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Aug 12

Water Quality Workshops

Posted on August 12, 2016 at 3:40 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 8/12/2016

Project updates:

  • CD34 (Judson Twp.) Crews are still working in areas that are dry.  They were back on the east side of CNTY RD. 112, putting in additional smaller branches.  Things are pretty much buttoned up on the west side of CNTY RD. 112 going north, northwest.  As long as Mother Nature cooperates crews should keep making good progress.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.) The open ditch has continued to drop very slowly, but it is going down.  Crews have been measuring and monitoring the elevation of the water in the open ditch.  New construction part of this system is still scheduled to continue.

BWSR logo


Some very good discussions came from the local BWSR workshop meeting on Monday 8/8/2016, which was held at our local South Central College. There were eight of these meetings planned for various stops across Minnesota.  BWSR and DNR employees both spoke about their contributions to the new buffer initiative.

Jeff Gleeson from MN DNR spoke about the buffers map that was put out to the public officially here in July.  Jeff spoke about how they came about drawing the Public Waters  areas and the 50ft buffer associated with them.  Jeff received a lot of good questions and feedback about why some ditches are drawn where they are, Jeff also expressed that they know that the maps will still need further tweaking going forward.

Tom Gile from BWSR spoke about not only the new Buffer law, but also the changes to some of the statutes since 2015.  Tom spoke quite a bit about the need for additional input on some the implementation ideas for buffers.  Things are still being discussed on penalties and what other alternative practices are available.  It feels like there’s a lot to get ironed out in such a short amount of time. That’s why these types of meetings are being held: to get different ideas and viewpoints from the different SWCD areas and different area County drainage authorities pooled together.  

Multipurpose Drainage & Soil Health:
multi-purpose drainage mtg. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Multi-Purpose Drainage and  Soil Health meeting in Blue Earth 8/10/2016.  The meeting was very informational and covered a large spectrum of things centered on water quality and best management practices.  Being as the meeting was sponsored by Faribault County and held in Faribault County, their new woodchip bioreactor was one of the highlights of discussion.  A large portion of the remainder of the meeting was about BMP’s (best management practices) in the agricultural world.  Some of the BMP’s discussed were: WASCOB, alternative intakes, grass waterways and cover crops.  

There was a lot of discussion about cover crops and testimonials from individuals who are using cover crops for soil and nutrient control on their farms.  Between the benefits of erosion control and nutrient retention, I think the cover crop presentation was welcomed among most of the growers in the room.  Some of the other organizations spoke on funding and support for doing some of these alternative practices.  The USDA spoke very specifically on how growers could receive financial assistance when choosing to use some of these new BMPs through an AgBMP Loan Program.

It’s good to see that all of the state and local watershed organizations are coming together to shed light on some of these practices of the future.  As some of the rules of agriculture keep changing, it’s good to know that growers can rely on their local drainage professionals to keep them informed of their options and obligations.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of August 1 - 5:

*Not too many inspections this week. Between meetings and putting together plans with contractors to get some of the work from the previous month's inspections started and going.  Inspections will be intermittent, but will more than likely be more concentrated around after harvest season time.

  • CD83 (McPherson Twp.) inspected an area of ponding water around an old section of shallow concrete county tile.  Further inspection and exploratory digging will be needed to determine scope of problem.
  • JD33 (McPherson Twp.) multiple areas of tile blowout that need repair.


Upcoming Drainage Inspections:

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