Ron Bishop, former manager of the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) in Grand Island, Nebraska, passed away on January 13. Ron served as manager of the CPNRD since its creation in 1972 until he retired this past year. He was instrumental in the development of Nebraska’s natural resources districts system. Always an innovator, Ron had that rare gift to see solutions where others can only see problems. Some of the accomplishments that took place under his leadership include the development of a groundwater quality program to help farmers manage their fertilizer costs while protecting drinking water sources, the implementation of an endangered species management program that preserves water rights, and the completion of the Wood River flood control project. Just one of those accomplishments would be enough for a successful career, but Ron had a way of bringing people together to solve difficult problems. His quiet, respectful manner engaged others and built trust. In over 20 years, I never heard him raise his voice or say an unkind word. In every conversation we had, Ron never failed to ask, “How is your family doing?” He cared deeply about his own family and about the people who worked for him and with him. Though the list of his awards and honors was pages long, he was a modest man and quick to give credit to others. He was a great example of the kind of person we should strive to be. Everyone who knew Ron will miss him.
Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at Kris.Polly@waterstrategies.com.