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Jan 11

Ditch Happenings January 4th - 8th

Posted on January 11, 2016 at 2:33 PM by Acacia Wytaske

The MN Drainage Viewers Association held its first Seminar of 2016 on January 7th.  To be an accredited viewer you must be a paid member and attend a minimum of two seminars annually. The seminars are hosted 4 times a year.
The seminar held on Thursday was presented by Chuck Brandel, Senior Civil Engineer of ISG .  His presentation was on ditch system hydraulics, design, capacities and watershed hydrology. Chuck covered these extremely complex subjects in a two hour period by touching on the very basics.  Here are some of the things I picked up during the presentation:
- Evapotranspiration - yes, that is a real word; it is the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and by transpiration from plants.
- The NOAA's Precipitation Frequency Data Server (PFDS) is used to gather information on rain events.
- GIS Contour Relief Maps are a common tool used for basin hydrology and watershed boundaries are often determined by reading maps based on the elevations and contour lines.
 - Runoff is what is calculated by engineers and reviewed by viewers for capacity of drainage systems. It is measured in Cubic Feet per Second (CFS).
Some of the factors taken into consideration when calculating drainage coefficient are; pipe smoothness, offset joints and sediment buildup. 
 - This is what the equation for calculating the drainage coefficient of a 336 acre watershed area with a 12" concrete tile at a 10% slope with a manning's coefficient of 0.013 for an outlet, and the capacity of the tile is 1.13 CFS:
1.13 cfs*12in/ft*24hrs/day*60min/hr*60sec/min divided by 336 acres*43560feet/acre = .08 in/day coefficient  - that's some serious math and science folks!
Here's a picture of Chuck Brandel explaining evapotranspiration:

At this week's Board of Commissioner's Meeting, the County Board set the crop damage payment schedule. The schedule is used to be fair and consistent to farmers throughout Blue Earth County for purposes of paying for crops damaged during a repair of a county drainage system.  The schedule is based on a combination of yield history for our area, current crop prices, crop future pricing and past experience with paying crop damages.

The 2016 Crop Damage Schedule was approved as follows:
Corn - 195/Yield per Acre    $3.55/Price per Bushel
Soybeans - 60/Yield per Acre    $9.50/Price per Bushel
Oats - 80/Yield per Acre    $3.00/Price per Bushel
Wheat - 60/Yield per Acre    $5.75/Price per Bushel
CRP acres --seedbed preparation, chemical and see--$225 per acre
*Rates are subject to change with Board approval.

Upcoming Drainage Events:

- Buffer Mapping Initiative Webinar; 1/20/16 9:30-10:30am
This live webinar is designed to begin an ongoing discussion of the DNR public waters and ditch systems buffer requirement mapping process, as well as, the chance to ask clarifying questions.
Interested officials and staff from counties, soil and water conservation districts, and watershed districts are encourages to participate. 
A recording of the webinar, as well as, the transcript and PowerPoint will be available on the DNR shortly after the live webinar airs.
This is the link to join the meeting as a guest: Join Skype Meeting

- 2016 Rinke Noonan Drainage & Wetland Conference; 2/11/16  
8:15am - 4:30pm

This year's conference focuses on the basics of drainage, unique processes that balance necessary drainage with ecological concern and innovative processes that allow for the most efficient and productive use of farmland.
Drainage authorities, agency personnel, zoning staff, landowners and city, township, county and watershed officials and staff are encouraged to attend.
CLick this link to see the full details and register information: Drainage and Wetland Conference

Casey Wytaske
Taxpayer Service Specialist - Drainage & Taxation