The Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA) is a 756-square-mile area with high groundwater nitrate levels that spans three northeast Nebraska counties. A nationally-recognized BGMA plan was adopted by the state and the four NRDs in this area. They asked the NWC and UNL Extension to partner with them to address these high nitrate levels on multiple fronts.
First, through a Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) grant, researchers are helping establish local demonstration farms to model different management practices that may help reduce nitrogen leaching. On the demonstration farms, advanced technologies, such as VRI, nitrogen sensors and soil moisture probes, will augment evaluation of nitrate leaching.
Complementing these efforts is a new citizen science project from NET entitled “Project Citizen Science: A Valuable Approach for Monitoring Groundwater Quality in the Bazile Groundwater Management Area.” The initiative engages students from five area high schools and will help each school sample 30 rural wells through science classes, clubs and Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters.