such department or agency. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act. Investment earnings from investment of money in the fund shall be credited to the fund.

It is the intent of the Legislature that twenty-one million dollars be transferred from the General Fund to the Water Sustainability Fund in fiscal year 2014-15 and that eleven million dollars be transferred from the General Fund to the Water Sustainability Fund each fiscal year beginning in fiscal year 2015-16.

The State Treasurer shall transfer one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund on or before June 30, 2021, on such dates and in such amounts as directed by the budget administrator of the budget division of the Department of Administrative Services.

The State Treasurer shall transfer four hundred twenty-five thousand dollars from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund on or before June 30, 2021, on such dates and in such amounts as directed by the budget administrator of the budget division of the Department of Administrative Services.

The State Treasurer shall transfer five hundred thousand dollars from the Water Sustainability Fund to the General Fund on or before June 30, 2021, on such dates and in such amounts as directed by the budget administrator of the budget division of the Department of Administrative Services.

The State Treasurer shall transfer four hundred seventy-five thousand dollars from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund on or before June 30, 2022, on such dates and in such amounts as directed by the budget administrator of the budget division of the Department of Administrative Services.

The State Treasurer shall transfer four hundred seventy-five thousand dollars from the Water Sustainability Fund to the Department of Natural Resources Cash Fund on or before June 30, 2023, on such dates and in such amounts as directed by the budget administrator of the budget division of the Department of Administrative Services.

Source:Laws 2014, LB906, § 7;    Laws 2015, LB661, § 31;    Laws 2020, LB1009, § 4;    Laws 2021, LB384, § 9;    Laws 2021, LB507, § 6.    


Cross References

61-223. Water Sustainability Fund; legislative intent.

The Legislature finds that water sustainability programs, projects, and activities are complex, multiyear endeavors that require a stable source of state funding support in order for the required matching funds to be secured and for projects to be completed in a timely and successful manner. It is the intent of the Legislature that transfers of money from the General Fund to the Water Sustainability Fund be maintained at the level established in section 61-222 for a minimum of ten fiscal years.

Source:Laws 2015, LB661, § 20.    


61-224. Critical Infrastructure Facilities Cash Fund; created; use; investment; transfers.

There is hereby created the Critical Infrastructure Facilities Cash Fund in the Department of Natural Resources. The fund shall consist of funds appropriated or transferred by the Legislature. The fund shall be used by the Department of Natural Resources (1) to provide a grant to a natural resources district to offset costs related to soil and water improvements intended to protect critical infrastructure facilities within the district which includes military installations, transportation routes, and wastewater treatment facilities and (2) to provide a grant to an irrigation district for reimbursement of costs related to temporary repairs to the main canal and tunnels of an interstate irrigation system which experienced a failure. Any funds remaining after all such project costs have been completely funded shall be transferred to the General Fund. Transfers may be made from the Critical Infrastructure Facilities Cash Fund to the General Fund at the direction of the Legislature. The State Treasurer shall transfer three hundred eighty-four thousand two hundred twenty-two dollars plus any accrued interest through April 5, 2018, from the Critical Infrastructure Facilities Cash Fund to the General Fund on or before June 30, 2019, on such dates and in such amounts as directed by the budget administrator of the budget division of the Department of Administrative Services. Any money in the Critical Infrastructure Facilities Cash Fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act, and any interest earned by the fund shall be credited to the General Fund.

Source:Laws 2016, LB957, § 21;    Laws 2018, LB945, § 16;    Laws 2020, LB1009, § 5.    


Cross References

61-225. State flood mitigation plan; legislative findings.

The Legislature finds and declares that the State of Nebraska experienced a historic flood event in 2019. This flood event significantly impacted numerous communities and individual Nebraskans. Coordination and communication between state and local entities implementing flood mitigation strategies is essential to maximize federal funds for flood mitigation efforts.

Source:Laws 2020, LB632, § 9.    


61-226. State flood mitigation plan; scope.

The Department of Natural Resources shall develop a state flood mitigation plan as a stand-alone document to be annexed into the state hazard mitigation plan maintained by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. Such plan shall be structured in accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines, and shall be comprehensive, collaborative, and statewide in scope with opportunities for input from diverse stakeholders.

Source:Laws 2020, LB632, § 10.    


61-227. State flood mitigation plan; plan development group; engage federal, state, and local agencies and other sources.

The Department of Natural Resources shall convene a plan development group which shall be housed and staffed for administrative purposes within such department. The Department of Natural Resources shall engage with federal, state, and local agency and community stakeholders in the development of the state flood mitigation plan, including, but not limited to, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environment and Energy, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, natural resources districts, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Geological Survey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the University of Nebraska, representatives of counties, municipalities, and other political subdivisions, and the Natural Resources Committee of the Legislature. The Department of Natural Resources may engage other sources to provide technical expertise as needed.

Source:Laws 2020, LB632, § 11.    


61-228. State flood mitigation plan; department; duties.

The Department of Natural Resources shall:

(1) Evaluate the flood issues that occurred in 2019, and identify cost-effective flood mitigation strategies that should be adopted to reduce the disruption of lives and livelihoods and prioritize making Nebraska communities more resilient;

(2) Identify opportunities to implement flood hazard mitigation strategies with the intent to reduce the impact of flood events;

(3) Work to improve knowledge and understanding of available recovery resources while identifying potential gaps in current disaster program delivery;

(4) Identify potential available funding sources that can be accessed to improve the resilience of the state through flood mitigation and post-flood disaster recovery. The funding sources shall include, but not be limited to, assistance from (a) the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grant Program, Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Public Assistance Program, and Individual Assistance Program, (b) the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program and Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, and (c) programs of the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Identification of such funding sources shall be in addition to grants and cost-sharing programs available through other agencies that support flood hazard mitigation planning in communities;

(5) Compile a centralized list of critical infrastructure and state-owned facilities and identify those with the highest risk of flooding. In compiling such list, the Department of Natural Resources shall consult and collaborate with other state and local agencies that have information that identifies vulnerable facilities;

(6) Evaluate state laws, rules, regulations, policies, and programs related to flood hazard mitigation and development in flood hazard-prone areas to support the state's administration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program, Community Rating System, and Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning Program;

(7) Examine existing law and, if necessary, recommend statutory or administrative changes to help ensure collaboration and coordination between state and local entities in statewide flood mitigation planning; and

(8) Hold two public hearings, one prior to the first state flood mitigation plan development meeting and one prior to the completion of such plan. Notice of each hearing shall be published at least thirty days prior to the hearing date.

Source:Laws 2020, LB632, § 12.    


61-229. State flood mitigation plan; report.

The state flood mitigation plan shall be completed and reported to the Governor and electronically to the Legislature on or before July 1, 2022.

Source:Laws 2020, LB632, § 13.    


61-301. Act, how cited.

Sections 61-301 to 61-304 shall be known and may be cited as the Perkins County Canal Project Act.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1015, § 1.    
Effective Date: July 21, 2022


61-302. Legislative findings and declarations.

(1) The Legislature finds that it is essential to the economic prosperity, health, and welfare of the people of the State of Nebraska, and to the environmental health of the entire Platte River Basin, to protect Nebraska's full entitlement to the flows of the South Platte River as provided for in the South Platte River Compact. The South Platte River Compact is the law of Nebraska and of the United States that specifically authorizes Nebraska to develop a canal and associated storage facilities for the diversion of water from the South Platte River for beneficial use in Nebraska.

(2) The Legislature declares that a canal and associated storage facilities, which shall be known as the Perkins County Canal Project, shall be developed, constructed, managed, and operated under the authority of the State of Nebraska consistent with the South Platte River Compact and pursuant to the Perkins County Canal Project Act.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1015, § 2.    
Effective Date: July 21, 2022


61-303. Department of Natural Resources; powers and duties.

The Department of Natural Resources shall have the necessary authority to develop, construct, manage, and operate the Perkins County Canal Project consistent with the terms of the South Platte River Compact and pursuant to the Perkins County Canal Project Act. The department's powers under the act shall include: (a) Contracting for services, (b) acquiring permits, (c) acquiring and owning real property, (d) acquiring, holding, and exercising water rights, (e) employing personnel, (f) accepting grants, loans, donations, gifts, bequests, or other contributions from any person or entity, public or private, including any funds made available by any department or agency of the United States, (g) managing and expending such funds as are made available to it from the Perkins County Canal Project Fund, and (h) any other necessary functions consistent with the compact and pursuant to the act in protecting Nebraska's full entitlement to flows of the South Platte River. For purposes of the Perkins County Canal Project Act, the Department of Natural Resources is authorized to acquire real estate or access thereto in the name of the State of Nebraska by the use of eminent domain as provided under section 76-725. The department is also authorized to resolve all disputes that may arise, including the initiation or defense of legal actions of any kind, as necessary to achieve the purposes of the act.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1015, § 3.    
Effective Date: July 21, 2022


61-304. Conflict of interest, prohibited.

(1) An individual listed in subsection (2) of this section or his or her immediate family member shall not, directly or indirectly, hold a financial interest in any entity which is party to a contract or have a financial interest in the ownership or lease of any property relating to the development, construction, management, or operation of the Perkins County Canal Project.

(2) This section shall apply to:

(a) Any elected official in the executive branch of state government. This section shall apply to such official while he or she is in office and for two years after he or she leaves office; and

(b) Any member of the Legislature.

(3) For purposes of this section, immediate family member means a spouse, child, sibling, or parent and includes the spouse of any child, sibling, or parent.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1015, § 4.    
Effective Date: July 21, 2022


61-305. Perkins County Canal Project Fund; created; use; investment; study; required.

(1) The Perkins County Canal Project Fund is created. The fund shall be administered by the Department of Natural Resources. The State Treasurer shall credit to the fund any money transferred by the Legislature and such grants, loans, donations, gifts, bequests, or other money received from any federal or state agency or public or private source for use by the department for the canal project. Any money in the Perkins County Canal Project Fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act. Any investment earnings from investment of money in the fund shall be credited to the fund.

(2)(a) The department shall use the fund for design, engineering, permitting, and options to purchase land related to building a canal as outlined by the South Platte River Compact and to contract with an independent firm for the purposes of completing a study of such canal. The study shall include, but may not be limited to, the following:

(i) Costs of completion of a canal and adjoining reservoirs as outlined in the South Platte River Compact;

(ii) A timeline for completion of a canal and adjoining reservoirs as outlined in the South Platte River Compact;

(iii) A cost-effectiveness study examining alternatives, including alternatives that may reduce environmental or financial impacts; and

(iv) The impacts of the canal on drinking water supplies for the cities of Lincoln and Omaha.

(b) The department shall provide the findings of such study electronically to the Clerk of the Legislature and present the findings at a public hearing held by the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature on or before December 31, 2022.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1012, § 4.    
Effective Date: April 5, 2022


Cross References

61-401. Act, how cited.

Sections 61-401 to 61-404 shall be known and may be cited as the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Act and may also be referred to as the JEDI Act.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1023, § 1.    
Effective Date: April 19, 2022


61-402. Legislative findings and declarations.

The Legislature finds and declares as follows:

(1) The future vibrancy of the people, communities, and businesses of Nebraska depends on reliable sources of water;

(2) While it is in the state's best interest to retain control over its water supplies, much of the state's water resources are currently underutilized;

(3) In 2019, the state experienced historic flooding along the Platte River which caused loss of life and over one billion dollars in damage to private and public property and infrastructure;

(4) Well-planned flood control is critical to the future of the people, communities, and businesses of Nebraska;

(5) In light of the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic and the trend toward a remote workforce around the country, people around the country are rethinking where they want to work, live, and raise a family. As people consider where to live, access to sustainable water resources and outdoor recreational opportunities will be important considerations in making Nebraska a competitive choice for the future;

(6) The state's lakes and rivers help Nebraskans enjoy the water resources in our state and make Nebraska an even more attractive place to live and raise a family;

(7) The state's water resources provide economic benefits to the people, communities, and businesses of Nebraska by helping to attract visitors from other states and boosting local economies;

(8) In 2021, the Legislature passed LB406, which established the Statewide Tourism And Recreational Water Access and Resource Sustainability Special Committee of the Legislature. The committee was tasked with conducting studies on:

(a) The need to protect public and private property, including use of levee systems, enhance economic development, and promote private investment and the creation of jobs along the Platte River and its tributaries from Columbus, Nebraska, to Plattsmouth, Nebraska;

(b) The need to provide for public safety, public infrastructure, land-use planning, recreation, and economic development in the Lake McConaughy region of Keith County, Nebraska; and

(c) The socioeconomic conditions, recreational and tourism opportunities, and public investment necessary to enhance economic development and to catalyze private investment in the region in Knox County, Nebraska, that lies north of State Highway 12 and extends to the South Dakota border and includes Lewis and Clark Lake and Niobrara State Park;

(9) After considerable study, the Statewide Tourism And Recreational Water Access and Resource Sustainability Special Committee identified potential opportunities within the floodway near the Platte River that could be used to build a combined reservoir of approximately three thousand six hundred surface acres, or greater, in or near a county having a population of at least one hundred thousand but not more than three hundred thousand inhabitants. Such a reservoir could be built without a dam of a Platte River channel and without negatively impacting any existing municipalities, their surrounding communities, or any economic development already occurring in such areas;

(10) It is in the public interest to construct a lake at or near this location. Such a lake would provide flood control by providing additional off-channel storage during flood events and public recreational opportunities that would benefit generations of Nebraskans, similar to the recreational opportunities provided by Lake McConaughy, Lewis and Clark Lake, and Eugene T. Mahoney State Park;

(11) In addition to the primary purposes of providing flood control and public recreational opportunities that will benefit the public, building a lake will provide the collateral benefit of economic development opportunities;

(12) It is in the public interest, and the purpose of the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Act, that private parties contribute to the cost of constructing and developing the lake and that the state seek out donations and investments from private parties to fund such construction and development;

(13) It is in the public interest, and the purpose of the act, that the state (a) manage the construction and development of the lake in a manner that encourages private donations and investments, including through the use of public-private partnerships, (b) maintain sufficient oversight to protect the state's investment in the lake, and (c) retain ownership of the lake as an asset for Nebraskans; and

(14) It is in the public interest, and the purpose of the act, that the lake, and the land near or adjacent thereto, be developed in a thoughtful and planned manner by the state and be free from control of political subdivisions or municipalities to further the act's purposes of providing flood control, recreational opportunities, and orderly development of the project.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1023, § 2.    
Effective Date: April 19, 2022


61-403. Department of Natural Resources; powers and duties; legislative intent; contract proposals; selection of land; conflict-of-interest provisions.

(1) The Department of Natural Resources is granted all power necessary to carry out the purposes of the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Act, including, but not limited to, the power to:

(a) Purchase, sell, or lease land;

(b) Enter into contracts, including, but not limited to, contracts relating to the provision of construction services, management services, legal services, auditor services, and other consulting services or advice as the department may require in the performance of its duties; and

(c) Enter into agreements with natural resources districts to accomplish the purposes of the act. In any such agreement, a natural resources district may use the full powers granted to it by law.

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department engage private parties and entities to construct and develop the lake and enter into contracts or public-private partnerships that the department deems advantageous to the construction and development of the lake, and land adjacent thereto, and to advance the purposes of the act.

(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department shall give preference to:

(a) Contract proposals relating to the development or management of the lake from a Nebraska nonprofit corporation whose board of directors include at least four directors who are appointed by the Governor with the approval of a majority of the Legislature, one representative of the Game and Parks Commission who is a nonvoting, ex officio member of such board of directors, and one member of the Legislature who is appointed by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council and who is a nonvoting, ex officio member of such board of directors. All such directors must agree to be bound by the conflict-of-interest provisions in sections 49-1493 to 49-14,104. Any such nonprofit corporation shall be bound by the Open Meetings Act and sections 84-712 to 84-712.09 and shall publicly let contracts valued in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars; and

(b) Contract proposals which provide for a public-private partnership with the state in constructing, developing, or managing the lake.

(4) The department is granted authority to select the land upon which the lake will be built. In making such selection, the following shall apply:

(a) The land shall be located in or near a county having a population of at least one hundred thousand but not more than three hundred thousand inhabitants and within the flood plain or floodway of the Platte River;

(b) Preference shall be given to locations that were materially underwater when the Platte River flooded in 2019;

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the lake be at least three thousand six hundred surface acres in size;

(d) No dam shall be constructed on the main channel of the Platte River in order to construct the lake; and

(e) No city or village, or any part thereof, shall be flooded in order to construct the lake.

(5) The department is granted authority to designate the land selected for the lake under subsection (4) of this section, and land near or adjacent thereto, as the Lake Development District.

(6) The department may, in the performance of its duties, seek input and advice from any natural resources district that encompasses any of the area included in the Lake Development District.

(7) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department engage local stakeholders as the department carries out its duties under this section.

(8) The land selected for the lake shall be owned by the state, and the department shall ensure that the general public has complete access to the lake. No private entity involved in the constructing, developing, or managing of the lake shall designate any portion of the lake for exclusively private use. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude reasonable limitations on the number of people using the lake, a marina, or any other access point so long as such limitation does not restrict access to a designated class of private parties.

(9) Neither the Director of Natural Resources nor any employee of the Department of Natural Resources shall have a financial interest, either personally or through an immediate family member, in any purchase, sale, or lease of real property relating to the construction or development of the lake or in any contract entered into by the department relating to the construction, development, or management of the lake. For purposes of this subsection, immediate family member means a spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or grandchild.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1023, § 3.    
Effective Date: April 19, 2022


Cross References

61-404. Annexation prohibited.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no land within the Lake Development District, as designated by the Department of Natural Resources pursuant to section 61-403, shall be annexed.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1023, § 4.    
Effective Date: April 19, 2022


61-405. Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Fund; created; use; investment; studies required.

(1) The Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Fund is created. The fund shall be administered by the Department of Natural Resources. The State Treasurer shall credit to the fund any money transferred to the fund by the Legislature and such donations, gifts, bequests, or other money received from any federal or state agency or public or private source. The fund shall be used for water and recreational projects pursuant to the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Act. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act. Any investment earnings from investment of money in the fund shall be credited to the fund.

(2) An amount, not to exceed twenty million dollars, shall be available for site selection costs, feasibility and public water supply studies, and flood mitigation costs of the Department of Natural Resources related to any projects pursuant to the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Act. The Department of Natural Resources shall, in cooperation with impacted communities, including, but not limited to, any city of the primary class and metropolitan utilities district, contract with an independent consultant to conduct a study on the consequences of any lake located in the Lower Platte River Basin to the public water supply of such communities. Such study shall consider all aspects of water quality, water quantity, and water infrastructure, and any other issues necessary to protect the public water supply, including the impact to future water supply opportunities to the impacted communities.

(3) No funds shall be expended for any project, other than those enumerated in subsection (2) of this section, from the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Fund unless the Director of Natural Resources certifies to the budget administrator of the budget division of the Department of Administrative Services that the Department of Natural Resources has conducted any environmental, hydrological, or other feasibility studies the director deems necessary to establish the feasibility of any projects pursuant to the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative Act and that, based on the results of such studies, the director has deemed the projects feasible.

Source:Laws 2022, LB1012, § 7.    
Effective Date: April 5, 2022


Cross References