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Apr 28

A Call For Action

Posted on April 28, 2017 at 3:19 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 4/28/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


·         No hearings or meetings this week.



Project Updates:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.) Crews were still busy this week making the last of some open ditch repairs and crossings.  The pipe boring crew that is working along Blue Earth County Hwy. 30 is still plugging away.  The large amounts of rain lately have delayed things a bit, as they have to work down in a hole.  The contractors are hopeful that next week will dry up so the boring crew can keep moving, as they do have to make one more boring under County Hwy. 13 in Lincoln Township.  If all goes well with boring, we are hopeful that the pipe installation can continue next week sometime.


·         CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Crews tried their hardest to get some work done this week.  The heavy rains and already wet, heavy clay conditions, made this work site basically unworkable for this week.  If crews can’t run their equipment without getting stuck, that’s a good sign to stop for the week and let things dry out.  Maybe next week, weather permitting, crews can fire back up and get this project wrapped up in the next couple weeks.


Drainage Minutes:


The last couple weeks have been like a whirlwind.  Projects are firing up and farmers are getting out in their fields. We have seen an increase in calls to report issues.  Besides the two or three major projects going on right now, we still have been very busy with making many smaller size repairs.  In the last two weeks, we’ve fixed almost ten other smaller repairs across the county.


I plan on having the weed and brush contractor starting to spray ditches in the eastern half of the county very soon.  I’m trying to time this right for weeds being big enough and crops being small enough, or not planted, to get some much needed spraying done early.  Many of our ditches have big issues with noxious weeds.  I’m trying to apply my knowledge of chemicals and past career experiences to try to get a handle on this weed issue.  I know this is not an overnight fix, but persistence and timing have a lot to do with effectiveness.  Anyone who has concerns about spraying along a public drainage ditch, please feel free to call me to discuss your concerns or questions you may have.


We expect to see two more projects start up in the next month.  Those two projects are CD56 (Garden City Twp.) and CD12 (Mankato Twp.).  Both of these projects are cleaning and maintenance type repair projects.



Minnesota Farmers Union Call For Action:
mn farmers union

Minnesota Farmers Union spent over two weeks touring, and listening, to over 450 farmers and rural Minnesota residents at town hall type meetings.  The reason for these meetings was to address the concerns of rural Minnesota and farmers.  These concerns can be categorized into five different groups: Healthcare, Listening, Agricultural Issues, Hunger Issues and Infrastructure. 

Healthcare costs and insurance premiums are extremely high for a lot of people in Minnesota.  This rising cost is especially felt for our group of self-employed people, like farmers who pay their own premiums and deductibles.  The average example of $43,000 per year premiums for farming families makes it very difficult to choose between paying insurance and paying other bills.


Agricultural issues include the buffer law, that is coming due this fall, and also issues with being able to mow state highway ditches.  The buffer law as we all know is a very hot topic.  Farmers and landowners are asking for flexibility, saying that a buffer isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every acre along ditches.  Recently, I highlighted this topic about flexibility in the buffer law, which included alternative clean water practices.  Your local SWCD’s are very knowledgeable about these alternative methods as well as buffers.


Rural Infrastructure covers many areas including; roads, bridges, high speed internet and clean water wells.  Much of the state’s population lives in large cities, therefore much of the road and infrastructure money from the state gets spent in these larger population areas.  With smaller communities and populations in the rural areas, it’s often tougher for them to get state or federal funding. 

For anyone interested in further reading of this article here is the link, click here.



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of April 24 – April 28:


·         JD15 (Lincoln Twp.)  Made inspection on multiple sink holes.

·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Multiple drop-in inspections to see progress of project.

·         CD56 (Lincoln Twp.)  We have issues with large sink holes forming.  We did some investigative digging and televising of the pipe.  We are having issues with multiple areas on the pipe where the connection joints are pulling apart.  A major reason for this is the very difficult sandy soils.  Picture below is from televising one of the many sink holes on CD56.televising 1

·         CD95 (Mapleton Twp.)  I investigated a report from a landowner of a major slough along a section of open ditch.  There also was an additional issue with a beaver building a dam type blockage in a road crossing culvert.


Upcoming Drainage Inspections:


·         JD38 (Sterling Twp.)

·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)

·         JD49 (Sterling Twp.)

·         CD78 (Vernon Center Twp.) partial

·         CD01 (McPherson Twp.)

·         CD83 (McPherson Twp.)

·         CD74 (Ceresco Twp.)


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 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.





Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist