Monthly Archives: March 2015

BRRWD Approves F-M Diversion EIS Funding

 

 

March 23, 2015

At their meeting held on Monday, March 23, 2015, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed revisions of the Fiscal Year 2015 Fargo-Moorhead (F-M) Diversion Authority (DA) Budget.  Because of statements from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the BRRWD is concerned about the legality of their approval of the 2015 budget that includes expenditures for certain project features.  After an extended discussion, including testimony from audience members and comments from the BRRWD’s Attorney, Tami Norgard, Vogel Law Firm, the Board unanimously approved a motion for $1.5 million in the DA’s budget that is earmarked for funding the DNR’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the F-M Diversion project, which is expected to be available as a “draft” by September 2015.  The Board would like to review the EIS before making any more decisions regarding funding for the 2015 DA Budget.  The Managers did indicate that they might be able to approve funding for some in-town flood mitigation efforts within the City of Fargo, as this work is not part of the DA project. 

The Board also discussed a request by Gerald Zimmerman to continue using temporary impoundments on Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 39 for sub-irrigation. This project began in 2012 as part of a three-year experimental project with North Dakota State University and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The project examined the effects of tile drainage and sub-irrigation on water quality, erosion control, and crop production. In 2012, the Board allowed Zimmerman to temporarily impound water in the ditch for three years.  During that time frame, no problems were noted.  Zimmerman requested authorization to continue the impoundments again this year. After some discussion, the Board approved his request. 

Other business included: 

  • For the second time, approved the Preliminary Findings and Order for Project No. 77, Clay C.D. No. 51-Lateral. The next steps will be preparation of the Detailed Survey Report and Appointment of Viewers to determine benefits for the project. The BRRWD initially made the order on 02/09/15, but the written findings were not available. 

  • Reviewed bids received for seeding of approximately 70 acres of native grasses on Project No. 56, Manston Slough Restoration. The low bid of $45,027.30 from B & J Landscaping, Elbow Lake, MN, was accepted. 

  • Approved, subject to approval from Wilkin County Highway Department and a downstream landowner, a permit for Kurt Krueger to clean and grade the road ditch and lower an existing approach culvert along the south side of County Road No. 182 for approximately 3/4 mile in the N1/2, Section 7, Manston Township, outletting directly into Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Lateral. 

  • Approved, pending notification of downstream landowners, a permit for Bruce Yaggie to pattern tile the E1/2, Section 12, Meadows Township, outletting via a pump into an existing waterway that drains into Wilkin C.D. 6A, for which the property is assessed. 

  • Approved a permit to Cromwell Township to replace an existing culvert through 220th ST N, located in the NE1/4, Section 15 and the NW1/4, Section 14, Cromwell Township, Clay County. The Township has already received a permit from the DNR. 

  • Reviewed the status of Project No. 39, Georgetown Levees, and after some discussion including information from the BRRWD’s Attorney, the Board approved going forward with a condemnation process on the Greywind property and hiring an appraisal of the property. After much effort, the BRRWD has been unable to resolve issues with a mortgage holder on the property. 

  • Noting that the next Mediation Project Team meeting will be held on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville Watershed Office. Active projects include the South Branch of the Buffalo River, Barnesville Township Area Drainage Study, Wolverton Creek/Comstock Coulee restoration, and a comprehensive project for Stony Creek. 

  • Discussed a landowner’s claim for crop damage caused by the contractor blocking drainage on the Elkton Township Wetland Restoration Project. The claim will be forwarded to the contractor and his insurance company. 

  • Noting that the hearing for the Redetermination of Benefits on Clay C.D. Nos. 9, 32, and 33 will be held on April 9, 2015, at 7:30 PM in the First Floor Councils Chambers, Moorhead City Hall. The Viewers will also be available to meet with landowners on Tuesday, April 7, between the hours of 1:00-4:00 PM at the Clay County Courthouse. 

  • Noting that a meeting with the Advisory Committee has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, 2015, at 2:00 PM, Galaxie Supper Club, Barnesville, MN. 

  • Approved the payment of bills, totaling $34,569.25. 

The next meeting of the Board of Managers, BRRWD, is scheduled for Monday, April 13, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  All meetings are open to the public.  For more information, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD Discusses Proposed Kragnes Project

 

March 9, 2015

At their meeting held on Monday, March 9, 2015, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), heard opposing views from two attorneys regarding a potential drainage project near the City of Kragnes, Clay County. The petitioner is asking for drainage in Section 28, Kragnes Township. The process is following Minnesota Drainage Law. The preliminary hearing was held on January 5, 2015, in Moorhead. On February 9, 2015, the Board of Managers, BRRWD, made an order to continue the project development. Next steps include preparation of the detailed survey report, which will be done by Erik S. Jones, Engineer, Houston Engineering, Inc. After Mr. Jones files his report, Viewers will be appointed to determine the projects benefits and damages. Following completion of the Viewers’ report, the next step will be to schedule the final hearing. Any decision made by the BRRWD at that point could be appealable to district court.

Attorney Roger Minch, who represents the petitioners, talked about the history of the area and a number of illegal activities that have occurred since the 1990s which have installed a number of dikes that prohibits water from the S1/2 of Section 28 from flowing north in a natural waterway. Other options for drainage, such as taking the water through the railroad tracks and along Trunk Highway No. 75, in his opinion, do not work.

Attorney Zenas Baer, who represents the downstream landowner, claimed that the existing drainage system could work if the ditches were properly maintained. He questioned why the BRRWD was looking at a $150,000 project when some limited cleanout work could solve the problems. The BRRWD has a long history regarding drainage issues in and around Kragnes. The Board is intent on letting the process play out in accordance with Minnesota Drainage Law.

Other business included:

• Reviewed the BRRWD financial status. Current cash on hand is $1,224,076.64. Account receivables for 2015 total $3,636,280.

• Approval of permits to: Jeff Halvorson for pattern tiling in the SE1/4, Section 18, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County, outletting directly into a lateral of Wilkin-Otter Tail Judicial Ditch No. 2, for which it is assessed; the City of Moorhead for the development of the Prairie Meadows 5th Addition Residential Subdivision, located in the NW1/4, Section 28, Moorhead Township, Clay County; Kevin Hanson for random tiling in the E1/2, Section 27, Hamden Township, Becker County, outletting into the Becker County Ditch (C.D.) No. 15, to which it is assessed; Clay County Highway Department for the reconstruction of approximately 3 miles of County State Aid Highway No. 52, in Barnesville Township; and Dale Binde for 70 acres of pattern tiling in Section 33, Lake Park Township, Becker County.

• Noting that a Conditional Use Permit hearing was held by the Wilkin County Environmental Office on March 4, 2015, regarding the proposed restoration of Whiskey Creek in Section 14, Connelly Township. The office has mailed easement agreements to the four affected landowners. Intentions are that the work would be completed in 2015.

• Noting that bids will be opened at the March 23rd BRRWD meeting for approximately 70 acres of native grass seeding associated with the Manston Slough Restoration Project. The office has submitted the natural resources award application to the Minnesota Environmental Initiative.

• Noting that Bruce Albright, Administrator, BRRWD, testified at a House Subcommittee hearing regarding funding needed to complete the Oakport Flood Mitigation Project. Estimates are that the BRRWD will need approximately $5.66 million to finish Phase 4. The Board talked about 2015 hunting on BRRWD properties associated with the Oakport Project. The permission form will be slightly modified to include a statement that hunters need to carry the signed permission form with them when in the field and they must comply with the City of Moorhead’s hunting regulations.

• Noting that the next Mediation Project Team meeting will be held on Thursday, March 19, 2015, at 1:30 PM in the Barnesville Watershed Office. Active projects include the South Branch of the Buffalo River, Barnesville Township Area Drainage Study, Wolverton Creek/Comstock Coulee restoration, and a comprehensive project for Stony Creek. The Watershed was the recipient of a $12,598.87 acceleration grant from the Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group for the Stony Creek Project. A proposal from Terracon Consultants, Inc., to do preliminary soil investigations at the proposed Stony Creek Detention Area was reviewed and accepted. The estimated cost of the work is between $17,500 and $19,500. The investigation is expected to begin later this month.

• Noting that representatives from the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority plan to attend the March 23, 2015, BRRWD meeting to continue discussions regarding the Fiscal Year 15 budget. They are currently looking at a revised budget that could be submitted to the BRRWD for approval, which would take out some of the work items that have been questioned by the State of Minnesota while the environmental process is ongoing.

• Received the Viewers’ Reports for the Redetermination of Benefits on Clay C.D. Nos. 9, 32, and 33. The hearing will be held on April 9, 2015, at 7:30 PM in the First Floor Councils Chambers, Moorhead City Hall. The Viewers will be available to meet with landowners on Tuesday, April 7, between the hours of 1:00-4:00 PM at the Clay County Courthouse.

• Noting that Albright and BRRWD Managers John E. Hanson and Peter V. Fjestad plan to attend the upcoming Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Legislative Reception and Day at the Capitol on March 11-12, 2015.

• Scheduled a meeting with the Advisory Committee for Tuesday, March 1, 2015, at 2:00 PM, Galaxie Supper Club, Barnesville, MN.

• Approved the payment of bills, totaling $105,276.63.

The next meeting of the Board of Managers, BRRWD, is scheduled for Monday, March 23, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. All meetings are open to the public. For more information, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.