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Posted on January 30, 2018 at 7:36 AM by Michael Stalberger
Drainage update 1/29/2018
Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:
On February 6th
at 9:15 am in the Blue Earth County Commissioners' board room, we will be having the CD28
final acceptance hearing and final engineering report. The hearing is located in the second floor of the Historic Courthouse
at 204 S. 5th St, Mankato MN 56001.
Affected landowners should have received notice by mail at least 10 days prior
to the hearing date.
I was fortunate
enough to make it out to the MN AG Expo this past week. The attendance on Wednesday was great,
especially after getting all that snow just days before the show. Lots of vendors to talk with and get
information from. There was a multitude of
vendors - from the U of MN, to tile contractors, to the SWCD, and even attorneys - were
all there representing their professions.
made it to two different seminars. The first
seminar was about pollinators (bees) and the effects that agriculture has on
this industry. This seminar was a panel
style discussion with three people on the panel representing different perspectives of the pollinator
world and agricultural industry. One gentleman on
the panel was a commercial beekeeper - making honey is his livelihood. The second person on the panel was a woman
from a U of MN pollinator and bee research group. The third person was a gentleman from Bayer
Crop Sciences that represented the agricultural chemical side of things.
I thought the
discussion was very well thought out and flowed great. There was no finger pointing or blaming from
any side. There is a need for newer
and safe miticides to keep the bee populations steady, as well as a need to
increase habit for pollinators. These
habitats need to include wildflower mixes that are conducive to producing
flowers with more pollen to make them more appealing to commercial bees. It was very interesting to learn how small the number of commercial
bee farmers is, considering how significant their role. In southern states with some of the crops
they grow, bees and pollination are the keys to their businesses. They would not survive without bees.
seminar was about renewable energy, or solar energy. The group speaking, again in a panel style
setting, was from Blue Horizon Energy. This is a very
hot topic around our area lately. Many have gotten on
board with the solar gardens movement, and have invested in solar
gardens. The topic covered everything
from installation to tax credits and even information to landowners looking to install
panel sites. The members of the panel
expressed their thoughts that they think that in just a short time, almost 50%
of our power will come from solar energy.
They talked like solar energy power isn’t a short-term solution, but a long-term
answer to energy issues.
They spoke of
how much the industry helps the economy, both from an employment standpoint as
well as the tax money it brings to the state.
We have many solar fields going up around Mankato. It’s getting to the point you can’t hardly drive
in any direction from Mankato and not see at least one solar garden. Many local residents in Mankato and
surrounding communities have taken advantage of the energy savings by joining
these solar garden communities. It was a very interesting
discussion and was well worth my time.
I came across
an interesting article about wetlands and how huge their role is in reducing nitrates. It is a study put out by the University of
Minnesota. It’s no hidden secret that
wetlands are very beneficial in reducing sediment and other pollutants from
reaching our rivers and streams. This is
one of the first studies looking for the direct impact that wetlands have on nitrate level reductions from rivers and streams. In our heavy farm country of southern
Minnesota, many wetlands have been removed or altered, and in doing so, we have
lost some of our natural filtering ability.
conducted in southwestern Minnesota showed that wetlands can be five times
more effective at reducing nitrates over other conservation methods. Even in areas where very few wetlands remain,
the study speaks of the benefits of adding or installing wetlands along
drainage systems. I hope that we will
have more and more voluntary wetlands being put back in along some of our
Every time we (Blue
Earth County Drainage) have a new large-scale repair or improvement project, we
look at the option of adding wetlands to certain areas that would be beneficial
to the drainage system and water quality.
People and landowners are starting to see the benefits of wetlands,
and that also in some situations they can even get paid to have them. This is a very good article worth the time to read it. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/01/29/u-of-m-study-wetlands-key-to-reducing-nitrates-in-rivers
Recent Drainage Inspections – week of January 22 – January 26:
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 receive them.
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