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Feb 10

Run Away Runoff?

Posted on February 10, 2017 at 4:59 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 2/10/2017

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

Rinke – Noonan Drainage Seminar; Monday February 13 in St. Cloud

U of M Nitrogen Management Seminar; Thursday February 16 @ the Verizon Wireless Center starting at 8:30am. 

Project Updates:

cd28 2CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Geislinger and Sons was back on the work site this week.  They are preparing for when the ground thaws enough to start installing pipe again.  This week the crews were busy stockpiling rock, pipe and other miscellaneous items.  Spring construction season may come earlier than we are thinking, but that would be a good thing for this project to continue on to get done all the sooner.  Water levels have dropped dramatically on the open ditch.  There is no surface water left ponding anywhere.  There may be some ice sheets here and there, but no visible surface water.

Surface Runoff:

storm catch basinI recently read two completely separate articles about surface runoff and its causes and effects.  One article was from the Ag Water Exchange website.  They spoke about the contributing factors of surface runoff in their testing areas across multiple states.

In this article from Ag Water Exchange, they noticed that the biggest factors to surface runoff and nutrient movement was the 112 days of frozen soils in our areas.  There were definitely rain events in the thawed time of year that also contributed to the surface runoff issues, but that was only in situations of previously saturated soils.  Given the geography of where we live we can’t prevent this freeze and thaw cycle.  We can be better stewards of the land by timing our applications and applying nutrients differently.  Many of the applications made now are made because of feasibility or time / seasonal restrictions from Mother Nature.

I’m quite certain that just about anyone in the agricultural industry has been to a seminar or two about sediment and nutrient management.  I took a tour in California of ag production areas where these nutrient management policies seem to start and then filter out across the country, to the rest of us eventually.  Between matters in Iowa with their water quality issues and agriculture and seeing first hand restrictions in California, things are going to get more restrictive for Minnesota growers.  We are very fortunate to have some of the top people in the agronomy and soils fields to work with in Minnesota.

A second interesting article was one from BWSR’s website.  This article highlighted our neighbors in Le Sueur County.  This article spoke of the struggles of Lake Volney and their water quality issues.  For those that are unfamiliar with the Le Sueur County area, Lake Volney is one of their key lakes.  Lake Volney is a larger and deeper lake for their area, and a very much sought after real estate area.

In 2002 MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) put Lake Volney on the impaired list for aquatic recreation, citing excessive nutrient levels.  Multiple groups and organizations have been working hard to fix this water quality issue and pinpoint areas of major concern.  Le Sueur County, along with multiple other organizations, decided to do something about this in 2014.  The US EPA established a “Lake Volney Total Maximum Daily Load” for nutrients.  With a partnership in 2015 between Le Sueur County and their local SWCD, they were awarded a Clean Water Fund Grant.  This grant was to address eight specifically targeted areas surrounding the lake.

2016 was the year they finally got to make these dreams of restoration projects a reality.  Four of the eight targeted projects have been completed, thanks to the help of a team of engineers that helped this plan become a reality.

WASCOB’s  (Water and Sediment Control Basins) were one of the new best management practices to be installed along with new storm water catch basins and redesigning the outlet structure to the lake so that it also acted as a sediment catch.  With the new structures and future projects yet to be done, landowners have a renewed sense of hope.  Landowners have less concern about flooding and damages every time it rains.  They (landowners) were also very optimistic and hopeful that the water quality issues will once again improve.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of February 6 – February 10:

This past week I have been very busy with televising more tile systems.  We have many tile systems in the county that are very old and not in the best shape.  This week we did get systems JD17 (Garden City Twp.) and CD50 (Lincoln Twp.) televised.  I’m hoping to get CD63 (Decoria Twp.) done as of next Monday.  Televising has become a very key part of my inspection processes.  We’ve saved landowners thousands of dollars by televising and finding where and how much pipe is actually needed to be replaced before projects.  Going forward I see televising only growing and its use becoming all the more important.

Upcoming Drainage Inspections:

  • CD63 (Decoria Twp.)  We should finish televising this system next Monday 2/13/17.


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