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Mar 04

History Lesson

Posted on March 4, 2020 at 3:47 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 3/4/2020


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • JD15 (Jamestown Twp.)  An informal landowner meeting for this drainage system will be held this Friday, March 6, 2020.  Affected landowners should have received notices via U.S. Mail.  Notices included topic of discussion for meeting, as well as the time and location of landowner meeting.                                                                                                                       

A Town Almost Forgotten:

I came across this quick little article titled “A Minnesota Ghost Story”.  It was a quick story about how a town came to be literally buried by soil erosion.  This once actual town of Beaver, which was located in the southeast corner of Minnesota, went from a fully functioning town to gone and buried.  The Dust Bowl era, along with the silty soils of this area, combined with highly erodible tillage practices, made for the perfect recipe that eventually buried the town.

The common tillage practice of the day was deep plowing.  The extreme dry conditions of the Dust Bowl climate sent much of the silty soils blowing for miles ,if not states, at a time.  The article goes on to talk about ghost stories amongst soil scientists.  The ghost stories of the original soil mappers that were probing six feet into the ground working their way field-by-field across southeastern Minnesota, only to occasionally hit the tops of fence posts buried six feet deep.

This erosion and soil crisis are what ultimately lead to the forming of Minnesota’s first Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).  Today, there is an SWCD located in every county across the state of Minnesota.  Many landowners and agricultural producers now rely on their local SWCD staff to guide them in making informed choices, promoting soil health. 

Today, we aren’t experiencing the dry Dust Bowl climates, but rather the opposite, wet and wetter.  Practices that have been historically good for erosion might have a negative affect on the wet current conditions many Minnesotans are experiencing. 

As the weather patterns and trends change, so will our tools and ideas to confront and combat new developing challenges associated with preserving soil health.  We are very fortunate in the state of Minnesota to have many groups, both locally and at different government levels, that are almost constantly working to find better ways of improving and preserving our states soil health. Hopefully we can avoid burying any other towns in the future.  Click link for full story.                                                                                                                                                          

Project Updates:


  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)  No change from last week.
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  Televising finished on the southern portion of improvement project.  Televising should be going on for portions to the northern parts of this improvement.
  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  Checklist items are being completed by our contractor and our hired engineer.  We are hoping to close this improvement project this summer.
  • CD05 (Medo and Danville Twps.)  The contractor and sub-contractor for this repair plan on starting tree and brush removal in a couple weeks.  


Recent Drainage Inspections:

  • No inspections from last week.

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