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Nov 19

Exotic Algae

Posted on November 19, 2018 at 6:55 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 11/19/2018


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • CD78, we will be having a final acceptance hearing to finalize this improvement project.  The hearing will be at the Board of Commissioners Meeting on November 27 at the Historic Courthouse.
  • CD28, we have awarded a local contractor for a major repair project set to take place sometime between now and June, 2019.

Project Updates:


  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  The southerly portion of this improvement has been completed, minus some minor clean-up work.  The northerly portion of this improvement project has about two weeks of work left yet to do.  Our contractor has experienced some major mechanical issues with one of their main machines.  I am being told that their machine should be back up and running by next week sometime.  The contractor will be going through some of the wettest areas and installing concrete pipe, so digging and installation will be a little slower than our normal plastic pipe.  We still fully expect this project to finish on time, despite some very early winter-like conditions.  See attached map for remaining locations of pipe yet to be installed.jd09 imp map update
  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)   One boring under MN Hwy. 68 is completed and so are two County Road crossings for this improvement.  Our new outlet and areas of new tile have been, and continue to be, installed despite less-than-pleasant working conditions.  Crews have been pushing very hard to keep installing pipe despite the frost growing deeper by the day.    
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  This little repair project should be completed at this point.  Our new low-flow crossing has been regraded and seeded.  Portions of the open ditch have been cleaned where we had issues with sloughs.  More permanent solutions will still need to be done on this system, as ditch bank conditions continue to deteriorate.
  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  Harvest is complete in the areas of this improvement, so now it’s time for the general contractor to come do final checklist items.  There are televising crews getting video footage of our newly-installed pipe.  We do this as an added insurance to know what sort of condition the newly installed pipe is in before we finalize a project and start the warranty period.  We do this on all improvement projects and some major repair projects.
  • CD34 (Judson Twp.)  The general contractor for this improvement has been working at getting checklist items completed.  We will be televising more pipe in the next week and our old pipe under County Road 114 will be filled with concrete in the next week or two.  Hopefully we can close this project out soon.

Exotic Algae:

Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, Cylindro for short, is a tropical algae that is making a home in many Minnesota water bodies.  Algae are common across all of our bodies of water in Minnesota.  From our prairie pot hole lakes of southern Minnesota, to our rockier glacial lakes of northern Minnesota, we have some form of algae in them all.  Not all algae are bad nor toxic, nor is this necessarily a sign of an impaired ecosystem.

Recent studies are showing that our bad algae, also known as “blue-green” algae, outbreaks are becoming more severe.  There are many, if not millions, of ideas on why these sometimes-toxic algae blooms are spreading rapidly across many of our favorite water bodies.  The finger of blame could be pointed in many different directions, but it’s easiest to join forces to do small bits of good rather than blame.  Many lake associations have been taking action because of growing issues with their area lakes.  Many neighboring communities along water bodies are joining forces with their community members to do their part of cleaning and preserving our precious lake resources.

This newer tropical algae has been found in our southern Minnesota lakes, including Madison Lake.  Cylindro (tropical algae) is much like its cousin “blue-green” algae in that it will bloom and spread during the same times of year and under similar conditions as “blue-green” algae.  Cylindro can also produce toxic blooms of algae that can make humans and animals sick.  Despite this tropical algae species origins, it somehow has figured out how to over winter in our cold climate.

The major difference between Cylindro algae and our typical “blue-green” algae is the visual appearance.  Typical “blue-green” algae blooms are thick and sometimes smelly, usually floating on the surface of the water.  Cylindro algae is very different in that it usually blooms several feet below the water surface.  Even though it might be below the surface blooming, it still is very capable of producing toxins without visually seeing signs. 

Our water bodies are our biggest resource and our largest legacy that we leave to the next generations.  Scientists are spending much more time and effort understanding these newer challenges with algae.  They are not only taking water samples during the warmer months but also mud samples during winter months to build up a database.  Hopefully this database can give better insight into how to predict, and maybe ultimately prevent, huge toxic algae blooms on our water bodies.  For more reading on this great article, click the hyperlink.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of November 13 – November 16:

  • CD57 (Mapleton Twp.)  We had a report of some issues with sink holes along some old portions of tile to the northwest of Mapleton.  These tile lines are very shallow and in bad condition.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Monitoring progress and making sure that this project is completed and wrapped up for the year.    
  • CD05 (Danville Twp.)  Issues with one of our newer field crossing washing out.
  • JD85 (Pleasant Mound Twp.)  I was notified of some issues with some old-style side intakes.  As some of us in the drainage industry call them “soil suckers”, they are simply intakes that pass horizontally through the side-bank of an open ditch.  They bring soil and debris with them every time it rains and are one of the leading causes of sediment issues in our ditch systems.  We fully intend on replacing these with newer, more water quality friendly intakes.
  • CD43 (Mankato Twp.)  We have been actively trying to get some televising done on about eight different drainage systems.  We are still trying to get this particular system televised. We often use televising to spot potential issues or pinpoint issues in tile systems.  

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope it is a very enjoyable and meaningful holiday with friends, family, and loved ones.turkey


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