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Jun 25

Maxed Out

Posted on June 25, 2018 at 5:25 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 6/25/2018


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • JD43 Improvement project acceptance hearing will be July 10, 2018.  The acceptance hearing will be part of the July 10 Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners' meeting, held on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse in Mankato.  Landowners affected by this hearing will be receiving notice by mailing shortly. 
  • There is an agricultural drainage and water quality workshop being held this Wednesday, June 27 in Mankato.  ISG, along with other sponsors, is hosting a workshop to discuss topics of agricultural drainage and water quality, and the future of both.  For more specific details on this workshop please click to be redirected to the ISG website for more information.




Project Updates:


  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  No work to speak of has been done for over a week.  The wet weather and heavy rains have put a halt to all of our projects.
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  This project is literally less than a mile apart from JD34.  The area where these two improvement projects are located has seen over six inches of rain in the last week, even more in localized areas.  Just like JD34, this project is at a standstill for the moment.  The heavy downpours did do some additional damage to our open ditch on this system. Some re-cleaning of the open ditch will have to be done when the weather is finally dry enough.

Shrimp Food:

I wrote awhile back about how we have a shrimp-farming company in southwestern Minnesota.  Now the researchers from this company, Tru Shrimp, have been working to produce a corn-based feed for the shrimp.

The research started three years ago as a means to find an alternative food source.  The current fishmeal source is both expensive and at times tough to get.  Research teams have been testing different batches and levels of corn in the shrimp feed.  They are testing to see if it will not only hold up in water, but just how palatable and nutritious it is.  One of the challenges with using corn is the lack of a key amino acid: Lysine.

The initial results seem promising that corn can be used as a replacement for the wheat middlings currently used with the fishmeal.  They are currently testing on small batches of shrimp a combination of corn, different plant ingredients, and amino acids.  More tests will need to be conducted, especially on a larger scale, to ensure that the shrimp are properly maintaining nutrition and growth rates. 

Using corn in shrimp food would be a plus for Minnesota corn farmers as it would create an additional demand for corn.  It would also benefit the Tru Shrimp Company by being able to save on current feed costs.

Rain Rain Go Away:

No hidden secret that we have had very large amounts of rain lately.  It’s not just us in southern Minnesota that are suffering the effects of Mother Nature lately.  Portions of the state have seen severe flooding and property damage.  Our neighbors to the east, in Wisconsin, are in the same predicament as we are with excessive wet weather. 

We in southern Minnesota have had localized issues of flooding and wet basements.  Northern Minnesota is seeing areas of severe structural damage to their roadways.  I’m sure many of you have seen the photos that have been on social media.  Bridges and roads have literally been swept away by swift, rising flood waters.

Structural damage isn’t the only issue from the recent flood waters.  Many of our lakes, rivers and streams have seen large amounts of sediment loading into them.  The amounts of surface water that roar across the land after these downpours is amazing both in power and speed.

We (in the drainage world) try to mitigate the amount of impact these large storms have on our lakes, rivers, streams, and other structures, but it’s getting tougher to predict these 50 and 100-year storm events.  We often get questioned on why we can’t plan better or design better when doing improvement projects.  The answer to that is this; sure, the engineers could design a bigger and better system, but at what cost?  Many of these current projects are very expensive on a per acre basis the way it is.  Not only the monetary cost, but also the environmental cost.  If we keep making these systems bigger to take more water in more quickly, what sort of impact does that have on our lakes, rivers, and streams and their delicate ecosystems.  It’s not a perfect science, the world of drainage, but we are always learning and evolving different designs in the hope of preserving and making tomorrow better than today.  Photo below shows damage from northern Minnesota.

    northern flooding     


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of June 18 – June 22:

  • CD25 (Decoria Twp.)  Monitoring water levels and sloughing issues.
  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  Heavy rainfalls had our old and new systems working overtime last week.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Monitoring high water levels and our fresh repairs. 
  • JD36 (Cambria Twp.)  Ongoing issues with slower drainage, due in large part to large rainfalls lately.
  • We have had an increase in the number of calls last week due to the large rain totals.  We appreciate each and everyone of them.  Please don’t be afraid to call with issues you see on a county drainage system whether it’s a tile system or an open ditch.  I’m certain there will be additional issues or repairs to make once the flood waters go down.  We all need some drier weather to get us back up and going again.

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