Koehlmoos Selected for NRD Hall of Fame

Former Lower Loup NRD Manager Leon "Butch" Koehlmoos was one of four individuals announced as inductees to the NRD Hall of Fame.  Annually, Nebraska’s NRDs nominate and vote for individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the state’s natural resources.

Former LLNRD Manager Butch Koehlmoos 

Koehlmoos is one of three men selected for the Hall of Fame in 2020.  Due to the COVID pandemic, his induction was delayed to 2021. Koehlmoos retired in 2017 after 40 years with the NRD. During his tenure, Koehlmoos and his board of directors worked through many monumental water quality and quantity decisions.

 “I appreciate the recognition, but it is about being part of a team and standing shoulder to shoulder to get conservation done,” said Koehlmoos. “In my 40-year career I had the support of many great board members and NRD staff that were dedicated to making Nebraska’s NRD system work.”  Under Koehlmoos’ management, Lower Loup NRD designated its first groundwater quality areas, and a study known as the Elkhorn-Loup Modeling Project sought to determine the effects on future groundwater development. This included process development for granting variances and certifying irrigated acres. 

When the Lower Platte River Basin was designated as “fully appropriated,” Koehlmoos met the challenge. Thanks to solid data and testimony from a coalition of NRDs and partner agencies, the fully appropriated determination was reversed allowing for the continued use of groundwater in the district.  In 2009, Koehlmoos worked with the City of Columbus to recertify their levee. The Lower Loup NRD provided approximately $1.3 million to assist the city and protected most homes in Columbus from flooding.

“Because of Butch’s leadership, the district is able to maintain a balance between water use and water supply,” said Russ Callan, Lower Loup NRD general manager. “We are thankful for his work to protect groundwater, upgrade flood infrastructure and improve our local NRD recreation areas.”

Hall of Fame categories include an NRD Director, NRD Employee and NRD Supporter.  Ted Hughes of the Upper Elkhorn NRD was announced as the lone 2021 inductee as an NRD Director.  The late W. Eugene Haarberg is a 2020 inductee as an NRD Director.  Doug Bereuter, the former Nebraska Congressman, will be inducted as an NRD Supporter.  The NRD Supporter includes an individual outside the NRD system who has shown tremendous care and leadership in Nebraska’s ongoing conservation efforts.