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Nov 18

Drainage Updates

Posted on November 18, 2016 at 5:25 PM by Michael Stalberger

Drainage update 11/18/2016

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

At the November 22, 2016, Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners' meeting, there will be three drainage hearings.  All meetings are in the Blue Earth County Historic Courthouse. More information can be found here.

CD86 (Beauford Twp.) 
Setting the date for the public Repair Hearing for landowner requested repairs to the system in excess of $100,000.  

CD 56 (Lincoln and Garden City Twps.) Redetermination and Repair Hearing to review benefits determinations.

JD 17 (Garden City Twp.) Redetermination Hearing to review benefits determinations.

Additional Upcoming Meetings:
CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  A r
epair hearing for the system will be December 13th in the Historic Courthouse.

JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  A preliminary hearing for improvement of system will be December 13th in Historic Courthouse.



Project updates:

·        CD34 (Judson Twp.) Cooreman is putting finishing touches on to a few areas.  All major portions of pipe should be wrapped up and functioning properly. 

·        CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Geislinger and Sons started putting new pipe in the ground Monday, Nov. 14th and to date they have installed 896 feet.  They currently have two crews working on site, and they plan to have a third crew start soon to keep things moving along.  They have lots of large equipment and guys working on site.  They are confident that they will have standing water drained down before freeze up.  We are very impressed with the progress they have made in just one weeks’ time.

CD28 new pipe install project.

Drainage Minutes:

This is the busy time of the year trying to make sure all of the damages from the wettest season on record are getting fixed.  We currently have five different contractors doing work in different parts of the county.  Some are large scale projects and many are smaller ones. 

This will go down as one of our busiest years in the drainage department here at Blue Earth County.
  Inspections are still being done as long as the weather holds out.  I’m still always looking for more potential issues on our ditch and tile systems.  With that many contractors and projects going on, things are busy to say the least.

This was a very busy week with landowner meetings and meeting contractors.  The next coming weeks will bring more of the same with landowner meetings.  Looking into next year - including this winter - we are going to stay busy with many repairs and improvements on the horizon.  I fully anticipate that more repair and improvement projects will be coming in the next year.


We had FEMA meetings this week from the September 22nd storms that passed through our area.  It sounds like there will be some financial relief for repairs and damages associated with this storm.  We don’t know exactly how much money will be distributed yet, but we will do our best to make sure as much as possible can be claimed from what was damaged by the storms.


The CD86 (Beauford Twp.) landowner meeting this week went well and landowners decided a quicker repair was needed over doing an improvement.  The JD 17 (Garden City Twp.) landowner meeting was this week and further televising of the old main line is needed to assess how much it will cost to repair this old system.  The CD 56 (Lincoln and Garden City Twps.) landowner meeting on a repair project was held and it sounds like it is moving forward.  Hopefully will be able to start taking bids the end of December or first part of January.


If you know of issues in your area on one of our county systems, please let us know quickly.  There is a good chance that we have a crew working somewhere close by.  I am trying my best to get all of our repairs and projects done by year's end. 

Water Quality's 4R’s:

I came across an article about the 4R’s of fertilizer.  When I was involved with agriculture and agronomy work, we often spoke about this concept, and I learned of it a few years back.  It’s a simple idea, really, to managing and doing better with organic and inorganic sources of nutrients.  Nitrogen and phosphorus are the two nutrients that are most often spoken about with water quality issues or concerns.  Both nutrients are very key components to optimizing yield potentials in agriculture.  Nitrogen is a naturally occurring nutrient in the soil from soil organic matter.  Nitrogen is the number one most talked about “culprit” for clean water issues. 

So what are these 4R’s for cleaning up that nutrient issue?

Right Rate:  Using information from soil sampling and using yield goals and actual harvest history, to put together a plan to make sure the rate that is applied is enough, but not wasted.  Soil types and CEC holding capabilities play into this figuring.  Organic and inorganic forms of nitrogen need to be accounted for when making decisions for fertility recommendations.

Right Source:  In the state that we live in, we are very fortunate to have organic sources of nitrogen in the form of manure.  Whether it be poultry or hog manure, all organic sources have their pluses and sometimes minuses.  Sometimes organic sources aren’t always enough to keep up with production.  New seed hybrids are like a sports car, they are very technically-designed and can be “tweaked” for optimum performance.  Many growers will use a combination of the two forms of nutrients: organic and inorganic.  Sometimes this combination of the two programs is based on fertilizer prices, but mostly it is because growers can achieve season-long fertility programs. In some cases, depending on the weather and how much rain we receive, sometimes one organic nutrient sources may be adequate.

Right Place:  Not all nutrient sources can be broadcast and then incorporated into the soil.  Anhydrous Ammonia has to be injected into the soil where it attaches to a water molecule.  There has been a trend in some areas where growers are doing strip tilling.  When the grower is strip tilling, they are only affecting a small area of soil.  They are very site-specific about banding the fertilizer into a small strip area going across the entire field.  Technology has made it much easier and quicker to band the dry and liquid forms of fertilizers all at the same time in one application.  Strip tilling practices aren’t for everyone and are a bit more time consuming.  The growers that I knew that were doing strip tilling were seeing very good results from it by maximizing the amount, and placement, of their nutrients to keep them in the “root zone” for optimizing plant health.

Right Time:  Many factors can play into this one.  What are you applying?  What are the temps?  How wet are soils?  It makes sense to have the most nutrients available in the soil profile when the plants need it most.  The problem is the plant has different demands for different nutrients at all different growth stages.  Keeping all nutrients optimally there for the plant all season is tough.  Oftentimes organic forms of nutrients, like manure, have to be applied in a timely manner which usually isn’t during the plant's growing season.  Taking more soil and tissue samples will help to minimize nitrogen and phosphorus losses due to excessive over-application when the plant does not need it.

To summarize it all up, the technology has and is being used already to do more with using less.  The agriculture world is actually very good stewards of the land.  Many growers want the best for their farms and not to over use any forms of nutrients.  Many growers look at the legacy of what they're handing down to the next generation.  There are many parts to the “wheel of clean water”; it takes a combined effort from all, not just agriculture.

For more information:



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of November 14 – November 18:


·        JD15 (Lincoln Twp.)  A few areas of tile collapse were starting to form in multiple areas out across a field.

·        CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Monitoring water levels and general checking-in with progress of improvement project.

·       CD34 (Judson Twp.)  General stops to check on progress of improvement project.  We're making sure we don’t have any issues with the new pipe at inspection points.

IMG_0119JD15 multiple tile collapses


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