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Sep 09

Mississippi Makeover

Posted on September 9, 2020 at 11:19 AM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 9/9/2020


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

Blue Earth County has recently started hosting board meetings and some drainage hearings virtually.  Blue Earth County staff has been using a combination of live-streaming video and conference call-in options.  Notices sent out for drainage hearings will include all necessary information for our constituents to attend these hearings virtually via internet or through the call-in option.                                                                     

The Mighty Miss:

After more than one hundred years and millions of visitors, the Mississippi headwaters needs a make-over.  Many of us fellow Minnesotans are familiar with Itasca State Park, have been visitors of the park.  I myself, am a repeat visitor of the Itasca State Park, Mississippi headwaters area.  In my opinion, Itasca State Park is one of the best state park areas in Minnesota.

With hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, Itasca State Park and the Mississippi headwaters area is a very popular attraction.  All those energetic visitors, over the many decades, have taken a toll on the grounds surrounding the Itasca Lake / Mississippi headwaters areas.  The iconic, historical stone crossing area has been in existence since the 1930's.  What some people might not know is that hidden underneath these stones is a dam that holds back some of the waters of Itasca Lake.  Over time, the waters of the lake, heavy flood waters and visitor foot traffic, have all led to a slight erosion issue. 

Starting in the first part of this October, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff plan to reshape the Mississippi channel area.  The original dam area will remain in-tack, as many of the original stones will also.  The reshaping and re-channeling will be about the only major change to this iconic landmark area.  New vegetative plantings and some new boulders along the shore will help to preserve this natural landmark for another one hundred plus years.  Funding for this project is being paid for through a Parks and Trails Fund.  For more reading on this article, along with some interesting historical photos, follow the link provided.                                                                                                      

Project Updates:  

  • JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  All checklist items have been completed.  Looking to close this project out this year. 
  • CD05 (Medo and Danville Twps.)  Crews started back cleaning portions of the open ditch last Friday.  Crews didn’t get much done last week due to higher water levels because of recent rains.  This repair is just about wrapped up.  A few days worth of open ditch cleaning, a few outlets to repair, and this repair should be complete.
  • JD09 North / South (LeRay Twp.)  No change from last week.  Looking to close both of these improvements out before the end of this year.
  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)  No change from last week.  We are waiting until after harvest to make sure all checklist items are complete.                                                                                     

Recent Drainage Inspections:

  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  Repairs have been made to a small area along a township road.  Separated concrete tile caused a small area of sink hole near the travel area of a township road.
  • CD05 (Danville Twp.) Just monitoring repair work of our crews.    
  • CD93 (Decoria Twp.)  We had one of our contractors make repairs to a field crossing.  See photo:CD93
  • CD43 (Mankato Twp.)  One of our contractors made an in-season tile repair.
  • JD14 (Judson Twp.)  On-going issues with areas of ponding water and areas of broken tile. JD14 2

  • CD25 (Decoria Twp.)  Making one of my many annual inspections when I came across a buffer violation.  If you notice in the picture, there is fence posts and wire blocking areas of our 103E buffer area.  No permanent structures of any sort are permitted in the 16.5-foot buffer area.  These violation items prevent inspection and maintenance of our buffer areas.BUFFER VIOLATION
  • JD116 (Pleasant Moudn Twp.)  Out making an annual inspection to portions of the open ditch.  Picture below, of a new road crossing installed in 2019 between Faribault County and Blue Earth County.JD116 NEW ROAD CROSSING

Do you have questions or topics about drainage that you would like to here more about? If you would like me to incorporate those concerns or topics in one of my future blogs, please feel free to email me at the listed email address below. 

We have multiple contractors making repairs across the county currently.  Please report repair issues to our drainage staff as soon as you notice them, as this will expedite the time in getting those repairs made.

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