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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UNL Extension in Lancaster County

A Place in the Country: The Acreage Owner's Guide

What You Need to Know as a Nebraska Landowner

What You Know to Know


Building Codes and Permits: Before building, contact your county planning office to obtain zoning requirements and information. Find out if your city or county has special ordinances, such as property access covenants that may affect your proposed activity.
Floodplain Protection: A local permit may be needed before doing any construction work in an area designated as a 100-year floodplain. If you are in a floodplain, insurance and financing may be restricted.

Local Resources:


Buried Utilities: There may be any number of utilities on your property that serve you and others. Care should be taken to determine proper location of utilities before construction begins. Call before you dig!

Local Resources:

  • Diggers "One Call" Hotline of Nebraska (1-800-331-5666)
  • Local Utility Companies
  • Lancaster County Engineer (If property located in Lancaster County, Nebraska)

Trees, Grasses and Ornamentals: Care should be taken in selecting plant materials for your acreage. Consider water and maintenance requirements, adaptability, soil type and planned use of the vegetation.

Local Resources:


Drinking Water Wells: All wells must be registered with the Nebraska Department of Water Resources and must meet Nebraska Water Well Construction Standards.

Local Resources:


Waste Water Treatment Systems: State law regulates waste water treatment system installation, including the minimum acceptable distance between your septic system and drinking water wells, streams and groundwater. Some counties also require a permit and must approve the system design and installation.
Irrigation Wells: All wells must be registered with the Nebraska Department of Water Resources. Landowners also must obtain a permit from their Natural Resources District to drill a well producing over 50 gallons per minute in a Groundwater Management Area.

Local Resources:


Water Quality Protection: You are responsible for preventing livestock manure, pesticides, sediment and other pollutants from reaching surface water or groundwater.

Local Resources:


Surface Water Use: Water use permits are required before diverting, withdrawing, impounding or distributing any surface water.

Local Resources:


Wetland and Stream Bank Protection: Permits to fill, drain, dredge or alter any waters of the U.S., including wetlands, are mandatory. Permits also are necessary prior to any activity modifying the stream channel or stream banks.

Local Resources:


Solid Waste Management: Solid waste disposal must adhere to Nebraska statutes. Locating a licensed dump site, securing waste disposal services and implementing a recycling plan are important.
Open Burning: Open burning permits may be required by local ordinance and/or in accordance with the Nebraska Air Pollution Control Rules and Regulations. The State Fire Marshal's ban on open burning makes all open burning illegal unless waived by the local fire chief.
Noxious Weed Control:State law requires control of noxious weeds. Find out which weeds are considered noxious and how to control them.

Local Resources:


Fence Laws: Nebraska livestock owners are responsible for any damage their animals cause. Neighbors are not required to share the expense of fencing unless (1) neighbors agree or (2) neighbors fence viewer process is implemented. The "fence viewers" determine each participant's responsibilities for the fence.

Local Resources:


Threatened and Endangered Species: Certain plant and animal species have been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Management of your private lands may be affected if these species are present.

Local Resources:


Source: Adapted for Lancaster County, Nebraska from A Place in the Country: The Acreage Owner's Guide (EC97-2506C).