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Posted on June 13, 2017 at 10:08 AM by Ryan Hiniker
Drainage update 6/12/2017
Hearings or Meetings:
No upcoming meetings or hearings scheduled at this time.
(Lincoln Twp.) Pipe crew has been
making slow but steady progress working through some very tough, wet and sloppy
peat areas. As of last Friday the pipe
crew was within about 600 feet of their end connection to the
open ditch. The pipe crew can have this
small amount done in just a few days, but also need the boring crew to get
their new pipe installed under CSAH 13.
Tough soil conditions and rocks obstructing the boring alignment have
made the boring crew’s job very difficult and drawn out. The picture is of the pipe crew working.
(Beauford Twp.) Not much of anything
happened on this repair project site last week.
We had to get additional board approval for the additional pipe that
needs to be repaired and its corresponding additional expense. We did receive board approval and it was
found to be in the ditch system's best interest to make the repairs to the system
now while crews are doing the current repair work. Just in the repairs the crews have already
made, a significant difference can be seen by much drier conditions where muddy
areas and ponding water were previously experienced.
(Garden City Twp.) Tree removal
crews should be finishing sometime this week with cutting the last few
remaining large trees in the city limits of Lake Crystal. The general
contractor will have to do some minor cleaning around three street crossings in
Lake Crystal after the tree crews are done.
There will be some touching up of lawns and some reseeding to be done
after the tree crews and general contractor are done. I’m expecting the general contractor to start
later this week or next week with the major out-of-town ditch cleaning and
Drainage Minutes /
I was fortune to be able to attend a BWSR (Minnesota Board
of Water and Soil Resources) Buffer update meeting Friday, June 9. This meeting was held at the Nicollet County
Human Services Building (the brand new building next to the courthouse). Tom Gile was the key speaker for the two-part
meeting. The morning session was geared around what the local SWCD and staff are expected to know and do
with the first of two major buffer deadlines coming up in the near
The SWCD’s are doing a very good job of staying informed of
what the buffer law requirements will mean for their work loads and
employees. The SWCD’s will be doing much
of the actual field work with meeting with landowners and marking out the
buffer areas. The county entities and watershed
districts have to decide if they want to be the enforcement agency part of the
new buffer law. If county and watershed
districts elect not to be the enforcement agency for the buffer law, then the
state, BWSR, will step in and take control of enforcement of the buffer law
We at the county and watershed district level have a very
short window to decide if that’s something that makes sense for our landowners. BWSR has given us until June 28, 2017, to decide if we will or will not accept jurisdiction of the new buffer laws for
public ditches and public waters. BWSR has made it clear that if jurisdiction is accepted at
county or watershed level, it’s all or nothing. We can’t take on responsibility
for just the ditches or just the public waters.
The newly-enacted waiver period was also discussed. Waivers can only be obtained from your local
SWCD or controlling watershed district for extensions to the Minnesota Public
Waters or shoreland buffers. Waivers
need to be requested with a clear plan of action by November 1, 2017. After
the November 1, 2017, deadline non-compliant land without the waiver will be considered a violation to
the buffer areas on public waters and shoreline. I would highly recommend that those
landowners or individuals that will be affected by this upcoming Public Waters
and shoreland deadline get into their SWCD sooner than later. I imagine there will be a fair amount of
parcels and landowners looking for a waiver so don’t wait until last minute.
The waiver is good until July 1, 2018, at which point the
buffers need to installed and verified as compliant by a SWCD or watershed
To summarize all of this information: Public Waters and
shoreland buffers still have a deadline of November 1, 2017. With an approved waiver, the deadline becomes July 1, 2018. If no waiver is approved, the November 1, 2017,
deadline still applies to the Public Waters and shoreland buffers.
November 1, 2018, is still the public drainage
/ public ditches buffer deadline. No
extension is provided by law for the ditches deadline, and I don’t expect one.
BWSR is hoping that the
counties and local watershed districts will adopt the jurisdiction for these
buffer laws. BWSR knows that we already
have relationships built with many landowners and it would be more
comfortable working with us versus a state agency from out of town.
The law has been in effect since 2015, so I don’t think
any more extensions will be given beyond this current extension. For landowners that have questions about
these buffers - both Public Water and Public Drainage - please contact your local
SWCD or us at the Blue Earth County drainage office. We at the drainage office won’t be the experts
on the programs that the SWCD’s offer, but we can answer many of the main
questions associated with these pending buffer deadlines.
Inspections – week of June 5 – June 9:
(Lincoln Twp.) Two different areas
of sink holes. Old concrete tile that
has pulled apart at the seams or partially collapsed. Usually a quick and inexpensive fix.
(Butternut Valley Twp.) Issues with
multiple sink holes along a minimum maintence road near our county tile. Contractor found old intake that wasn’t
properly capped when it got buried.
(Shelby Twp.) Monitoring water
levels in an ongoing area of repair.
This is the major blowout area from about a month ago. We are letting the water levels drop to more manageable
levels before we can make repairs.
(Garden City Twp.) Monitoring the
tree clearing and ditch cleaning crews on this ongoing repair project that has
been going on for the better part of a month now.
(Lincoln Twp.) Monitoring progress
of the pipe install crews and always changing working conditions.
(Judson Twp.) Inspected our new
concrete notch weir. The weir will help
control water flow to downstream landowners and help to slow water down letting
more sediment settle out of the water. Pictured is the new concrete weir.
Please call with issues you observe on our
public drainage system, as there is a lot of open ditch and tile in our county and
only two of us in the drainage department.
We will do our absolute best to service your issues and concerns as we
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.
Drainage Management Specialist