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Dec 09

FEMA Comes to Town

Posted on December 9, 2016 at 4:41 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 12/9/2016


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

*Three meetings for board action on the same day, December 13, starting at 9:15 – 10:30. Click here for the board packet.

CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  Redetermination of Benefits public hearing and also Repair project public hearing.  Starting at 9:15 in Commissioner Board Room.

JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  Improvement Preliminary Engineers Report Public Hearing.  Meeting set to start at 10:10 in Commissioner Board Room.

CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Repair Project Public Hearing set to start at 10:30 in Commissioner Board Room.



Project updates:

·       JD17 (Garden City Twp.)  This system is located about one and a half miles northwest of Garden City.  The outlet of this system was in need of repair, along with a few smaller areas of pipe on the system itself.  We received some funding from SWCD to help pay for a large portion of this outlet rebuild project.  As of Tuesday this week the project was almost completed.  We are waiting for mother-nature to freeze up a bit more to haul heavy rock in to finish this project up.

·       CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Geislinger and Sons contracting has been working on this project for just under three weeks.  In that time there have been three separate crews working to install the one new 48 inch pipe.  The crews as of Tuesday this week made their connections to each other to form one full new pipe that stretches just over 4,400 feet in length from the open ditch running north.  As of yesterday, December 8, at around noon, the crews began the process of dewatering the surface water that is standing on large portions of this system.  The old concrete pipe and old metal pipe are both draining.  The old metal pipe is draining through our new pipe, and it will continue to drain for some time.  Within hours of opening up the old metal pipe water was falling rapidly in the ponded areas.

cd28 intake miller

This intake on the CD28 old metal pipe was full of water Thursday morning.  By 1:30pm Thursday afternoon, the water level in this intake dropped over 10 feet.

·       We have multiple other smaller projects still going on all across the county, but mother-nature went from to muddy and wet, to getting frozen tight in a very short time frame.  We will continue with projects as long as we can, until it’s just too frozen to effectively get work done.


FEMA in house:


Last week I spoke about the availability of individual assistance funding from FEMA.  This week FEMA has set up “shop” in the Historic Courthouse building.  They are here locally to provide assistance with the paperwork and to initiate the process of FEMA funding for those homeowners and individual property owners that were affected by the September 22nd storms in the area.

FEMA representatives are located on the third floor of the Historic Courthouse building, in the conference room.  There are many signs to direct those individuals that are coming in for individual assistance help.  I am informed that FEMA will be here for around a month.  Their hours of operation are a bit extended compared to the normal hours of the Court House.

Here is more information.

Again FEMA is here to help those individuals that are seeking assistance from FEMA funds for damage to homes and property from the September storms of this year. 


Clearwater County No-Till Success:

I read a very good article from Clearwater County in northern Minnesota.  Clearwater County is made up of many lakes, streams and bogs (wetland areas).  Their primary farming practices have been hay and pasture areas.  This area of the state isn’t great for rotation crops like we are used to down in southern Minnesota.  They do have some areas that you may find corn or beans in very small pockets.

The local Clearwater SWCD took the initiative back in 2015 to push for more no-till practices locally.  In a county with very erodible soils and lots of water, no-till seems like a sure win for these residents.  Clearwater SWCD started out with one primary piece of equipment: a smaller no-till seed drill. 

They had great success with their no-till test plot areas in the first year.  They spoke of the large crowds that would draw to their field days, where SWCD staff and growers spoke of their success or issues with making the switch to no-till. One of the added benefits besides cutting down on erosion and sediment travel issues is soil health benefits.  I have attended many of these no-till seminars, and with each one I go to, I seem to learn a few new things or ideas.

Clearwater County SWCD also added to its fleet of environmentally friendly farm implements. They now also have a larger aerator.  This is the same type of aerator you would use on your own lawn in the fall, just of a larger scale of course. Many of other counties in the state have equipment like this.  I do believe our Blue Earth County SWCD has a seed drill which they let people rent.  Contact the friendly staff of our local Blue Earth County SWCD to get more details on types of equipment they may have to use or programs.


Blue Earth County SWCD drill for rent.

No-till and cover crop ideas have been pushed pretty hard lately by local SWCD and NRCS groups.  Many growers have given no-till and cover crops a second look.  Not only because of the growing success that growers are having with it, but also because program funding for no-till and other cover crops has grown, and in some cases have no caps to their program funding.  Again check with your local SWCD experts to discuss these programs and others in detail to see how you can get started in getting paid to be a steward of the land.  Check out the BWSR site for more reading on this article and other really great articles, as well as updates to the new buffer initiative law.



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of December 5 – December 9:


·        No real ditch inspections this week, other than just dropping in on active project sites.  It was a very busy week again with landowner meetings and end of the year paperwork.  We still have lots of smaller projects to get done in the county, as far as drainage repairs.  We have 5 contractors working on 20 projects in the county at this time.  The list of projects is slowly going down, but usually we get one or two new ones added every week.


Upcoming Drainage Inspections:

*Our ATV is currently out of commission for repair, so inspections will be halted till it is back and working.  Field conditions are very muddy, a good freeze would help, not only for my inspections, but with all the contractors we have doing miscellaneous work all over the county.

·         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