Forest and Grassland Utilization NET 21-108 Grant Press Release

Middle Niobrara NRD Receives Grant from

Nebraska Environmental Trust

Lincoln, NE – May 7, 2021 – Middle Niobrara NRD announced today that it will receive $290,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the “Forest and Grassland Utilization: Green Diamond” project. The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its meeting on April 8, 2021 in Lincoln. The project is one of the 113 projects receiving $18,350,515 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 42 were new applications and 71 are carry-over projects.

The Middle Niobrara NRD (MNNRD) is one of three Natural Resource Districts (NRDs) based within the Niobrara River Basin of Nebraska. Over the last several years, the MNNRD has invested in opportunities to turn woody biomass into valuable forest products. This effort promotes options like mixing woodchips with manure for composting, landscaping, and erosion control. While chipping trees is an excellent utilization of what would otherwise be a waste product, the MNNRD and the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) recognize and promote higher value options for uses of trees, such as lumber and fence posts. In-light of the 2006 and 2012 wildfires sustained in the Niobrara River Valley and the Valentine area, Mike Murphy – MNNRD General Manager, says “Enhanced forestry and grassland management, along with wood utilization is needed across the District.”

The MNNRD wishes to showcase the zero-waste land management aspect through the full utilization of area wood waste. Landowner education will continue emphasizing healthy forest and grassland management. Showcasing opportunities to use an entire tree will create economic opportunities, usable products, and reduce wood waste. A portable hydraulic sawmill, and other key forestry equipment, will provide for demonstration opportunities and prove invaluable in promoting the full use of these trees while also enhancing true resource improvements like healthy diverse forests, rangelands, wildlife habitats, and fuel load reductions, along with education opportunities. Therefore, the MNNRD will be utilizing the funding for needed forestry equipment.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $349 million in grants to over 2,400 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers, and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality, and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect, and restore our natural resources for future generations.