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Jul 29

103E and 103F Drainage Laws...

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 3:56 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 7/29/2016

Project updates:

  • CD34 (Judson Twp.) Crews are back at it, laying tile wherever it’s not too wet.  There’s still quite a bit of area that is wet, and still a lot of tile yet to lay this year.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.) The de-watering process is still going on.  Crews have created a temporary trench to drain and pump water from areas where the intakes are not working, to an area where the intake is still working on the old system.

CD28 temporary channel
CD28 temporary channel to de-water area.

103E Buffer Law VS 103F Buffer Law:

Buffer laws old and new, what is the real difference between the two.  This can get to be a confusing and sometimes muddy subject.  Under 103E Buffer strips are portions of land 16.5’ wide that are usually established after a Redetermination of Benefits is done, but not always.  The 16.5’ buffer strip can also be purchased as an easement if the Drainage Authority sees fit.   
The 103F buffer law is similar in nature with a few modifications.  103F is the state's new riparian vegetative buffer strip initiative.  There are a few differences with this law compared to the 103E law.  103F and 103E are both measured starting at the top of the existing ditch bank.  

The major difference is under 103F the landowners will not be reimbursed for the buffer strips.  A Drainage Authority may later purchase the 16.5' buffer strip easement, even after 103F's November 1, 2018 establishment deadline.  This process is similar to what I described earlier.  This purchase of easement can be done through the Redetermination of Benefits proceedings.  BWSR is telling Drainage Authorities that there is no statute of limitations on a time line for how long after the new law is enacted that this process has to be done by.  

In both cases there is a penalty for not having the buffer strip in place if it is legally supposed to be in place.  103E buffer violations are handled by sending the landowner notice of the violation and giving a timeline to bring the buffer area back into compliance.  If this is not done in the timeline outlined in the written notice, then the Drainage Authority has the right to step in and bring the buffer strip back into compliance by seeding and grading the area.  Costs that are incurred for the Drainage Authority to bring the area back to compliance are then charged to the landowner. 

103F handles the buffer violation a little differently: through an Administrative Penalty Order.   "What’s this?" you say.  This is a fancy term given to the penalty associated with the new buffer laws that are coming soon.  This order is not totally finalized yet, but there has been discussion of a $500 fine.  We are not informed yet as to if this is per day, per acre or per week.  Those details and many others are still yet to be worked out.  The best source of finding this information is always from the BWSR website. 

The attached diagram illustrates the measuring for the 103E buffer.  The 103F buffer is very similarly measured as the diagram on the right.  The 103F definition states that on public drainage (county drainage ditches) the measurement is taken from the top of bank or crown of bank, measured 16.5’.   Refer to the DNR buffers map to make sure you’re using the correct buffer width for what your ditch is classified as.103E ditch profile
103E ditch profile and measuring diagram.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of July 25– July 29: 

  • CD36 (Butternut Valley Twp.) This is a relatively new ditch compared to the age of most of the other open ditch systems in the county.  Over all condition of the ditch was in good shape.  There were a few issues of minor sloughs, but mostly weed control was the biggest issue on this system that needed to be addressed.
  • CD50 (Lincoln Twp.) This system of open ditch has a nice buffer strip along it.  The noxious weeds are a concern of mine that needs attention.  The giant ragweed, wild parsnip and trees are my biggest concerns on this ditch.  I will be making arrangements for the tree removal and weed spraying to try to get a handle on this situation.  There were a few areas of collapsed tile and gully washed areas.  Minor sloughing in only a very few spots. 

Upcoming Drainage Inspections:

  • CD27 (Butternut Valley Twp.)
  • JD38 (Sterling Twp.)
  • JD49 (Sterling Twp.)
  • CD78 (Vernon Center Twp.)
  • CD01 (McPherson Twp.)



Ryan Hiniker
Drainage Management Specialist