Nebraska has implemented numerous programs to protect its natural resources, especially soil and water. Contour farming, whereby crops are planted to follow the contour of hills; strip-cropping, or alternating close-growing forage crops that retain and rebuild the soil with cash crops; and grazing controls are commonly used to prevent soil erosion. During the 1930s many shelterbelts were planted across the state to reduce wind erosion and protect crops. Many watershed projects have been developed to minimize flooding, especially in southeastern Nebraska. The largest project is the Salt-Wahoo, which provides protection for Lincoln and for other parts of Lancaster County. Upstream dams in the Dakotas and Montana have reduced large-scale flooding along the Missouri River. Flooding on the Republican River is largely controlled by five reservoirs in Nebraska, as well as by others in Colorado and Kansas.
The use of underground water is regulated through a system of natural resources districts. The 23 natural resources districts conduct water quality planning programs. The Department of Environmental Quality, established in 1971, is responsible for air and water pollution control, solid and hazardous waste management. Laws concerning drinking water standards and radiation control are administered by the Department of Health.
In 2008 Nebraska had 13 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Between 1995 and 2000, the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment increased by 52 percent. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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