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Apr 14

Clean Water Funds For Change

Posted on April 14, 2017 at 1:21 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 4/14/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


No upcoming drainage hearings or meetings


Project Updates:


·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Geislinger and Sons (contractor) have finished installing new pipe all the way from the open ditch outlet up to the right-of-way on Blue Earth County Road 30.  They will have to directionally bore a new pipe under CR 30.  Once this process is complete the pipe crews can start back up installing pipe farther to the east towards the other portion of open ditch just to the north of Blue Earth County Road 13.  The crews plan on having everything cleaned up and leveled, up to their end point on westerly side of CR 30. 

·         Road weight restrictions have come off today (Friday, April 14).  This means lots of contractors will be moving equipment to get projects going.  We in Blue Earth County Drainage have a very big year ahead of us and we have been waiting for this day to get our anxious crews out and working.

·         CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  This is located up by the new middle school in Mankato and the Blue Earth County Justice Center.  We have started this week with the repair project for this system.  The tree clearing crews started on Wednesday with clearing 16.5 feet from the top of ditch out, on the south side of the open ditch.  Some of the machines and tools they use to do this job are pretty amazing.  The open ditch cleaning and other repairs on this system will start sometime after the tree clearing has finished.


Drainage Minutes:


As part of my duties in the Drainage Office here at Blue Earth County, I am responsible for setting up a weed and brush spraying plan for our public drainage ditches.  This week I was out with our spraying contractor reviewing the eastern part of the county and all the open ditch systems in those easterly townships.  Hopefully in the next couple weeks, we will begin spraying for broadleaves and brush.

I covered a lot of ditches in the last few weeks and have noticed one thing in common, we have a major Giant Ragweed problem on our ditch banks.  The new Ragweed plants are already germinating in the areas that get warmer from the sun.  My plan is to do a two part application to the ditches that have very heavy issues with Giant Ragweed.  I have split the county into three zones, this means that the county will be on a three year rotation for spraying.

If there are areas that have sensitive crops or trees, we (contractor and myself) will work closely to make sure that the utmost caution is used when spraying around those sensitive areas.  Spraying is just another part of our maintenance obligation we have to maintain these public drainage systems.  If you have questions or concerns with this please contact me, Ryan Hiniker.


Clean Water Land and Legacy; Funding For Change:


There were two interesting articles I came across this week on the BWSR website (Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources).  The City of Forest Lake, Minnesota, was a recipient of a $382,000 Clean Water Fund Grant.  $95,000 in local matching funds was also added for their project.  Forest Lake was looking for alternative ways to clean up one of their local lakes, Clear Lake.  With the help of the Rice Creek Watershed District, the City of Forest Lake was able to install and implement many different BMP’s (Best Management Practices).  The two groups came up with a plan to use four different types of BMP’s, these include: Iron Enhanced Sand Filters, Tree trenches, Storm Water Ponds and Bioswales.  Below is an example of Iron Sand Filter.

iron sand filter 

These types of grants and funding are available to a multitude of organizations that are looking into doing clean water improvements.  There are many other BMP's that can be implemented to fit your project needs.  For more information on BMP’s and this clean water project in Forest Lake Minnesota, check out the BWSR website.


Another good example of Clean Water funding is from Cook County SWCD, who received $829,000 in Clean Water Fund Grants.  The main targeted area in concern is the Poplar River, which resides in the far reaches of Northeastern Minnesota.  This river is well known for its good fishing which includes many species of Trout and Salmon.  Landowners and concerned citizens are trying to fight the ongoing issues with erosion and sediment going in the river, which eventually ends up in Lake Superior.

Sediment is a huge concern not only for the landowners who keep losing land due to erosion, but also the MN DNR (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) whose concern is with the future of keeping this precious trout stream viable.  There aren’t many true designated trout streams in Minnesota, so all the more reason to take extra care of the few we have.   Between public and private funding support, they have been able to raise a substantial amount to fund multiple projects in this sensitive ecosystem area.

Some of their Clean Water projects include: streambank restoration, gully repairs including re-vegetation, and possible conveyances.  Conveyances is another way of saying shifting the path of the river to stay away from highly erodible areas.  This is another article that is available for further reading on BWSR website.poplar river



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of April 10 – April 14:


·         CD56 (Lincoln Twp.)  I inspected a large area with multiple sink holes along a stretch of county tile line.  Further televising is needed to determine what further action will be needed.

·         CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Project drop-in, check on progress and conditions.

·         CD05 (Danville Twp.)  Inspected a weir control structure that is in disrepair and also a major slough area.

·         CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  Tree clearing crews have been busy this week removing trees on the south side of the open ditch as part of a repair project for this system.  See picture below. cd12 tree clearing 2

·         CD01 (Medo Twp.)  Inspected newly installed field crossings.


Upcoming Drainage Inspections:


·         JD38 (Sterling Twp.)

·         CD56 (Garden City Twp.)

·         JD49 (Sterling Twp.)

·         CD78 (Vernon Center Twp.) partial

·         CD01 (McPherson Twp.)

·         CD83 (McPherson Twp.)

·         CD74 (Ceresco Twp.)




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.

Please remember: we require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.





Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist