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Oct 27

Safety and Species

Posted on October 27, 2020 at 11:37 AM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 10/27/2020


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

Blue Earth County has been hosting board meetings and some drainage hearings virtually.  Blue Earth County staff have 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.

  • No upcoming hearings.                                                                                                                 

Silver Carp and Boating Safety:

No hidden secret that the COVID-19 situation has many of us staying close to home with our trips and activities.  Many of our outdoor recreation sports have seen a huge increase in numbers in 2020.  We have many more boaters, campers, fisher people and even hunters.  With the uptick of individuals doing these sports, also comes the increased dangers.  Boating related sports have seen a huge increase in fatalities this year, in-fact the highest numbers in over a decade.  Boating related deaths for 2020 are currently at 15, most of these deaths coming during the warmer months, when lakes are extremely busy.  Recent reports of two different duck hunting groups capsizing their boats.  Both groups survived due to wearing their life jackets.  Let’s make sure we are having fun while doing our favorite outdoor sports but let’s do them in the safest manor possible.  Common sense and routine safety procedures can make a lake outing either success or sadness.

Minnesota is well known for its waters and pristine ecosystems.  To preserve these fragile ecosystems, including our native fish species, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have been making great efforts towards preventing the spread of invasive fish species, specifically invasive carp.  Commercial fishermen recently captured 4 invasive carp species, Silver Carp, near the La Crosse, Wisconsin area.  With direction by the Minnesota DNR, the 4-silver carp where tagged and are now being tracked.  The Minnesota DNR and other groups are paying close attention to this group of carp, tracking their movements.  Are these carp species moving together all year, are they moving separately, are they traveling with other species during the year.  Invasive species costs an untold amount, with the devastation they cause, and sometimes permanent damages cannot be reversed.  Like the article I spoke of above, now that we have more people out fishing, we should all be doing our part to also help in this invasive species movement and prevention.  If you are out fishing and catch an invasive carp species, do your part and report it to Minnesota DNR Fisheries Department.  We all can do our part to help stop the invasive fish species spread and we can all do our part in water quality also.  Every little bit helps to leave it better than we found it.  Hopefully the next generations can carry on with water quality and eco-friendly practices we might start today.

For more reading on these articles and others like it, click the provided links.

Project Updates:  

  • CD05 (Medo and Danville Twps.)  All items for this large repair should be completed at this point.  We will have to see how things hold up when it comes to side slopes and seeding next spring.
  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)  A few “after harvest” items remain, mostly grading small areas and cutting down in-takes in a few areas.
  • CD26 (McPherson Twp.) Crews are starting back up after some very unpleasant weather conditions.  Open ditch cleaning is just about finished and our new water quality in-takes or ASI’s are still being installed, as crews started up yesterday afternoon again.
  • JTD83 (McPherson Twp.)  Crews have been pushing on through the rough weather.  Working conditions are less than favorable now.  Open ditch cleaning is just about completed.  Two new crossings have been installed with a few more to go.  We have had to deal with a few unexpected items including adding more ASI’s, and toe-drains.  All these items are necessary for making the final product the best as we can deliver.  Our contractor is doing a great job, despite very unfavorable working conditions.

Recent Drainage Inspections:

  • CD57 (Mapleton Twp.)  We have issues with two beaver dam areas along a portion of the open ditch. cd57
  • CD26 (McPherson Twp.)  Sediment cleaning and ASI installation have continued.
  • JTD83 (McPherson Twp.)  Crews are still working on sediment cleaning, reshaping and other miscellaneous repairs along portions of the open ditch.  Sediment cleaning is just about completed.  Photos below showing the installation of multiple BMP's all in one location.  We have keyed in rip rap rock, an ASI, toe-drain and side slope reshaping.  jtd83 asi
    jtd83 asi 2

  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.)  Just when I thought we might be caught up with tile repairs, televising last week now shows that we do have more areas to replace along a portion of branch 23.
  • CD50 (Lincoln Twp.)  Small area of tile repair to old concrete tile.
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  Making a few last-minute checks and repairs before closing this improvement project out.
  • JTD48 Brown (Butternut Valley Twp.)  Monitoring areas of slough repairs.  Inspected two field crossings with possible erosion issues.
  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Investigates issues with erosion around a field crossing.
  • JD36 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  Investigated two areas of tile repairs.

Special note, as I am making some annual inspections along areas of open ditches, I am noticing an increasing number of buffer violation areas.  Please remember that all 103E drainage systems are required to have a 16.5-foot buffer along the open ditch areas.  Wondering if your ditch falls into the 103E category, give me a call or email.

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.  We also do not allow any permanent or seasonal items to be placed in our open ditches or buffer areas.  These types of items would include rocks, fence posts, trailers or other agricultural equipment, just to mention a few items.  If you have questions or concerns with open ditches or buffers, please call.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist