July 1, 2017, marks the 45th Anniversary of Nebraska's Natural Resources Districts. In 1969 the Nebraska Unicameral passed legislative bill 1357 creating the natural resources district, and in 1972, 154 special purpose districts were merged to form the natural resources districts or NRDs. These districts are divided into Nebraska's twelve major river basins and named after them respectively. NRDs are unique in that Nebraska is the only state in the U.S. to manage their natural resources in this manner.
The Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District is one of 23 natural resources districts in the State of Nebraska. It has been charged with the responsibility of managing, protecting and developing Nebraska's natural resources for the good of the state and future generations. The Upper Elkhorn NRD is located in north central Nebraska with its main office in O'Neill. The NRD consists of 3,052 square miles or 1,953,280 acres of rangeland, grassland, and cropland. It is made up of 99% Antelope County; the southern 60 % of Holt County; eastern 60% of Rock County; and northern 25% of Wheeler County.
The Upper Elkhorn NRD is governed by 15 Board of Directors who are elected by the general public. Each director is elected to a four-year term within one of seven sub districts and one director is elected to an at-large position. As the governing body, the Board of Directors organizes programs and policies which are then administered by the district staff. The budget for the Upper Elkhorn NRD is acquired from Nebraska's General Fund, state aid, local property taxes, district sales, necessary cash reserve and collective agreements with other agencies.
The 12 Responsibilities NRDs are charged with under state law: