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Posted on April 16, 2018 at 6:08 PM by Ryan Hiniker
Drainage update 4/16/2018
Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:
We have an
upcoming buffer meeting in Faribault County to discuss how we (in the drainage
business) are going to be handling some of the upcoming issues with the 103F
buffers coming due this November 1, 2018.
This is intended for Drainage Authorities, SWCD’s and planning and
zoning staff. I’ll give highlights from
that meeting in upcoming blogs.
It’s hard to
think about spring and summer as we currently sit with 11 inches of snow on
many of our lawns. Spring and summer will
eventually get here and with it comes maintence of our open ditch systems. Part of this maintenance, much like doing repairs,
is the weed and brush maintenance. I have
spoken in the past about how we hire a contractor to do our weed and brush
I just wanted
to write this as a friendly refresher to all those who live on or near any
of our open ditch drainage systems. We
have a statutory obligation to make sure our ditch banks and 103E buffer areas
are kept free from noxious weeds and brush.
For our friends that are in agricultural, they know first hand how
challenging controlling weeds can be.
Controlling tough and sometimes resistant weed species in waterway areas
is even more challenging.
comes from the fact we have a very short list of chemicals that are approved to be sprayed
near water. As a good steward of
the land, we want to make sure we are making responsible choices when it comes
to herbicide use and its possible effects to the adjoining ecosystems of our streams,
rivers and lakes. We have enough
challenges with our water quality in our lakes and rivers across the state without adding anymore to them.
We have a three-zone
system that we have split the county into.
The split zone system will help control costs and give a more even
rotation to when and what ditch systems are getting sprayed. Some systems may need a more intensive year-after-year
treatment to get weeds and brush under manageable control. Do I expect that our ditches are going to be completely
weed and brush free? No, I know that’s not totally realistic, but I do expect
that things can always be improved and I will work hard to make sure that weeds
and brush are controlled.
We may be
mixing things up this year, with the contractors who are doing our spraying and some of the
equipment being used. Typically, the contractors
have been using ATV’s with boomless sprayers.
These boomless sprayers, as they are called, are just one spray bar (tub)
with multiple spray nozzles that spray in multiple directions. This system is good in certain situations,
but not a one-size-fits-all. One of the
issues with spraying ditches is we need equipment that will reach the weeds and
brush growing over the side of the ditch bank.
I have meet with a different contractor this year who is
equipped with a pull behind sprayer with a boom that we can hang out over the
ditch bank, but still control it from spraying directly into the water area.
Pictures of larger scale pull behind boom sprayer and smaller ATV mounted boomless sprayer
We use only
herbicides that are aquatically labeled to be sprayed near water. Our contractors all have up-to-date licenses
for commercial applications and insurance.
Although the individual applicator who sprays the herbicide is ultimately
responsible, we (drainage authority) still like to be involved in making best
We have in
the past had people or landowners that don’t want their areas of ditch sprayed. We (the drainage authority) are fine with that decision
and respect the individual’s decisions.
The landowners that don’t want us to spray along the open ditch areas
are then responsible for spraying and maintaining these weeds and brush on
their own land. If the individual
landowners do not keep up with the weeds and brush, we will step in and have the
area sprayed for our maintence purposes under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 103E.
Most of the
time people ask us not to spray is because of haying and pasture reasons. The list of chemicals we use are usually quite
safe for haying and pasture when the labels are followed. If you are or know of someone who
does not want us to spray the buffer and open ditch area along one of our
public drainage systems, please click the link below to email me.
DO NOT SPRAY THE DITCH
Recent Drainage Inspections – week of April 9 – April 13:
JD39 (Sterling Twp.) We
had a contractor that was out replacing some dual wall 8-inch plastic tile for
us last week. To our surprise, little to
no frost was left in the ground and digging went well despite the extremely muddy
conditions. Mud is just part of spring
repairs in Minnesota.
CD50 (Butternut Valley Twp.) Last
week’s weather didn’t help our tree removal efforts. Soft side banks and slippery conditions make
for a challenging situation from the cab of their large equipment.
CD86 (Beauford Twp.)
I have been monitoring rising water
levels on this open ditch system as the four remaining beaver dams are causing
ongoing issues. The weather has been
less than cooperative for getting the beavers removed as well as their
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