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Sep 17

Buffer Report Card

Posted on September 17, 2018 at 5:15 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 9/17/2018


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • No upcoming meetings or hearings.

Project Updates:


  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  Favorable weather the last week has helped get a jump on installing new tile.  With fall right around the corner…the urgency to get these projects wrapped up is being felt.  Both contractors are installing new tile as efficiently as possible.  They are both working long weeks and partial weekends.  Green area represents area of new tile installed.jd09 imp map update
  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)   Nothing new to report at this time.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Hopefully the major rains expected for this week miss this area.  We expect that our contractor will be starting this repair in the coming week.
  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  Old main pipe crossings under County Road 27 have been filled as well as the old intakes in the ditch.  The reason that we have the contractor fill the old pipe under a county road surface is for future maintenance and costs.  This is a common practice any time we have a county or state road crossing and its usually part of the permit requirements when the permit to work in the road right-of-way is given.  The contractor for this improvement still has a list of check list of items to finish yet this fall.  

Buffer Status:

With the first round of mandatory riparian buffers from last November behind us, it’s almost time for round number two.  The second round of mandatory riparian buffers is coming this November 1, 2018, and applies to all public ditches.  As many understand, riparian buffers were made mandatory for protecting the future of Minnesota’s water quality.  The hope is that these vegetative buffer areas will help reduce the amounts of sediment and nutrients making their way into our waterways.  Many of us know that these buffers aren’t necessarily the “silver bullet” to fixing our nutrient loading problems, but any reduction is a win for all of us.  

Landowners have multiple options for the buffers; it’s not a one size fits all situation.  Landowners had options for the public waters buffer areas with the choice of alternative practices and clean water certification.  Landowners affected by the public ditch buffer deadline also have those same options available to them.  The state has given some flexibility to both the landowners and to the local government entities that are overseeing the riparian buffers. 

Currently our state's compliance for public waters riparian buffer is hovering around 98% to 99% compliant since the November 1, 2017 deadline.  With 87 counties in Minnesota, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.  Almost three quarters of those 87 counties are 90 percent compliant or higher.  Public ditches statewide compliance levels are a bit lower at around 75% to 76%.  The November 1, 2018, deadline for public ditches riparian buffer is approaching fast.  Landowners can choose to either install these 16.5-foot buffers or alternative practices on their own or ask for the local SWCD’s (Soil and Water Conservation District) assistance.  Your local SWCD will need to know of this compliance plan, as they are the ones checking for future compliance.  Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance or further assistance from your local SWCD, as November 1 is just right around the corner.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of September 10 – September 14:

  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Our new Alternative Side Intake project is complete.  We added nine of these new water quality intakes along the open ditch of this system.  We also have two new beaver dams that will need to be removed.
  • JD48 (Butternut Vallery Twp.)  We did some mowing and weed spraying along a portion of open ditch.  I’ve been monitoring to see what the weed kill is, as we are trying to come up with a better formula to use when killing tough weeds.  
  • CD56 (Garden City & Lincoln Twps.) Our contractor from last year’s repair work is still trying to put the final touches on this project.  I also inspected an area where there is a tile collapse that will needed to be fixed this fall.
  • CD41 (Vernon Center Twp.)  The trees have been removed and now the fun part of sediment cleaning and realigning the ditch.  There are areas that we will need to reshape the side slopes along the open ditch.  All work should be completed yet this fall.
  • CD95 (Mapleton Twp.)  Flood waters have finally subsided and more slough areas are visible.  Some side slope reshaping to a gentler slope might be needed.  Poor soil conditions and heavy saturation are making a mess of areas along the open ditch.  
  • CD36 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  We had to repair one of our repairs from earlier in the year.  One of our side intakes just didn’t hold up to the large rain events from earlier in the year, but things are patched back up and looking great now.
  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  We had to regrade some areas of the County Road 27 ditch.  The contractor filled the old main pipe and intakes along the road, so regrading was needed to drain the ditch waters to our new intakes that were installed as part of our new improvement.


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