Monthly Archives: March 2017

BRRWD Has Performance Review

At their meeting held in Barnesville on March 27, 2017, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), received a report from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) regarding the BRRWD’s Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP) Level II review. Dale Krystosek, BWSR, presented their findings, and noted that the BRRWD scored high ratings on all the standards. Of the 13 Level I basic standard practices BWSR requires for Watershed District operations, the BRRWD scored 13 out of 13, and of the 15 high performance standards (Level II), the BRRWD scored 12 out of 15. BWSR noted only one Action Item that the BRRWD will need to address, which was to complete our amended Revised Watershed Management Plan (RWMP) to incorporate the 2012 district area expansion. Krystosek noted that the Order also included the addition of two new Managers from Otter Tail and Wilkin Counties, which the BRRWD has done. Compliance can be accomplished by either completing the RWMP or initiating a One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) for the entire BRRWD, including the new area. The BRRWD is currently working on a 1W1P with our partner local government units (LGUs) and held a meeting on 04/04/17 to discuss the process. BRRWD Engineer Erik Jones, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) is working with the BRRWD staff on a 1W1P application for funding from BWSR, which is due by 04/19/17. If for some reason we don’t secure the 1W1P funding needed from BWSR this year, the Board plans to move forward with updating our existing RWMP by November 2018 to include the expanded areas. The BRRWD’s Level II Report will be presented to the BWSR North Region Committee on April 12, 2017, in Detroit Lakes.

The Board heard downstream landowner concerns about a tiling project in Section 28, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County. They discussed options for the project and the condition of the two possible outlets. The landowners who installed the tiling had a permit that was approved in 2012, but the work wasn’t completed until last fall. The outlet was moved from the original approved location, which prompted complaints from the downstream landowners. A landowner meeting was held on 03/21/17 to discuss a possible solution for this issue, but the project landowner did not attend. One suggestion brought forward at the meeting was for the BRRWD to authorize HEI to conduct a study for a new legal ditch system to drain excess area water straight west along 220th ST to the Red River. Because of concerns about the potential outlets and the expired permit, the Board directed the landowner to cease operation of the tile pump until he can identify an adequate outlet. They also authorized HEI to conduct a preliminary study for drainage in Mitchell, Roberts, McCauleyville, and Nordick Townships that would drain west to the Red River.

Other business included:           

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Income since the last meeting was $20,009,86 from the Greywind house condemnation proceeding, associated with Project No. 39, Georgetown Levee. Total income to date is $350,319.86, and cash on hand is $1,981,232.62. 

  • Approved permits to the Deal Brothers to fill a natural waterway in the NE1/4, Section 10, Andrea Township, Wilkin County, and to install a ditch along the east and south lines of the NE1/4, outletting to Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 31; Wilkin County Highway Department for a County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 3 improvement project between CSAH No. 24 to CSAH No. 26 from the northeast corner of Section 7, Nordick Township, north to the northeast corner of Section 31, Mitchell Township; Moorhead Public Service for the installation of new underground cable to refeed a lift station in the NE¼, Section 19, Moorhead Township, Clay County, associated with the Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation; BHHS Premier Properties to install three approaches with culverts in the center of Lots 1, 2, and 3, in the NE¼, Section 31, Riverton Township, Clay County, in the south ditch of County Road (C.R.) No. 12; Richard’s Storage, LLC, for a new subdivision for approximately 80 homes in the NE¼, Section 14, Glyndon Township, on the south and west sides of town with the requirement that the low opening of the houses should be built to elevation 925, and the basements are floodproofed; Steve Mohs to install spot tiling in the N½, Section 32, Norwegian Grove Township, Otter Tail County, outletting to natural waterways with downstream landowner approval; and Kurt Krueger to install a field approach with a 24″ dia. x 40′ long culvert in the northwest corner of the S½, Manston Township, Wilkin County, along C.R. No. 176. 

  • Discussed a complaint regarding possible blocked drainage on the north side Trunk Highway No. 10 in Section 5, Hawley Township, Clay County. The project is backing up water from a natural waterway onto the upstream landowner’s property. Albright and a Manager will conduct a field review. 

  • Discussed ditching being conducted along CSAH No. 52 and C.R. No. 30 near Lawndale around the Wilkin County shop. Albright will contact the Wilkin County Highway Department. 

  • Noted that HEI is working on the levee certification process for Project No. 71, City of Moorhead 50th AVE S. 

  • Noted that the two miles of 230th AVE between Sections 19, 20, 29, and 30, Manston Township has been regraded/re-crowned on Project No. 56, Manston Slough Restoration. The office will arrange a meeting with the Manston Township Board of Supervisors to discuss future maintenance of this area. In regards to soft spots along the road/dike, the road embankment may have to be opened this summer and some additional compaction work conducted. 

  • Noted that the contractor, R. J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc., plans to return as soon as conditions permit to do the final cleanup items for Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation Project. The Board agreed to extend our final offer to the Fischer family for their stock pile lease settlement until the 04/10/17 meeting with the understanding that after that date, the Board will go to condemnation, if necessary. The Board approved Pay Request No. 10 for $124,794.86 for R. J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc. and a Change Order regarding their claim for liquidated damages based on alleged delays outside of their control for $96,924.00. The office has prepared landowner notices regarding the status of the levee certification process for the west part of the Oakport Levee and a certification resolution with cover letter to be forwarded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) along with all the certification documentation from Ulteig Engineers, Inc. with the application fee. 

  • Noting that the Greywind buyout has been completed in association with Project No. 39, Georgetown Levee. HEI is working on a formal project maintenance agreement with the City of Georgetown for their review and approval. HEI is also working with two homeowners in Georgetown regarding Letter of Map Revisions requests to FEMA in regards to their property flood insurance requirements. 

  • Approved a repair for Project No. 02, Wilkin C.D. No. 13 in Sections 11, 14, and 23, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, with an estimated cost of $20,000-$25,000. 

  • Noted that an informational meeting to update landowners regarding the Stony Creek Retention project development was held on 03/28/17. The staff is working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation regarding the installation of new diversion culverts on Stony Creek and Interstate-94, and HEI has submitted Concurrence Point No.1 to the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) for review. Hopes are to start the landowner easement option acquisition this summer.

  • Approved the hiring of Steven J. Taff, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, to conduct a study to look at the value of easements on flood damage reduction and natural resource enhancement projects. For a fee of $5,500 plus $500 for travel expenses, Taff will estimate financial costs and sketch administrative procedures to acquire easements, and given enough data, he could also possibly provide a summary tracking framework to understand the economic costs/benefits of a proposed project based on water quality factors.

  • Noted that the contractor, States Border Construction, has about 0.75 miles of the Wilkin C.D. No. 7 repairs completed on the north-south portion of ditch. 

  • Held the annual Advisory Committee meeting on 03/31/17. 

  • Held a River Watch meeting on 03/31/17 to discuss the regional assessment locators monitoring/coordination with International Water Institute, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

  • Noted that erosion control/bank stabilization measures and seeding will be completed this spring on the Wilkin C.D. No. 6A repair site as soon as conditions allow. 

  • Authorized HEI to conduct a repair investigation for Wilkin C.D. Nos. 43 and 44 in response to a landowner complaint about road safety concerns. HEI will also place flag markers along both ditches where slides are located and make repair recommendations. 

  • Received the Engineer’s Report for the Wolverton Creek Restoration project. The BRRWD plans to hold a hearing to address the project development and the proposed water management district process in the near future. 

  • Noting that the COE has scheduled a two-day workshop regarding their Section 1135 Project on the Lower Otter Tail River in the afternoon of April 11 and the morning of April 12, 2017, in our Barnesville office. The COE will also attend a landowner informational meeting to be held on 04/11/17 at 7:00 PM in the Breckenridge City Hall. 

  • BRRWD Managers attended the Minnesota of Association of Watershed Districts Legislative Reception and Breakfast in St. Paul on March 29-30. 

  • Noting that work has started on installing the new M-Files computer software for data retention. HEI has started work on the necessary server upgrades. 

  • Approved payment of bills totaling $189,074.38.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, April 10, 2017, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org

BRRWD Addresses Urban Runoff

At their meeting held in Barnesville on March 13, 2017, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) heard a request from First Congregational Church located at 406 8th Street South, Moorhead, MN, to address runoff from their parking lot. The church has been working with Holland’s Landscaping and Garden Center. It is estimated that it would cost $3,400 to create a rain berm with wetland plants. The parking lot covers about one-third of an acre and drains to the northeast corner before entering the City’s storm sewer. The depressed area would capture the parking lot runoff, treating the water before it is released into the sewer system. BRRWD Chairman, Gerald Van Amburg, said this runoff water often drains directly into the Red River of the North. He would like to see more projects like this completed. Bruce Albright, BRRWD Administrator, said this type of project would be quite popular in the Twin Cities area. The Church is currently soliciting funds for the project. The BRRWD agreed to contribute 25% of the projected costs, or $1,250. They felt that the project could include some water quality monitoring as well as a sign that could be used for education. The Church will keep the Board posted on the status of their project. Albright will do some checking with some of the metro Watershed Districts to see if they might have some advice.

 

Other business included:           

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Since January 1, the Board has received income totaling $330,310. The BRRWD’s balance sheet shows cash on hand of $2,119,242.90. The 2017 accounts receivable report totals approximately $6 million. Administrative expenses for the year total $77,089.13. Right now, the office is working with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Unclaimed Property Program, regarding a cashier’s check the office received from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) in the amount of $2,000 for the Georgetown Flood Control Levee Project. Because of the date on the check, Wells Fargo had forwarded the check’s value to unclaimed property. The office should be able to get the money back by filing the proper forms.

  • Approved a permit to Marita Palya for installation of a culvert and a driveway to access her property on Lake Fifteen off from County Road No. 37 in the SE¼, Section 15, Parke Township, Clay County. Approval of the permit includes best management practices to stabilize both the existing driveway coming in from the west and the new driveway coming in from the east.

  • Noted that a meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 8:30 A.M. in the Watershed Office to discuss an outlet for a drain tile project that was installed last fall in Section 28, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County. The water could drain either north to Wolverton Creek or south to Whiskey Creek. Area landowners have been invited. Concerns have been expressed to the Watershed Office regarding either outlet.

  • Discussed a proposed subdivision in the City of Glyndon that would be located in the NE¼, Section 14, Glyndon Township. The office has had discussions with the City’s Engineer, Ulteig Engineers, Inc. (UEI) and the developer’s engineer, Lightowler Johnson. During the 1997 spring flood, water broke out of Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 12 to the south and flowed into this area. Since then, the BRRWD has done several projects in and around the Glyndon area, including establishment of Clay C.D. No. 68 and the upstream Riverton Township Retention Project. A bigger project may be needed to look at flood proofing this area if additional homes are built. The City of Glyndon also has a waterway on the east side of town which is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources protected waters. This waterway is also full of sediment caused by agricultural land erosion during the 1997 and 2009 spring floods. It also needs to be reviewed/repaired. An informational meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 20, 2017, at 1:00 P.M. in the Glyndon City Hall to continue these discussions.       

  • Noting that a summary judgement hearing was held on 03/10/17 before Judge Steven Cahill in Clay County District Court regarding a lawsuit in the Kragnes area. It is expected that the Judge may take several weeks before we have a ruling. 

  • Discussed plans to address several road soft spots associated with the Manston Slough Restoration Project. Equipment has been hired to grade out the ruts and to try to put a crown on the road so that it sheds water. The road may have to be opened this summer and some additional compaction work conducted. The Board also discussed maintenance on two miles of township road located on 230th AVE between Sections 19, 20, 29, and 30, Manston Township. The office will arrange a meeting with the Manston Township Board of Supervisors to discuss future maintenance. 

  • The Board agreed to a final settlement offer regarding a lease for stock piled materials associated with the Phase 4 Oakport Flood Mitigation Project. The material was removed last summer, but the Board still needs to negotiate a final settlement with the affected landowners. Negotiations have been ongoing for several years. UEI is processing the paperwork to certify the “west levee”. The BRRWD is required by law to send letters to the affected landowners. A motion was approved to sign the noted correspondence. The Board also discussed a claim from the contractor regarding delays that occurred last summer which cost them money. The Board authorized Albright to work with Kris Carlson, UEI, to come up with a final settlement offer. The Board will discuss this offer at their next meeting.

  • Reviewed an erosion control project on land owned by Rodney Wyland in Section 6, Moland Township and Section 1, Glyndon Township. The Clay Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has designed a project that would either install rip rap or stream barbs on the Buffalo River. The estimated project cost is $25,000. The project will also use funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and their Environmental Quality Incentives Program, however, this funding will not be available until 2018. Previously, the BRRWD identified this area as a project in the 1980s when some bank stabilization work was done. Project No. 26 still has about a $10,000 cash reserve. A motion was approved to contribute $7,000 to Wyland’s project. It was noted that the landowner will be required to put in Conservation Reserve Program buffers in several areas along the river on his property.

  • Noting that an informational meeting will be held on Thursday, March 16, 2017, to discuss the repair of Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Lateral. Last fall, the BRRWD was asked to release water from the Manston Slough Restoration Project, and problems along the outlet channel were noted. A survey by Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) shows that the ditch requires cleaning. The project will be discussed with the affected landowners before starting the work.

  • Noting that the next Mediation Project Team meeting is tentatively set for Thursday, April 13, 2017, at 1:30 P.M. at the Watershed Office.

  • Noting that HEI has submitted Concurrence Point No. 2 for the Barnesville Township Project with the Army Corp of Engineers (COE). Manager Leitch has visited with Steven J. Taff, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, regarding a possible study to look at the value of easements on flood damage reduction and natural resource enhancement projects. A proposal from Taff totaling $6,000 was given to the office staff for review. It appears that he would be able to start the work in August 2017. The Board felt other Watershed Districts in the Red River Valley may be interested in contributing to the study costs. 

  • Noting that an informational meeting regarding the Stony Creek Comprehensive project has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 8:30 A.M. in the Watershed Office. The Board would like to update landowners regarding the project status. A conference call will take place on 03/17/17 with representatives from MNDOT regarding the installation of a new diversion culvert on Stony Creek and Interstate 94.

  • Discussed rejection of a Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 grant application that was submitted by the BRRWD and the Becker SWCD titled “Upper Buffalo River Sedimentation Reduction”. The application was rejected because the BRRWD did not have an approved Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA did approve the TMDL on February 16, 2017, but to be eligible for this grant cycle, TMDLs had to be approved prior to 12/31/16. The total amount of the application requested $498,000 with a match of $342,000 totaling $840,000. The application will be submitted again next year assuming EPA has a similar program.

  • Noting that Albright is drafting a resolution for the BRRWD to consider regarding the startup of a One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P). Other partners within the Watershed including the Counties and local SWCDs will also need to sign similar resolutions. The office would like to take these resolutions to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) in mid-April. BWSR has a grant application open until 04/19/17 for 1W1P funding. If the BRRWD was selected, the process would take approximately 18 months to finish. 

  • Noting that representatives from BWSR will attend the 03/27/17 meeting to discuss the Level II Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP). Albright has a draft of their report which includes recommendations: to complete the 1W1P; to continue to use Prioritize, Targeted, and Measurable goals as criterion for project evaluation; to develop orientation and continued education plans for both Board and staff; keeping records of training meetings attended; and putting more information on the BRRWD’s website to report progress and trends made in achieving resource outcome goals. The PRAP report summary is submitted annually to the Legislature for their review. 

  • Noting the City of Comstock has had some questions regarding ring dike possibilities and the ability to address some of their drainage concerns in relationship to the proposed Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Project and upstream staging area. A meeting was held on 03/15/17 to discuss the project status. Representatives from the Watershed will meet with the Comstock City Council on 03/23/17. 

  • Noting that work has started on installing the new M-Files computer software for data retention. HEI has started work on the necessary server upgrades. 

  • Noting that meetings will be held with the COE regarding their Section 1135 Project on the Lower Otter Tail River. Those meetings will take place at the Watershed Office on the afternoon of April 11 and the morning of April 12. In the evening of April 11th, there will be a landowner informational meeting held at the Breckenridge City Hall. Notices will be sent to affected parties. 

  • Noting that Managers plan to attend the upcoming Red River Watershed Management Board/Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group conference to be held in Moorhead at the Marriot on March 22-23. Meetings are open to the public. 

  • BRRWD Managers plan on attending the upcoming Minnesota of Association of Watershed Districts Legislative Reception and Breakfast to be held in St. Paul on March 29-30. 

  • Noting that a meeting will be held with the BRRWD Advisory Committee on Friday, March 31, 20017, at 1:30 P.M. in the Watershed Office. 

  • Noting that a meeting will be held with the River Watch partners to discuss the 2017 sampling season on Friday, March 31, 2017, at 9:00 A.M. at the Watershed Office. 

  • Noting that Administrator Albright attended a Wilkin County Hazard Mitigation Planning meeting in Breckenridge on 03/09/17. The BRRWD is referenced several times in their master mitigation action chart. 

  • Approved payment of bills totaling $158,020.50.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 27, 2017, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.