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Oct 30

Ditch Happenings Oct. 26th - 30th

Posted on October 30, 2015 at 2:43 PM by Acacia Wytaske


I'm currently working on obtaining my GIS Certification*. What is GIS? GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems and provides the ability to visualize and analyze geographically referenced data. To put it simply, it's mapping. 

In regards to our county ditches, the GIS ditch data is translated through the county mapping software host, Beacon. You can actually view the county ditch location right from your computer at home. 

Here's a short tutorial on how to use Beacon to see county ditches:
For this example, I will use County Ditch 53 (Vernon Center & Garden City Townships) because it is a smaller sized ditch.

From the Beacon home page, select "View Map", you will be taken to an interactive map.  From here, you can select the area you would like to view by zooming in to that area with the magnifying glass tool. I will select Sections 33 & 34 of Garden City Township and Sections 3 & 4 of Vernon Center Township.  If you are looking for your own property, you may go to the "Search" button at the top of the page and do a search based on your parcel number, then select "Map" again and it will bring you right to your parcel on the map.
Once you have navigated to the area you are interested in, turn on the ditch layer by selecting the "Public Ditch" check box in the Layer List on the left side of the screen. (See the highlighted area in the picture below):
Now you will notice a green line throughout the area I selected on the map, that is CD53. To verify the name of the ditch. Make sure the info buttoninfo.jpg is next to the Public Ditch title (shown in above picture) by clicking on the words, "Public Ditch". Then click directly on the green line and a Feature Data box will appear. The feature data includes the name of the ditch.  The rest of the fields in the box are blank at this time, but in the future details like tile size, depth, grade, and buffer requirements could be included. (That's just one area my GIS Certification will come in handy!)

If interactive maps just aren't your thing, we also have the .pdf files of all our ditch systems, listed by township, on the website, as well. Check it out!

Right now, with the new buffer initiative signed into law, there is a very important mapping project taking place.  The Department of Natural Resources has been tasked with producing maps of public waters and ditch systems that will be required to have permanent vegetation buffers by November 1, 2017 (public waters) and November 1, 2018 (ditch systems).  Learn more about this vital effort by visiting the MN DNR Buffer Mapping Project webpage.

Weekly Tidbits:

- In my October 12th - 16th blog, I posted a link for a Wetlands survey.  The survey has been extended. Farmers input is essential in this study. If you know a farmer, please consider sharing this link with them. Paper surveys are also available. Here are the details:

Blue Earth County is coordinating development of a local plan to maintain and improve the quality, quantity and biological diversity of wetlands throughout the County.

The Comprehensive Wetland Protection and Management Plan for Blue Earth County will use locally-determined, scientifically-based methods to:
- Identify and protect high priority public value wetlands
- Identify and prioritize strategic selection of wetland replacement sites based on local public values
- Allow flexibility for Blue Earth County and the City of Mankato to administer the Wetland Conservation Act to protect priority wetlands and encourage restoration of wetlands in priority areas.

Please take this survey about wetlands by November 20th, 2015.

 - Subscribe to this blog:  Select the "Notify Me" link on the right side menu bar towards the top of this page. Enter your email address to sign in. Then scroll down the page to the Blog list - The Blue Earth County DrainageBlog is the only one to choose in that category. Click on the envelope button to sign up for email notifications. Then go to your email to confirm you've signed up. It's that easy, and now you won't miss any updates on drainage news in Blue Earth County!

*I am taking GIS Certification college courses, independently, on my own time. I am not taking classes during my scheduled work hours.

Casey Wytaske
Taxpayer Service Specialist - Drainage & Taxation