On May 1, 2007, Governor Dave Heineman signed into law LB 701, comprehensive water legislation that included riparian vegetation management activities originally included in a bill introduced by Senator Tom Carlson, LB 458. With an emergency clause attached, the legislation went into effect immediately. Sections 1 and 2 of the legislation created the Riparian Vegetation Management Task Force (RVMTF) and assigned it specific responsibilities. The goal of this legislation was to improve the conveyance of water throughout Nebraska’s rivers and streams. This legislation created a grant program for management of riparian vegetation, and stated the Legislature’s intent to appropriate $2 million annually for this purpose. This legislation had a sunset date of June 30, 2009.
After the sunset date, members of the Nebraska Weed Control Association and Weed Management Areas continued to work on Nebraska’s riparian areas that was previously funded by the Nebraska Legislature. They performed control activities with a limited funding. These groups did not want to lose ground on the work that was previously completed. However, without guidance, funding and support from the Legislature, the Nebraska Weed Control Association was concerned that invasive plants were greatly impacting waters of the state and lobbied for new Legislation to help Nebraska meet the water needs of the state.
The RVMTF was re-created in statute to bring multiple partners and stakeholders together to address the concern of invasive plants obstructing Nebraska’s river basins. The passage of LB 1038 by the Nebraska Unicameral on April 12, 2016, and signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts on April 18, 2016, created the framework for the Task Force to address the riparian needs of the state and continue the efforts started by LB 701 by the Nebraska Unicameral on April 26, 2007.
View our brochure, Keeping Water in Nebraska's Rivers and Streams Flowing, for more information.