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Apr 09

Possible Riparian Buffer Amendment

Posted on April 9, 2018 at 10:44 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 4/9/2018



Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


·         No upcoming meetings or hearings.


Project Updates:


  • No official project updates, but we do have contractors trying to get out and get some work done on our drainage systems.  We should have a contractor out cutting and removing trees in a buffer area along CD27 and CD50 near Lake Crystal.  Hopefully the road weight restrictions will be coming off sometime soon as we are hoping to get a bunch of ditch repairs done before planting season.


Drainage Update:

Welcome to Sprinter (Spring / Winter) - it might be our newest season.  We have contractors out making some smaller repairs despite the wintery conditions.  According to one of our contractors, there is little to no frost left in the ground.  As soon as weight restrictions come off for our county roads, we will be able to start mobilizing the larger equipment to get some of our projects and larger repairs done and others started.  


BWSR APO Amendment:

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is asking for public comments for a possible amendment to the Administrative Penalty Order (APO) for the 103F Buffer Law Implementation. This proposed amendment is to give a second option to the already in-place APO that was adopted June 2017.  The APO is a plan that is approved by BWSR and enforced by county, watershed districts or local Soil & Water districts.  The APO gives guidelines for assessing penalties for parcels that are out of compliance for the required riparian buffer.

The amendment that is being proposed will include a penalty based on linear feet of water body frontage on a given property.  This distance is not just the linear feet that is out of compliance for riparian buffer.  So, as an example, if your property is supposed to have 200 feet of riparian buffer along a public drainage ditch and only 20 feet out of 200 is out of compliance, you would be fined for the whole 200 feet, not just the 20 feet.  The proposed fines are quite steep for this per feet of water body frontage proposal.

BWSR has set some fine guidelines based on per linear foot of riparian buffer.  Below is an example of the proposed:

Riparian buffer linear feet / Penalty amount per linear foot

0-100 ft = $200-$500

100-500 = $50-$200

500-1000 = $30-$50

1000 = $25-$30

Counties and watershed districts that have chosen to enforce the APO plans can choose the amounts they want to charge so as long as they are within the guidelines of this proposed amendment.  The guidelines do however state that at no point will the fines exceed $500 per linear foot of buffer, per parcel.  For more specifics on this topic and more buffer discussions click here.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of April 2 – April 6:

·         CD93 (Decoria Twp.)  Met with a contractor to discuss in-field repairs to gully washed erosion areas along our ditch side banks.

·         CD50 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  We have a tree contractor currently out removing some of the trees and smaller brush that we chemically treated last year.  We are removing the trees to avoid potential issues of trees falling into the open ditch or beavers using the trees to create dams to back up the water.

·         CD27 (Judson Twp.)  Same thing as CD50, we are removing the dead trees and brush from the ditch banks and buffer areas to avoid future issues.

·         We had two good landowner meetings last week to discuss possible repairs.  Both of those systems are tile systems that have either failed or are about to fail.


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