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Jan 06

2016 Recap

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 2:42 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 1/6/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

*No upcoming meetings. 

Project updates:

  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Mother Nature is in charge at this point.  After making the necessary connections, water has been draining on its own for almost two weeks.  As of this week the water level has dropped over three feet in the areas of standing water.  Hopefully the weather stays favorable and the water just keeps dropping and draining these ponded areas.
  • Within the next few weeks we will start to bid out a few projects for the 2017 season.  Some of these will be large scale projects.


Red River flood diversion:
flood diversion authority
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources made its opposition known regarding the Red River flood diversion project.  MN DNR filed court documents seeking to join an ongoing lawsuit started in 2013 by other upstream opponents.

Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have planned on building a gated inlet structure.  This gated inlet structure is to help prevent future floods.  In very recent history, flooding has caused some very costly damage to the Fargo-Moorhead communities. Fargo actually had three straight years of high water flooding issues starting in 2009.  That first year the flooding destroyed more than 100 structures and monumental sandbagging efforts were needed to save the city all together.

Tom Landweher, Commissioner of MN DNR, says that they (DNR) have denied the permitting necessary for the project.  They want to look for alternative options before proceeding with the construction project. 

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney was hoping the two sides (DNR and Diversion Authority) could have open discussions on “alternative issues” instead of the DNR proceeding to court.  Mayor Mahoney stated that “millions have been spent” looking at other alternatives and that the current plan is the best fit.  Diversion supporters said the October decision by the DNR to deny permits should have no bearing on construction on the North Dakota side of the work.

The MN DNR agrees that there is great concern for these ongoing flooding areas and that sandbagging is not an acceptable solution.  Hopefully there can be an agreement reached by both sides before more major damage is done to the affected communities.

Blue Earth County 2016 Recap:

April 6th was the date that I started with the Blue Earth County Drainage Management team.  It was a “whirlwind” of a year since I started with large scale projects starting the end of April and first part of May. 

In May, our drainage team moved to our new and current location on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse.

June was our first round of major storms that brought substantial damage to our county.  The vast majority of damage from the June 14th storms was in the Butternut Valley, Cambria and Judson townships.  We had substantial drainage damage from that storm that dumped over 7” of rain in one day.
jd36 damage

September was the second round of major storms and flooding for our county.  The September 22nd storm affected our easterly side of the county, which included the community of St. Clair.  The rain totals from the St. Clair area may have not been as high as the June storms, but the almost constant rains all summer before the September storms had the ground already saturated and the creeks and rivers full.
Jtd 11 sep. damage

Projects and repairs went on late into the fall and still are going on this winter season.  A few projects and repairs had to be postponed until Spring 2017.  For the amount of repairs and projects we had going on all at one time, we made very good progress.  2016 was officially the wettest year on record and also one of the busiest in the drainage management department.  I hope 2017 goes much smoother and is considerably drier than 2016. 

We have a very busy improvement and project season coming up for 2017.  Our drainage manager, Craig Austinson, says 2017 will be the busiest season he has had in his 18 years at Blue Earth County. 

For myself, 2016 was a great year to jump into the business.  I learned a lot and met a lot of great people.  I look forward to continually learning and meeting new great people.  I’m very fortunate to be part of such a great team here at Blue Earth County.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of January 2 – January 6:

No inspections made this week.

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