Two groundwater wells at the Sacramento/Wilcox WMA were recently converted (spring of 2020) from natural gas to electricity. Two other wells were previously converted in the spring of 2017. 1970’s vintage Chrysler 413 and 440 well motors had become difficult and expensive to maintain. Exposure to the elements for several months between fall and spring use was hard on these engines and it normally took some time to get them running again for each pumping period. Converting to electric motors is much more convenient as maintenance and preparation time are minimal. These new wells will be used for wetland pumping mainly during September through November to provide supplemental water for hunting and fall migration with some additional use in February and March for the spring migration.
To convert these combustion engines to electric extension of existing 3-phase overhead power lines were required. Southern Power Company added 1.6 miles of line and Twin Valley Power Company added .8 mile of line as part of the conversion projects. Also, 1,500 to 2,000 feet of underground wiring was installed to supply each well from the overhead power lines to eliminate the need for overhead lines crossing the WMA. In addition to the electrical conversion, the underground components of each well were upgraded and replaced. Pumping volumes increased from 600-800 gpm to 1200-1500 gpm.
Additional wetland enhancement work will be completed soon including underground water supply lines to the wetland, installing several water control structures to increase the efficiency of water delivery, management and re-contouring a portion of the wetland to remove old dikes, and to fill borrow areas remaining from previous dike construction.
Funding was provided by the RWBJV through a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant, NGPC through Capital Development and PR funding, and DU through NAWCA grants. DU also provided the engineering services and contracting.