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Nov 06

Ditch Happenings Nov. 2nd - Nov. 6th

Posted on November 6, 2015 at 2:19 PM by Acacia Wytaske

"Field" Trip!

Yesterday, I attended the last MN Viewers Association Seminar of 2015. The topic was "Classification of Benefitting Land". We were taken out into the field and discussed how to compare native conditions with agricultural use after drainage.

Above: View from my seat.

When the viewer's are working on a Redetermination of Benefits, this is one of the many processes that is done; going to the site, taking into account the soil type, LiDAR information (high resolution elevation data), land conditions before drainage, private tile on the property, the highest and best use with county drainage, and then, with all things considered, the viewer's give their professional opinion of the classification. 

When I refer to classification here, I'm talking about the "Valuation Prior to Drainage" which is described as the following:
A Lands - Standing water or cattails (wetland)
B Lands - Seasonally flooded/pasture ground (pasture)
C Lands - Wet subsoil; marginal crop land (low to medium crop land)
D Lands - Upland areas not needing artificial drainage but irregular in shape and intermixed with wetter soils (medium to high crop land)
There's also the "Valuation with NRCS Guideline Drainage" classifications but that's not what we talked about during the trip so I'll leave that for another blog.

Once we had arrived at the site, we viewed one section at a time. We were given printouts of the section that showed the elevation and soil types. Here's what one of the printouts looked like:

Although we were paying more attention to the actual land, I enjoyed the raised view of the ditches from the bus. You can see this section of ditch appears to be pretty well maintained and currently does not have a buffer.

This section of ditch appears to need cleaning, and it also currently does not have a buffer. I was informed that this particular ditch was just redetermined and a buffer will be installed during the upcoming project.

I missed the opportunity to snap a shot of the one ditch I saw that did have a buffer. Here's the view from Google Earth, though. You can see on the right there is no buffer and on the left there is an excellent buffer. Just think, soon this is what most ditches will look like!

When we were done classifying the land in 10 sections, we went back for lunch and discussion. The classifications are a matter of opinion so it was a great experience to hear the different views of other people and how they classified the same land.  I now have a very good grasp on how the classifications are assigned and why. This concludes my recap of the "field" trip. 

It was a busy week in the ditch department, again. We started the week off with the Board of Commissioners Meeting where Craig Austinson, Ditch Manager, and I had 4 items on the agenda;
1. The Hearing for the Final Improvement and the Redetermination of Benefits of CD78 (Vernon Center & Garden City Townships) took place and the resolution to accept the revised redetermination of benefits and move forward with the project was approved. 
2. An inspector's report was approved for the removal of tree roots from an abandoned inlet to prevent further damage to the surrounding tile on JD34(LeRay Township).
3. An inspector's report was approved for the repair of 2 blowouts on branch 1-A of CD27 (Lincoln Township).
4. An inspector's report was approved for the removal of a beaver dam on CD56 (Lincoln Township).

Tuesday afternoon, the Ditch Advisory Committee met to discuss the proposal of county policy on benefits of conservation easements on ditch systems and the 2016 annual ditch levies.

On Wednesday, information meeting notices were mailed to landowners on CD50 (Lincoln & Butternut Townships). The meeting for Tuesday, November 10th, is to discuss the possibility of a repair to Branch 13 and Lateral P of CD50.  Visit the DrainageDB portal to view the notice under the CD50 file.

Today, we received the JD09 (LeRay Township) Preliminary Engineer's Report. This report is available on the DrainageDB portal under the JD09 file.

And to top off this super week, someone left this sweet little bike charm on my desk!  Have a great weekend!

Casey Wytaske
Taxpayer Service Specialist - Drainage & Taxation