The North Bend Eagle


Charter NRD board member Kavan retires

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 8/15/18

• Kavan one of two original board members left statewide from when NRDs formed in 1972.

Don Kavan has invested most of his life into saving the soil and water.

Don and Karen Kavan
Karen and Don Kavan have plenty to do with extensive gardens and orchards on their homeplace south of Morse Bluff. He is retiring after 46 years on the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District Board.

The Morse Bluff farmer has served 46 years on the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District.

Originally Kavan was on a Wahoo Creek Watershed Committee, which he got on in 1970 because he objected to the “horrible design” they had for the watershed on the Sand Creek. In 1972 nine Natural Resource Districts were formed throughout Nebraska, and he was elected to the original NRD board. When Kavan first started there was a manager and two secretaries with 19 people on the board. Now there are 21 LPNNRD board members and 19 staff in its Wahoo office. There are nine subdistricts in LPNNRD, with two people from each subdistrict on the board.

“We represent land area,” Kavan said. “That is what conservation is all about. That is what natural resources are, land.”

Originally Kavan went to University of Nebraska – Lincoln to become an extension agent. When he was ready to graduate, his father said he wanted to retire and needed him to come back and take over the farm, which Kavan did.

He farmed two miles south of the home place until his dad died, then he moved into the house his grandparents had built south of Morse Bluff in 1927. Kavan says the NRD was a natural for him.

“Conservation has been number one on my list all the time,” he said. “It didn’t make any difference what it was because you had to save the soil. You have to save the water. And water is the most important part of our job now for the simple reason we don’t have enough of it.”

Kavan practices what he preaches, building terraces and dams on his own ground. He also no-tills and uses cover crops on his farm.

“All that stuff that we didn’t do in 1972,” he said. “None of this was available.”


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