May 26, 2023

With the cold conditions finally subsiding, farmers have been preparing fields and planting crops for another growing season. Even though there was more precipitation over the winter than in past years, and there have been spring rains, much of the district and state continue to experience drought conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor provides a regional breakdown and a written summary of the changes in the drought depiction each week. The summary utilizes a scale that represents the severity of the drought, Abnormally Dry (D0), Moderate Drought (D1), Severe Drought (D2), Extreme Drought (D3), and Exceptional Drought (D4). The U.S. Drought Monitor provides a consistent big picture of the conditions in the United States. However, it is not a reliable tool for determining drought conditions on a local scale.

The summary is prepared by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (NDMC), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Authors from these departments collect and publish the data each week. To keep an eye on drought conditions or learn about the U.S. Drought Monitor, visit https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap.aspx.

A primary goal of Lewis & Clark Natural Resources District (LCNRD) is to monitor and manage groundwater resources. Persistent drought conditions can have negative impacts on surface and groundwater resources. Water levels are measured annually across the district, and rules and regulations are in place to help manage groundwater water resources. Requirements could be enacted if management trigger levels are met. Conservation is key to mitigating impacts to water and soil resources.

A weekly Drought Monitor snapshot of the district, comparing the current week to the prior week, is available on Facebook and on the LCNRD website. If you have any questions about groundwater levels, contact LCNRD at 402-254-6758 or stop at the office at 608 N. Robinson Ave, Hartington, NE 68739.

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