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Jan 27

Upcoming Drainage Conference and Meet the Drainage Team

Posted on January 27, 2017 at 4:39 PM by Michael Stalberger

Blogger’s Note:

Ryan Hiniker, Blue Earth County’s Drainage Specialist and the regular writer of DrainageBlog, is enjoying a well-deserved week off in a much warmer climate.


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

CD86 (Decoria and Beauford Twps.) This 4,000 acre watershed is a combination of open ditch and tile that discharges into the Cobb River. After televising the tile and inspecting the system and communicating with land owners, a repair was ordered. The bids for this project will be opened February 3 at 2:00pm at the Historic Courthouse.  


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 Courthouse 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.


Drainage and Wetland Conference:

Rinke Noonan Drainage Conference 2017Rinke Noonan, a law firm known for their work on drainage matters, is conducting their annual Drainage Conference Monday, February 13.  It is held in St. Cloud this year. This year’s conference focuses on the basics of drainage, unique processes that balance necessary drainage with ecological concern and innovative processes that allow for the most efficient and productive use of farmland.


The conference is designed so that attendees can gain knowledge on drainage and wetland issues against a backdrop of conservation and budget issues. This conference is designed for drainage authorities, agency personnel, zoning staff, landowners and city, township, county and watershed officials and staff.


Registration and more information is available on the law firm's website.


Learning about Blue Earth County’s Drainage Team:

In an earlier post, Ryan recapped 2016 in terms of drainage projects and the weather.  Let’s spend a little time learning about the folks in the Taxpayer Services Department working on drainage matters this past year and into the future.


Craig Austinson is the County’s Drainage Manager.  Craig started with the County in an Appraiser position, but he has been working in the drainage area for many years.  He came to the county with a background in banking.  Craig’s primary role is to coordinate public drainage, including managing projects and serving as a technical expert on drainage issues.

Craig Austinson and Ryan Hiniker
Craig Austinson and Ryan Hiniker

Ryan Hiniker is the County’s Drainage Specialist. Ryan is coming upon his one year anniversary with the County this Spring.  Prior to joining us, he worked in the agronomy and surveying fields. Ryan’s primary focus is on the county’s day-to-day drainage operations – including field inspections.


There is a lot of publication, notice, billing, and mailing requirements associated with public drainage.  The department’s taxation team helps with this work on a nearly daily basis.  Among the various people involved in drainage activities, the county has dedicated many resources to help the county’s land owners receive quality drainage service.


Blue Earth County Drainage Office, Historic Courthouse, MankatoPart of our attempt to provide the best service possible was a move of our drainage team to an office area on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse.  The drainage department, prior to this move, was located way up in the third floor attic space of the Courthouse and far removed from the public on the main floor.  This move provided much needed space for Craig and Ryan, but most importantly makes their offices more accessible to land owners and others with drainage questions.  They have a separate area to have small meetings and have room for files other drainage items.


By having a team of folks working on drainage, we are able to have questions answered as quickly as possible by a wider range of people.  We are also working hard to respond to the ever-increasing number of requests for repairs and improvements to the aging public drainage system.  The upcoming changes with the Buffer Law will bring about more change to the drainage world, too. 


Please stop by and visit our drainage team, and be sure to let any of us know if you have any questions.

We've made great strides from a one-person drainage shop to having multiple people either dedicated or involved in the County's drainage work.  However, if you ever have concerns or questions about our service, please contact me, Michael Stalberger.  As Director of the department, I look forward to hearing from you. 


Please call with issues you observe on our public drainage system, 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