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Feb 05

Positive Changes Coming?

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 4:35 PM by Ryan Hiniker


Drainage update 2/5/2018



Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

·         On February 6th at 9:15 am in the Blue Earth County Commissioners board room, we will present the CD28 final acceptance hearing and final engineering report.  The hearing is on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse at 204 S. 5th St, Mankato.  Affected landowners received notice by mail at least 10 days prior to the hearing date.

·         10th Annual Nutrient Management Conference.  Tuesday February 20, 2018 at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato.  Click link for more information on this conference.


Project Updates:


  • No project updates at this time.  All projects are shut down for the winter season.  Spring will be a very busy time for drainage as we will have two, possible three, major projects going. 


Drainage Minutes:

Some updates and possible changes are coming from BWSR (Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources) about buffers to public drainage systems.  The stakeholder Drainage Work Group and BWSR are collectively working together with legislative members to make some changes to assist in the public drainage buffer program.    

The cost of installing these perennial buffers along the public drainage ditches is a looming concern for many landowners as well as drainage authorities.  There is talk of a possible short-term provision allowing drainage authorities to pay for buffer seed without fully acquiring the buffer easement.  The landowner and drainage authority both must agree that at some point damages will be paid along with a permanent easement given to said drainage authority.  This payment of damages and permanent easement is usually at the time of Redetermination of Benefits, ROB.  Landowners can be paid damages when having an ROB done, even years after the November 1, 2018 buffer deadline and buffers have already been established.

The Buffer Cost Share Program may also see possible changes.  Many are hopeful that more funds will be available for the Buffer Cost Share Program, as well as broadening who is eligible to receive those funds.  There is talk to allow drainage authorities to access these Cost Share programs on behalf of a drainage system.  This would greatly benefit some drainage authorities, especially those that are having troubles with finding the funds otherwise on a per drainage system basis.  This would cover costs to seed the one rod (16.5 feet) area along open ditch drainage systems only and will not include funds for purchasing any permanent easement rights.  Some are asking for more funding for the multipurpose drainage management program to aid in the water quality purposes.

One of the toughest challenges for Minnesota Drainage Authorities is trying to get all drainage systems to “up to date” benefits listings which is done through having an ROB done.  ROBs involve a smaller team of people called Viewers.  These viewer teams have a lead person and others that work along side the lead viewer to give value and benefit to drainage system acres that are benefited from an artificial drainage system.  Part of the problem with getting ROBs done is its very time consuming doing the field work.  There aren’t that many viewer teams doing the work and not many want to be lead viewers.  Some proposed ideas for helping to aid the shortage of viewers is the idea of having county appraisal staff aid in the viewing process.

Stay tuned to see how things turn out for these, and other, issues being proposed to members of legislature.

Looking for more reading on this subject or to just explore more about BWSR, click link for more.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of January 29 – February 2:


  • No inspection as of last week, inspections are usually fairly quiet this time of year.
  • 2018 ditch levies were finished up this past week and should be coming out on tax statements in late March.

fishing 2
Had a fun day on the frozen water fishing with my son.  Fishing could have been more productive, but we still had a fun relaxing time.

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