Water Law 101: Part 1, the Basics

A thunderstorm replenishes the Nebraska Panhandle with water.
This the first in a six-part series of articles covering basic water law in the United States, predominately in the western part of the country, and how it affects this finite resource.

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Turf Fertilization for Healthy Lawns and Water Resources

Fertilizer on sidewalk

The lawn fertilization season is just around the corner. For a healthy turf and to help protect water resources, following the traditional four step program may not be the best route to go.

A well-managed turf holds soil in place and acts as a filter for potential water pollutants. However, fertilizing more than is needed, at the wrong time of the season, or misapplying fertilizer can result in nutrient runoff with the potential to degrade water resources.

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Manure Phosphorus and Water Quality

Chesapeake Bay experiences summer algae bloom connected with excess phosphorus.
Manure produced in animal feeding operations is a source of fertilizer that can be used to reduce our dependency on commercial fertilizers. Manure contains several essential nutrients that crops that crops rely on to grow, most notably nitrogen and phosphorus. Proper management of manure before, during, and after land application helps to slow down the contamination of our streams and reservoirs.

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Got Manure? Need Manure? – There’s an App for that!

preview of manure app home screen
The UNL manure team has been working on building an app to connect the public to the manure people they need, and maybe learn a little bit about manure along the way. Our goal with the app is to enable folks to find a manure applicator, broker, advisor, or resource person in their area. We’ve been testing and updating, and we think it’s ready for its full debut! The app is available for both Android and Apple devices.

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Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria Within Surface Water Bodies

Vertical and horizontal transmission of resistance in bacteria (graphic source: Sonseverino et. al., 2018)
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a problem currently within public surface water bodies and will continue to challenge animal agriculture. AMR can impair our ability to use antibiotics to fight infections and other ailments. Antimicrobials make their way to our water primarily by ways of industrial waste, manure application, and aquaculture. Using responsible manure spreading practices, runoff prevention, spreading awareness, and partnering with your veterinarian for responsibly using antimicrobials can help aid in the solution.

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Nebraska Virtual Green Infrastructure Tour

Nebraska Virtual Green Infrastructure Tour flyer

Join us on March 5, 2021 for the Nebraska Virtual Green Infrastructure Tour!  We will re-visit communities across Nebraska to higlight green infrastructure projects and programs, both large and small.

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Naturally Occurring Elements in Nebraska’s Groundwater: Part 1 of a Series - Calcium and Magnesium

infographic of water ion exchange

Caption:  A simple overview of how the water softening process works. As hard water enters the water softener, it filters through a resin that is supersaturated with a sodium (Na) brine. The calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) in the hard water attach to the resin beads and are exchanged for sodium (Na), thus making soft water for use throughout the home. Over time, the exchange resin becomes saturated with Ca and Mg and has to be regenerated with the Na brine solution so an effective water softening process can continue. (Graphic by Nebraska Extension)

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Proven Rain Garden Plants for Nebraska

Joe-Pye Weed

Rain gardens have been a landscape feature for a while now. This has helped us determine which plants are proving to do well in the bottom of rain gardens.

Rain gardens are shallow depressions located where they collect rainwater from a slope or downspout. Their purpose is to make the most of rainfall when received by soaking it in and reducing the amount of runoff during rain storms.

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Phase feeding protein in beef cattle diets to mitigate excreted nitrogen

Distillers grains, common in beef cattle diets, is high in crude protein. Picture courtesy of agupdate.com."
Supplemental protein has historically been the most expensive component in beef cattle diets. However, over the past 20 years with the rapid expansion of ethanol production and distillers grains supply, rations have changed.

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Manure Stockpiles: Mind Your Manners

manure stockpile with markup showing where to place a dike
As responsible land stewards, farmers, who follow “good neighbor practices,” may save on commercial fertilizer costs while at the same time protecting groundwater from contamination due to nutrient leaching. Properly stockpiled manure stored on field edges can be a “win-win” for farmers and their rural neighbors through addressing two common concerns: runoff and odors.

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