ORD — Flights by a low-altitude helicopter towing a large hexagon frame across northern Buffalo County concluded Friday.

Lower Loup Natural Resources District Assistant General Manager Tylr Naprstek shared with the Kearney Hub a progress report on the project, which used unique equipment to map groundwater aquifers and subsurface geology.

The survey area also included most of Custer County and all of Sherman County.

In an earlier Hub story, LLNRD Information and Education Coordinator Larry Schultz said the mapping would be done by a Nebraska company, but the specially trained helicopter pilots were from Europe.

Naprstek said Friday the original goal was to do the mapping in August, but the company experienced delays with another project and difficult weather, including high winds earlier this week.

Data collected from geologic measurements related to buried sand and gravel aquifers will be used to better understand available groundwater resources and potential groundwater-surface water connections, LLNRD Water Modeling Coordinator Cam Conrad has said.

Aqua Geo Frameworks LLC oversaw the flights, will process the data and will produce a final report.

In other water management-related action Thursday, Naprstek said the board approved an irrigation water trade south of Callaway. The action allows the end of surface water use that had a 100 percent effect on the South Loup River and switch to groundwater use with a 14 percent depletion.

Also, the board approved the LLNRD Long-Range Implementation Plan.

It will be posted on the llnrd.org website in early November, Naprstek said, and sent to offices of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the governor.

The board approved new irrigated acre applications totaling 2,367 acres for 2020, mostly in the northern part of the NRD. The 564 acres in the Middle Loup Basin (Custer, Sherman, Valley and Howard counties) are on the north side of the river.

Todd Nitsch of Boelus was seated as a new Subdistrict 3 director. He was appointed by the board Sept. 26 to serve the remaining year of retired director Jim Nelson’s term. The subdistrict includes parts of Custer, Sherman, Buffalo and Howard counties.

lori.potter@kearneyhub.com

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