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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1971. Department of Agricultural Economics.


Copyright 1971, the author. Used by permission.


Since Nebraska’s future is in large part dependent upon soil and water, these resources should be managed wisely. With the stated aim of improving the utilization of the soil and water of the State, the Legislature directed the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Commission to develop a state water plan for Nebraska. The State Water Plan is intended to be a comprehensive blueprint for the development, conservation and utilization of the State’s soil and water resources; implemented and administered through the local units of government related to resource management and development. A formal proposal was sent to the Legislature recommending a plan for the consolidation of a large number of the existing special purpose resource districts into a few larger and stronger comprehensive natural resources districts.

In 1969, the Nebraska Legislature passed legislation providing for the formation of comprehensive Natural Resource Districts. These NRD’s are to be formed by the consolidation of six types of resource related special purpose districts. Those districts directed to merge are the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Watershed Conservancy Districts, Watershed Districts, Watershed Advisory Boards, Watershed Planning Boards and Mosquito Abatement Districts. The eight types of resource related special purpose districts remaining were urged to cooperate and merge with the NRD’s whenever practicable.

The NRD’s were given all the authorities and responsibilities currently held by the districts ordered to merge and some additional ones. The NRD’s are now scheduled to go into operation on July 1, 1972. At this time, an interim board of directors is to take office and remain in charge of NRD operations until the first elected officials take office on January 1, 1975. The Interim boards of directors will be composed of all members of the governing bodies of the special purpose districts directed to merge.

The objectives of this study were twofold. One objective was to determine the attitudes held by the interim boards of directors about different phases of NRD operation. This objective was achieved by surveying the members of the governing bodies of the entities directed to merge. The results of this survey were then used to determine what impact the interim boards of directors would have on the future success of the NRD’s and the problems that would likely be encountered.

The results of the survey were also used in achieving the second objective. This objective was to formulate guidelines for the administrative organization of the new comprehensive districts. The guidelines developed were general in nature recognizing that the NRD’s would have individual needs for efficient administration and operation.

A questionnaire was mailed to all members of the governing bodies of districts and boards directed to consolidate. The questionnaire was designed to gather data about personal characteristics, organization associated with, attitudes towards consolidation of special purpose districts, NRD boundary delineation, NRD financing, NRD administration, and the advantages and disadvantages of consolidating special purpose districts in general.

Advisor: Loyd K. Fischer