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Jun 22

Ditch Happenings June 15th - 19th

Posted on June 22, 2015 at 8:08 AM by Acacia Wytaske

I thought it might be interesting to talk a little bit about Ditch Viewing this week.  Many ditch systems are at a point (some built over 100 years ago) where they are in need of repair or improvement due to failure of the system or land changes. A redetermination of benefits, done by ditch viewing, is ordered by the drainage authority when the original benefits do not reflect reasonable present day land values, which, as you can guess, would be most of them. This is causing a huge demand for ditch viewers and there is a shortage of qualified viewers in MN.

What is it?  Ditch Viewing is the process of assigning benefits and damages of a drainage project. The viewing process helps determine if a drainage project is financially feasible and provides a formula for distributing construction costs, as well as, future maintenance costs of a drainage project.

When is it done? There are 11 types of projects that require viewing;
New Systems, Improvements, Improvement of Outlets, Laterals, Redetermination of Benefits, Outlet Fees for Municipalities, Resloping/Leveling/Erosion Control, Violation of Grass Strip Provision, Inclusion of Additional Land, Removal of Property and Appointment of Liens.
The most commonly done projects requiring viewers in Blue Earth County are Redetermination of Benefits and Improvements.

Who are the viewers? State statute states,  "the drainage authority shall, by order, appoint viewers consisting of three disinterested residents of the state qualified to assess benefits and damages."  The statute does not state what the qualifications are for viewers but, in general, a viewer must have knowledge on agriculture, topography, residential developments, soil types and appraisals in the area. They must also be able to read maps, aerial photos, engineering and survey data. Training and certification is available through the Minnesota Viewers Association.

The points above are very general. If you would like to learn more about ditch viewing, view the "Ditch Viewing" document in DrainageDB under "Misc. drainage" all the way at the bottom of the page. Skip ahead to page 33 for a pretty fascinating history of ditch viewing started in 1858!

Weekly Tidbits:

-  We just confirmed with Ron Ringquist, our lead ditch viewer, that his team is wrapping up the reports for CD28 (Lincoln Township) and we should see those in the next couple weeks. They've also started viewing CD78 (Vernon Center Township).

- Bid advertisement was published for CD34 (Judson Township) on Monday, June 15th, in the Free Press and is available to bid online at the I & S Group website until bid opening at 2:00pm on July 7th.

- The County Commissioner's Board meeting on June 23rd will include the CD96 (Mapleton/Danville Townships) Vashro Petition Hearing, the CD12 (Mankato Township) Phase 1 Bid Award and an inspection report on JD36 (Butternut Valley Township). I'll have a summary of the meeting for you next week. If you'd like to view the board meeting packet information, it is available on the Board Meeting Information page of the Blue Earth County website; just click on the "Current Board Meeting Packet" link.

This week has been a great week for biking! Did you know you'll have first class parking if you ride your bike to the historic courthouse? I know all about it! :)

Here's a picture from earlier this year:bike.jpg