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Jun 05

Buffer Update 6/5/2017

Posted on June 5, 2017 at 4:28 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 6/5/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


·         JD09 & JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  We will be having final improvement hearings at the June 6, 2017, Board of Commissioners meeting.  The JD34 improvement hearing will be from 9:20 – 9:45.  The JD09 improvement hearing will be from 9:50 – 10:20.  Both of these meetings will be held in the Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners room on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse, 204 South 5th Street. The Board packet is located here.

Project Updates:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Pipe crews were slowly making progress last week.  The pipe crew is now working in one of the toughest and wettest areas on this project.  The crews are doing their best to keep getting pipe in and hopefully digging conditions get better quickly.  The pipe boring crew that was boring under CSAH 13 has hit another rock and very sandy conditions.  Things are at a standstill for the boring crew until another plan can be figured out.  I will keep everyone updated when we do have a plan for the boring crew.  The picture below shows crews working on special timbers to keep the heavy equipment from sinking into the muck.cd28 muck

·         CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  DMI crews have been offsite most of last week as we encountered more additional pipe that needs repair on this large repair project.  This additional pipe that needs repair will increase the overall project costs by almost 40%.  The reason that this pipe was not originally discovered was because of very high water levels when we televised last fall.  We knew going into this project that additional pipe repair might be needed.  We need board approval to make the change order to repair the additional pipe and resulting costs.

·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  The tree removal crews that have been working in Lake Crystal for the past week and a half have made great progress.  The crews are just starting to cut the larger trees this week along the 16.5 foot ditch bank area.  Hopefully if everything goes well, the tree clearing will be complete in a couple more weeks. 


Drainage Minutes:


The last few weeks have been extremely busy.  We now have four major projects going on at the same time.  We have been seeing a large increase of pipe failures lately on projects that were done in the late 1990’s.  Pipe products and construction specifications were much different then.  We have made great gains in learning what works and what doesn’t seem to work.

We have and will continue to do our best to serve our constituents to the best of our abilities and in a timely manner.  Some of these repairs are fairly large in nature and in cost.  We have to follow certain statutory guidelines with certain repairs and costs.  We will do everything in our power to make sure that repairs are made in a timely and respectful fashion.



Buffer Extension:


Minnesota farmers and landowners alike will be given the possibility for a temporary extension to the buffer deadline for Public Waters.  This extension to the deadline and a few other changes came last week with the signing by Governor Dayton of several legislative bills.

Public Waters had a buffer law deadline set to go into effect November 1, 2017.  This Public Waters deadline was for establishing a 50 foot buffer average with a minimum 30 foot buffer needed to meet requirements.  Farm groups and other groups made the statements that the deadlines are unrealistic, and a compromise was eventually reached.  Lawmakers and the Governor’s office agreed to a temporary extension process.  If found to be applicable and certain requirements are met, the landowner would have until 2018 to be compliant.  Some readers of the law say July 1, 2018, is the specific date but the BWSR (Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources) website states the waiver will run through November 1, 2018.  These dates may need some final confirmation, but the BWSR template and dates are what your local SWCD’s are going to be using to make their decisions from.

BWSR sees this as a “grace period” more than a delay.  It’s giving greater consideration to factors like weather conditions, crop harvest, or any other circumstance that would hinder the November 1, 2017 deadline compliance.  The waiver appears to be an application process, not a guaranteed acceptance.  Local SWCD’s will be responsible for issuing these Conditional Compliance Waivers and also the Validation of Compliance Requests.

compl map

Legislators decided to allocate funds totaled nearly $22 million for use on the buffer law program.  Some of the funds will go towards cost-sharing buffer seeding mixes, alternative clean water methods, and other conservation programs.  Not all lands will be eligible for all the conservation programs.  CREP is one of many programs that landowners could possibly enroll these buffer areas into.  CREP does eventually turn into a permanent easement.  There are many different programs and not one fit will work for every landowner.  Call your local SWCD and discuss your options before these programs are filled up.  The picture shown displays Minnesota counties by percentage of buffer compliance.  Click here for a better view of this map and more information.



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of May 22 – May 26:


·         JD20 (Lyra Twp.)  I inspected multiple areas of tile blow outs.  This is an old tile system that is in need of a major repair or improvement.  We spend a fair amount of time and money on this system every year.

·         JD38 (Shelby Twp.)  This major tile blow out of a 36 inch tile is getting closer to being repairable.  We have been waiting for water levels to drop enough so we can pump water around the area we need to repair.  It’s been tough lately as we have a wetland that dumps water into this system as well as the City of Amboy using this system as its storm drainage outlet.  

·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  Checked in on project progress multiple times during the week.

·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Made multiple random stops during week to check on progress of this project.

·         CD05 (Danville Twp.)  Checked in with crews repairing multiple areas on this system including a slough area and a new field crossing.  Photo below shows crews working on installing new field crossing culvert.
cd05 new crossing

·         JD01 FAR (Sterling Twp.)  Inspected a major sink hole which will now turn into a major tile repair project.




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.

Answer to photo question in the lead in = Redwood Falls, MN 





Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist