Water appropriation stream flow bill passes

Water currently used for generating hydropower can instead be used to maintain stream flow for fish, wildlife and recreation under a bill passed by lawmakers April 12.

LB1038, introduced by Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis, allows a water appropriation used to generate hydropower at a facility on a natural stream to be changed to an instream basin management appropriation to be held jointly by the state Game and Parks Commission and at least one natural resources district.

The bill incorporates provisions from LB711, introduced by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango, that reestablish a task force with the goal of eradicating invasive plant species that reduce stream flows. The task force will be allocated $1 million per year beginning in fiscal year 2016-17.

Further, the bill requires the state Department of Roads to provide permits to trim vegetation that obscures lawfully placed advertising signs or displays.

Senators voted 48-0 to pass the bill.

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