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Nov 11

Hot Off the Press...Get it While it's Hot.

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 3:19 PM by Michael Stalberger

Drainage update 11/11/2016

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:
*Same as last week, just leaving them posted. The current board packet can be found here (for more information about the first two meetings)
  • JD17 (Garden City Twp.) Redetermination of Benefits findings.  10:15 am in Board of Commissioners' Room of Historic Blue Earth County Courthouse, November 22, 2016.


  • CD56 (Garden City Twp.) Redetermination of Benefits findings and repair report.  10:45 a.m. in Board of Commissioners' Room of Historic Blue Earth County Courthouse, November 22, 2016.


  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.) Repair project landowner meeting at the St. Clair Fire Hall, 2:30 p.m. November 16, 2016.

Project updates:
  • CD34 (Judson Twp.) Pipe installation is down to the last few hundred feet here and there, to clean up around previous wet areas.  Cooreman has done a great job of pushing through a very difficult year and less than pleasant working conditions on a rather large tile project.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Our proposed new contractor, Geislinger and Sons, has started to move equipment into the job site area on CD28 in preparation of the County Drainage Authority's approval of them working on this project.  Geislinger is expecting supplies to arrive yet this week and possibly start first thing next week.  There is a plan to run two crews and multiple large track hoes to try to get pipe in the ground and drain some standing water down.

Fall Manure and Nitrogen:

Notice the increase of manure smell lately, even in town? Well it’s that time of year again, or is it?  After one of the most challenging years on record for agriculture, growers and retailers are getting out and applying fertilizer and nitrogen.  It’s hard to pass up this beautiful window of weather we’ve been having, but what are those soil temps at?  Are they 50 degrees or less?

Soil temps that exceed 50 degrees and especially warm, wet soils can very quickly convert that nitrogen to nitrate, almost twice as fast as 50 degrees or less soils.  Once this conversion from nitrogen to nitrate happens, that nitrate moves very freely through the soil with the water molecules.  What this means is we could be setting ourselves up for additional nitrogen fertilizer losses.

Manure application is a chore that needs to get done no matter what mother nature throws our way.  An extremely wet summer and fall have pushed the urgency to get out there and get this manure spread.  The unseasonably warm weather lately has a lot of growers putting manure out now. It’s hard to sit back and do nothing after waiting all year for it to stop pouring rain.

Here’s something to think about.  How much nitrogen or nutrients are we giving up by going out a little to early when soils aren’t fit?  Soils are extremely wet, and most are still at saturated stage.  Look at these figures…if you applied 2,700 gallons/acre of liquid manure you would be adding about 0.10” precept to an already wet soil profile.  How about it we do 20,000 gallons/acre, that would be like adding 0.75” of precept to the soil.  Many people are looking into cover crops to help hold more nitrogen and nutrients in their soils.  This would be beneficial for those looking to get out there earlier to get that fertilizing done for the year.

MPDM (Minnesota Public Drainage Manual):

new public drainage manual

Minnesota Public Drainage Manuel is hot off the press.  Ok not literally - because it isn’t a book at all.  The new manual lives on the BWSR website.  This new manual is in a web-based WIKI-style format.  This makes it very easy to read, search, or consult on the go.

The original drainage manual was published in 1991, and has not been updated since its origination.  There have been many changes to governing statues, judicial rulings, and in technology.

This project to update the drainage manual started back in 2014 by BWSR initiating the update process.  There was a very diverse group of people in many different lines of work that collaborated to make this new manual a great tool.

The new on-line manual is quick and easy to navigate to the section you need, depending on what your question or concern is.  BMP (Best Management Practices) is a chapter that was added that didn't exist in the original.  BMP's are part of our new technology’s tool box that we in the drainage industry utilize almost all the time.  The incorporation of today’s new tools and yesterday’s statues and structure seems to be a good blend for a recipe to a good manual.

The best thing of all is, that the manual and its WIKI format is supposed to be very mobile device friendly.  I have not tried this out personally, as of yet.  I have played around in the manual a little bit and have enjoyed its easy reading and searching abilities.  Next time you have a drainage question, jump on the BWSR website and check out the new manual for yourself.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of November 7 – November 11:
  • JD36 (Butternut Twp.)  Repairs from the June storms have started.  Crews are moving right along fixing tile issues and open ditch sloughing.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Walked site with additional engineering staff and took a general inventory of what is happing out on this project.
  • CD50 (Butternut Valley Twp.) Annual inspection found a few minor issues, otherwise in good condition.
  • CD57 (Beauford Twp.)  A large 52” concrete collapsed tile is making a major sink hole out in a grower's field.  Started televising to check condition of pipe to see if it’s feasible to replace.
cd57 sink hole
        This hole is over 12' deep and 12' across, not a little one.
  • CD43 (Mankato Twp.)  Additional issues of ponding water.  This old system is well overdue to get an improvement done.  Issues on this system will keep happening despite minor fixes here and there.

Lots of landowners are calling in about sink holes this year.  Lots of our old tiles are concrete.  Those concrete sections move and shift over the years.  The tremendous amount of rain we’ve had this year is pushing those concrete tiles to their breaking point, and the water pushes out between the joints and causes a sink hole area.  Please let our drainage office know of these issues.

Upcoming Drainage Inspections:

  • CD56 (Garden City Twp. & Lincoln Twp.)
  • JD38 (Sterling Twp.)
  • JD49 (Sterling Twp.)
  • CD78 (Vernon Center Twp.)
  • CD01 (McPherson Twp.)
  • CD93 (Decoria Twp.)

Please call with issues you observe, as there is a lot of open ditch and tile in our county and only two of us in the drainage department.  We will do our absolute best to service your issues and concerns as we receive them.





Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist