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Posted on November 12, 2019 at 11:31 AM by Ryan Hiniker
Drainage update 11/12/2019
Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:
This is an exciting week for our Drainage Division, as stated above, the phosphorus filter installation begins today! Due to my time out of the office with the filter project, Kristin Altrichter, who works as an Environmental Health Specialist in our Property and Environmental Resources Department, has provided the following information regarding agricultural wetlands. Our department can provide assistance if you are considering drainage alterations.
In October, the Free Press reported that from April 1 to October 1, the area around Mankato received 125 to 150 percent of the normal rainfall amounts. Due to the increased rainfall, many farmers want to remove excess water from their fields by updating and adding drainage features. However, updating or adding drainage to lands, even in some of the areas where crop stress and drownout are occurring, may impact lands that qualify as wetlands regulated under Minnesota’s Wetland Conservation Act (Chapter 8420).
Wetlands are areas that have saturated soils and may occasionally be covered with shallow water. They are defined by the presence of certain types of plants, soils, and moist to wet conditions. Typically, wetland impacts, such as draining and filling, must be avoided or mitigated. However, some areas in agricultural fields that are classified as wetlands are exempt from the State requirements to mitigate for wetland losses. This means, under certain conditions, impacts to these areas do not need to be replaced on the landscape.
The purpose of the Agricultural Exemptions was to allow farmers to continue to farm the fields they were farming prior to the adoption of the rules. As such, cropping history is one of the main criteria used to determine if a project will qualify for an exemption. Historical aerial photos are commonly used to document the cropping history. Blue Earth County Property and Environmental Resources staff can be contacted at 507-304-4381 to help determine if a project will meet one of the exemptions.
Recent Drainage Inspections – week of November 4 – November 8:
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.
Drainage Management Specialist