Published On: Wed, Mar 2nd, 2011

The future of RC&D is up in the air

PLAINVIEW — The Northeast Nebraska Resource, Conservation & Development District is concerned about a possible funding cut.
During February, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to eliminate RC&D funding for the current year.


This is the most serious funding challenge RC&D has faced.
“This could take money away for the rest of the year. It would affect us immediately,” said RC&D Board President Dennis Wacker.
According to Wacker, a large portion of the  NNRC&D budget is at risk if the federal funding is taken away.
Federal funding pays for the coordinator, a vehicle, general office equipment and the office space in Plainview where the NNRC&D is located. The office serves residents of Cedar, Dixon, Knox, Pierce, Antelope and Wayne counties.
The state does not provide financial support although the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Nebraska helps out with funds from a grant that is on a yearly basis.
Other funds that help support RC&D come from other grants; donations; fees collected from programs that are provided and dues from the six northeast Nebraska counties, two tribes, four NRD sponsors and around  20 associate members.
“The RC&D Council works with a very small amount of money,” Wacker said. “If we  lose the federal funding there will be some hurdles.”
The NNRC&D  follows up on the philosophy of “communities know what communities need” by offering a variety of workshops, tours, recycling and waste collections throughout the year, said Cedar County representative to the NNRC&D Board, Glen Anderson.
During 2010 the NNRC&D provided tours that included an organic farm; a Feather and Dance Celebration; watching the mating dance of a Prairie Chicken on a native prairie site; a search for blossoms, butterflies and birds and a history lesson at eight rural cemeteries.
An Antique Critique Show and Tell was successful first time event with approximately 50 people from 23 communities bringing in items which were evaluated by professional appraisers.
RC&D gave residents a chance to recycle unwanted household hazardous waste and helped monitor the Bazile Creek by testing the bugs and bacteria in the water.
Cedar County RC&D council members are Glen Anderson, Coleridge; Maurice Ketter, Wynot; Gary Stapelman, Laurel; and Lewis & Clark NRD representative Gary Howey, Hartington.

The National Association of RC&D Councils is urging residents to contact offices of the  U.S. Senators from Nebraska and ask to have the funding maintained for RC&D following the passage of the House budget that zeroed out the program.
Support can be shown by writing the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee.
The National Association RC&D Councils can help if you need contact information. Call 202-434-4780 or go online to http://www.contactingthecongress.org/.
The RC&D is a success story in supporting economic development and resource protection in rural areas, Anderson said.

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