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Jan 20

Possible Legislative Changes and CAP

Posted on January 20, 2017 at 12:18 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 1/20/2017

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings

MN DOT Hwy 22 right of way plat and ditch alterations will be discussed at the next board meeting held on January 24th.  The board meeting is on the second floor of the Historic Court House building, start time is 9:15.

CD98 (Mankato Twp.) This is a county ditch system south of Mankato off of Monks Ave.  We will be having a landowner meeting on February 7.  The meeting will be held in the third floor conference room of the Historic Court House from 2-4pm.  Those landowners that will be affected will receive notice in the mail.  This will be an open discussion on repairs needed to the system.

Project updates:

  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  The water is still draining and we have seen significant reductions in the areas of ponding water and the open ditch.  The water has dropped over 4 feet since we opened things up to drain.

Potential New State Drainage Law Changes:

Politics seems to be a very popular topic in the last few months.  Why should the politics of drainage law be any different?  There are a couple potential bills at the Capitol that may concern the way drainage law works currently.

  1. Repair reports and repair petitions: This proposal states they shall be granted for repair if the drainage authority agrees it is for the betterment of the entire system, or there is 26% or better signatures from the landowners in the system.  The significant change is that a Redetermination of Benefits (ROB) would not have to be ordered, but instead that the county assessor could determine the benefit amounts based off of current land values.  This could have its pluses and minuses, but needs further reworking from the way it is worded now.
  2. Surface and subsurface drainage of agricultural land: This bill is asking basically for a whole new set of guidelines before any tile or drainage projects could begin.  It would be left up to the local government agency to make sure these new guidelines are obeyed. The guidelines could include; wetland replacement plan, no-loss determination (crop damage or property damage), an adequate outlet size, and flowage easement.  There are multiple potential issues with this potential bill from a drainage authority perspective.

There are many more steps before these proposals may even be considered to be passed and become new laws.  It’s a good reminder to try to keep up to date on topics and issues that affect drainage at the Minnesota Legislature.  Blue Earth County continues to follow proposed legislation that impacts our public drainage systems.


CAP stands for County Ambassador Program.  Blue Earth County offers this program once a year to a certain number of employees through an application process.  I was very fortunate to be one of the few that got chosen for the 2017 class.

January 18 was the first session of seven.  We meet once a month at different Blue Earth County buildings to go through and see how other departments within the county operate.  The first session was at the library.  This was a very interesting session with Bob Meyer, County Administrator, covering aspects of his job and budget items.  Tim Hayes, the library director, gave a very informative speech.  I learned a lot about the library and how they are changing with the times and technology.  The library now can send books right to your house.  This is becoming increasingly more popular especially with the rural communities.  You can now go online and have the books shipped to you and you just ship them back when done.

The third and final speaker of the day was Jessica Potter.  Jessica is the Blue Earth County Historical Society Executive Director.  It was very interesting to listen to her talk about all the thousands of artifacts and photos they keep and sometimes display.  She also gave a very good history of Minnesota and more specifically, how Blue Earth County got started and grew over the years.

I look forward to the other six sessions.  I’m excited to learn and meet all the new people and new departments.  Our next meeting location is the new Justice Center, which is on top of the hill by the MNDOT building.  I’m sure I will have plenty of new exciting things to share after that CAP session as well.


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of January 9 – January 13:

CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  Monday we finished televising the rest of the pipe on this system.  We are doing this in preparation of starting a major repair to a tile portion of this system.

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