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Blue Earth County DrainageBlog

Mar 18

Winter Rains

Posted on March 18, 2019 at 5:06 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 3/18/2019

 

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • We will be holding landowner meetings next week for drainage systems JD14 and CD52.  The specific times, locations, and other meeting details are included in the mailing that affected landowners should receive very soon.  Call or email with questions or concerns.   
  • Water Storage Seminar is being hosted at the Kato Ballroom on April 4th. Click here for more information or take a look at the flyer below.WS_Flyer_final_s (002)

Project Updates:

   

  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Crews started last week with preparing the worksite by removing snowAs we all know, the rains started last week and didn’t seem to want to stop, so now the site is a large mud mess.  Crews are expecting delivery of pipe sometime soon, and almost all other materials are on-site to get repairs made when it dries up somewhat.    


Drainage minutes
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The aftermath of our winter rains from last week has been less than pleasant.  Yes, it’s still winter until Wednesday, March 20.  It seemed like in a matter of 48 hours we went from worrying about roofs collapsing and ice dams, to flooding.  Many people are dealing with wet basements and ponding water issues on their property.

Many of our ditch systems and rivers are experiencing the same issues.  We are very fortunate in comparison to some of our neighboring states that are experiencing catastrophic flooding and horrible blizzards.  Many ranchers out in the western states lost many head of cattle from the rains and then a horrible blizzard that simply left cattle buried and stranded.

Locally we aren’t out of the danger zone of flooding yet, and we might not be for a while.  We are expected to see flood stage rivers yet this week. 

We finished last year in a very wet manner and 2019 is starting up right where 2018 left off.  Many tile lines and intakes are still frozen in areas, so water ponding in fields will be a very common sight until things thaw out and begin to drain.  We have a large number of repairs from last year to still finish up. 

Please be don’t be afraid to call in and check with us about the status of a repair from last year.  Please also be patient, as things are less than favorable to be out working with equipment currently.  We are working with six plus contractors to make sure we can get as many repairs done as possible.  I know that this spring will have a short window between getting repairs made and planters rolling in fields.  Please remember that we do not allow non-licensed or non-insured individuals to make repairs to a county drainage system.  Any unauthorized work or work done by non-licensed or insured individuals is subject to rejection of payment.  Yes, these public drainage systems are often located on private land, but they are publicly-managed for the benefit of all in the watershed. 

Please keep it in mind to call and report issues as soon as you find them.  Repairs will be repaired in the order they are reported as much as practical. 

Drainage is having a fun field day this Friday.  I will give details of this field day next week.  Hint: it’s a really advanced piece of technology. 
flood picflood pic 3


Here are some pictures of flooding from last week.  There's almost 15 feet of water and snow in the ditch in the right picture.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of March 11 – March 15:

  • I was out observing many areas of flooding.  The rain - combined with large amounts of snow and ice still in many of our open ditches - leads to a flooding combination.  It will take a while for the snow and ice to melt in our open ditches.  As the open ditches and rivers slowly open up, flood waters should recede fairly quickly.

flood pic 4flood pic 3


More flood photos.  Both of these ditches have around 15 feet plus of water, ice and snow in them.  Imagine a two story house size wall of water, yeesh. 

We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.

 


 

 

Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist

ryan.hiniker@blueearthcountymn.gov

507-304-4264


Mar 11

Drainage Update 3/11/2019

Posted on March 11, 2019 at 5:44 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Update 3/11/2019

 

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • CD05, CD92, JTD 83 Waseca, CD76, CD26, and JD22 all have Redetermination of Benefits hearings tomorrow (Tuesday, March 12).  Landowners affected by this should have received notice via mail about specific times and locations of these hearings.
  • We will be holding landowner meetings next week for two drainage systems, JD14 and CD52.  The specifics of times, location and meeting details are included in the mailing that affected landowners should receive very soon.  Call or email with questions or concerns.   
  • Water Storage Seminar…click link for additional information.
WS_Flyer_final_s (002)


Project Updates:

   

  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Crews are set to begin digging and making repairs to a section of tile along a portion of this drainage system.   

Drainage minutes:

Besides the horrible weather we’ve been receiving lately, not much news in the drainage world.  I spoke last week about a couple different bills at the Legislature related to the buffer strip areas along open ditch systems.  One spoke of a tax credit and the other about paying compensation equal to average rents for the acres in the buffer area that have been removed from production.

Now there is a third scenario: removing these buffer acres from being taxable for property taxes.  This third scenario will definitely cost some major dollars.  Under this proposal, the local governments will be reimbursed for the short falls for those acres not paying taxes.

If one considers the ROB (Redetermination of Benefit) process, landowners already have a way of receiving payment for those buffer acres.  The problem with the ROB is that it is one payment and not annual.  Part of the ROB and acquiring this buffer grass strip is an easement that is maintained by the drainage authority.  The buffer is acquired by paying fair current market values for land, but the buffer remains the property of the current landowner.  The drainage authority retains the easement and maintenance associated with it.

Fun fact: Palmar Amaranth is now found in five different counties in Minnesota.  For the folks not familiar with what this weed is, search it sometime using your favorite search engine.  This weed is crippling areas of the south that are involved with agricultural production.  Half of the counties in Iowa are now battling this out-of-control beast of a weed.  It is quickly becoming immune to many different forms of herbicide.  So far Minnesota is doing a good job at killing and controlling it.  Below is an example of Palmar Amaranth.
palmer 2

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of February 11 – February 15:

  • No inspections were made last week.  The wintery weather has all of our contractors shut down at the moment, at least for county drainage projects.

We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.

 


 

 

Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist

ryan.hiniker@blueearthcountymn.gov

507-304-4264


Mar 04

Drainage Update 3/4/2019

Posted on March 4, 2019 at 5:18 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 3/4/2019

 

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • We will be hosting multiple landowner meetings this Thursday, March 7.  The systems that we will be hosting meetings for include the following: CD05, CD92, JTD 83 Waseca, CD76, CD26, and JD22.  All affected landowners should have received notice of these meetings with details of time and location.  If more information is needed, please feel free to contact Craig Austinson or myself (contact information below).   

Project Updates:

   

  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  We will actually have a construction crew making some repairs to tile starting next Monday.

Drainage minutes:

I spoke last week about a possible tax credit for the acres of buffer that are being taken out of row-crop production by Minnesota's Buffer Law in Chapter 103F of state statue.  There is also a bill proposed that speaks of paying a rental rate to landowners for these acres of riparian buffer taken out of production.  I don’t know if applicants will be eligible for both the rental payment and the tax credit, or whether either or either will pass.  This bill including rental payment consideration is SF 459 (click link for bill information). 

We are currently working with our local SWCD to get some assistance funding for clean water practices along four of our Blue Earth County drainage systems.  The four systems we are currently working to secure funds for are: JD85, CD26, JTD83 Waseca and CD56.  I spoke of CD56 awhile back about how we are still working on installing phosphorus filters along this large system that flows directly into Crystal Lake.  For the other systems I listed, we have plans for installing alternative side intakes or water quality intakes.  We just finished late last year with systematically installing a bunch of new ASI’s (alternative side intakes) on CD86 open ditch, near the Mapleton / Beauford area.

The push for doing these types of water quality intakes is to help reduce the amount of sediment entering our open ditches, and also hopefully reduce repair costs in the long run.  There has been an increase in public funding for water quality projects of this nature.  It's a win-win when we can help and do our part in cleaning up our waters and get help funding these projects. 

I fully intend on working with our local SWCD for future projects of this nature in the upcoming years.  Below are two examples of alternative side intakes that we have actually implemented on some of our drainage systems. 
wascob
jd32 asi

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of February 11 – February 15:

  • No inspections were made last week.  The wintery weather has all of our contractors shut down at the moment, at least for county drainage projects.

We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.

 


 

 

Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist

ryan.hiniker@blueearthcountymn.gov

507-304-4264