Responsibilities of the NRDs

Nebraska is divided into 23 natural resources districts (NRDs), multi-purpose, local units of government established to conserve, protect, develop and manage natural resources.

Nebraska’s NRDs: Unique, Flexible, Local

Natural resources districts are unique to Nebraska. Established in 1972, they take their boundaries from major river basins. They are governed by locally elected boards of directors, enabling them to respond to local needs. The North Platte NRD is governed by a nine-member board of directors elected on a non-partisan ballot. NRDs get much of their operating funds from local property taxes. However, NRDs use only a small slice of the property tax pie — typically 1 percent to 2 percent of all property taxes collected in a county.

NRDs have 12 statutory purposes for existence:

  • Erosion prevention and control
  • Prevention of damages from flood water and sediment
  • Flood prevention and control
  • Soil conservation
  • Water supply for any beneficial uses
  • Development, management, utilization and conservation of groundwater and surface water
  • Pollution control
  • Solid waste disposal and sanitary drainage
  • Drainage improvement and channel rectification
  • Development and management of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Development and management of recreational and park facilities
  • Forestry and range management

NRDs often build partnerships with other agencies and organizations, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, other state and federal agencies, municipalities, counties and private organizations. The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts provides administrative services, legislative representation, statewide communication and coordination for the 23 independent districts.