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Posted on March 24, 2017 at 4:00 PM by Ryan Hiniker
Drainage update 3/24/2017
Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:
As I have stated before, 2017 may go down as the busiest year in the drainage office's history. We will have multiple large scale projects going on throughout the year into late fall and early winter. Some of these projects can range from a few weeks to a few months or more.
At Blue Earth County Drainage, we are working closely with engineers to always make our projects more and more clean-water friendly. The guidelines set forth from outside government agencies are also getting more restrictive for clean water standards and storm water standards. The photo below illustrates one of our project plans proposing using BMP's (Best Management Practices).
We at Blue Earth County Drainage are always trying to implement BMP’s into all of our projects that involve engineering. The large scale of upcoming projects also comes with them a larger number of BMP’s being implementing in these plans. Not all of these BMP’s are the same and some can get costly in a hurry. I have recently put together a sitdown meeting with our local SWCD (Soil and Water Conservation District) and engineering firm to discuss possible government assistance for funding these BMP’s that we will be using in upcoming projects this year.
We have a good working relationship with our local SWCD, which makes these planning and brainstorming sessions easier. BWSR (Board of Soil and Water Resources) has passed down some extra funding available this year for just these types of projects that benefit clean water quality practices. In just a couple projects we have going this year the additional funding can reduce overall project cost by almost $100,000. That number may not seem like a huge price reduction, but every little bit helps.
Conservation Tillage, Timing and Commitment:
I read a very interesting article that I found on the Ag Water Exchange website. This article was originally posted from the UW Extension office. The article focused on a farm in Wisconsin, actually two different sites on the same farm. The study consisted of seven years’ worth of replicated data. The advantage of having two sites on the same farm is they both receive the same weather events, making the data all the more equal. Both sites were managed slightly differently. One site was more agricultural and the other more woods and grasses.
Some interesting things came out of this seven year study. The group used a multitude of BMP’s in both sites to make the study as fair and evenly controlled as possible. BMP’s included dams (grade stabilization structures), grass waterways, no-till planting methods and cover crops in between growing seasons of corn. Very interesting in how the two sites compare with soil and nutrient losses. This was in fact the major reason for the study. The study hopes to shed light on different farming practices to reduce our impact on water quality.
One thing I took from the study was: both sites acted very similar in their soil and nutrient losses during frozen months. The months that researchers saw spikes in sediment and nutrient increases, in the more agricultural zone, were May and June (the wetter months).
The farmer that ran the land paid very close attention to weather patterns and other environmental conditions before making his manure or fertilizer applications. This was also noticed in the study because no spikes were recorded other than two days out of over 2,000 days of recording data.
This is a very good article I encourage people to check out. It gives a very different perspective to what simple changes can be made to current farming practices to reduce our footprint in water quality. I also like that it shows that farmers are and have been doing due diligence to help water quality. Click link to read article in full.
Recent Drainage Inspections – week of March 20 – March 24:
Upcoming Drainage Inspections:
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.
Drainage Management Specialist