Monthly Archives: September 2019

BRRWD Discusses Local Drainage Concerns

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), met with several landowners regarding area drainage concerns at their regular meeting held on September 23, 2019, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. A landowner in Manston Township discussed his concerns about the breakouts from the South Branch of the Buffalo River on the west side of Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9 that caused erosion damage on a neighbor’s property in Section 6, Manston Township, Wilkin County. This spring, water broke out from the South Branch and flowed cross-country to Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 13-Lateral, where the increased flows washed out several ditch crossings near the landowner’s property and overtopped a township road. The Board is aware of these issues and in response, has been working on a phased restoration project for the South Branch of the Buffalo River, which would include an off-channel retention site(s) west of T.H. No. 9 to reduce downstream impacts. If the BRRWD is able to close on the needed property for a channel restoration site east of T.H. No. 9 by the end of the year, Phase 1 of the project could be ready for construction in 2020.

The Board also discussed a potential flood mitigation project with Barnesville Township Supervisors involving repair of the 170th ST S east road ditch in Section 1 and the installation of an additional culvert through 170th ST S. The project would also include cleaning about 0.7 miles of a natural waterway between 170th ST S and Stony Creek. The Board authorized Erik S. Jones, BRRWD Engineer, Houston Engineering, Inc., to assist Barnesville Township to file a “Notice of Interest” to apply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Assistance program grant to fix the drainage problems.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $3,524,953.19. Income since the 9/9/19 meeting totals $33,589.95, including $33,136.50 from Wilkin County for the Buffer Initiative Aid payment and $453.45 from landowners for the Section 27, Manston Township, waterway repair cost share payments. Total income this year is $4,479,838.16. The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $318,408.83. The BRRWD is scheduled to meet with the Clay County Board of Commissioners at their October 8, 2019, meeting to present the 2020 tax petitions to use our taxing authority for two general levies in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.905, Subd. 3.

  • Approved permits to: Wilkin County Highway Department to replace the existing pipes on a natural waterway through County Road No. 169 between Sections 17 and 18, Akron Township, with two lines of 58″ reinforced concrete arch pipe; Wendell Rogers to install 80 acres of pattern tile, outletting via a 6″ dia. tile gravity outlet to a low spot in his pasture in the SE¼, Section 32, Humboldt Township, Clay County, subject to the BRRWD’s standard tiling disclaimer; and Marita Palya to add an approach and an 18″ dia. x 10′ long culvert to access their pasture north of their main residential driveway off 160th ST S in the NW¼, Section 11, Elkton Township, Clay County, subject to a field review to determine the culvert sizing and township approval to work within their right-of-way (R/W). 

  • Reviewed a complaint from Moorhead Township regarding an individual dumping grass clippings and tree branches in the County Road R/W in front of two culverts in the west ditch of County State Aid Highway No. 52 in Section 26. The BRRWD will work with the Clay County Highway Department regarding this issue. 

  • Discussed a complaint from a property owner on the north side of T.H. No. 34 about water standing in the ditch along his property across the road from the Galaxie Supper Club. The Galaxie’s driveway culvert on 200th ST S is set too high, blocking water coming through the T.H. No. 34 culverts from draining south. As a result, the low flows on the north side of T.H. No. 34 never drain out completely. A local contractor provided an estimate of $6,156 to lower the culvert. Bruce E. Albright, BRRWD Administrator, has been working on this issue with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Humboldt Township, the BRRWD, and the landowner, and he will prepare a draft cost share agreement for the parties to split the work costs equally. 

  • Approved a cost-share proposal to split the costs for the repair for washed out structures on Becker C.D. No. 15-Branch 7 in 220th ST on the Audubon/Hamden Township line. The estimated cost for the work is $12,000 to $15,000. The proposal would have Audubon Township pay $5,000 of the final repair costs, and the ditch system would be responsible for the remainder. 

  • Agreed to sponsor the Audubon Society’s Phase II Conservation Partners Legacy Urban Wood and Prairies Initiative grant application and to contribute $2,000 as a local match. The BRRWD has a five acre area just north of Wall ST in Oakport Township associated with the Oakport Flood Mitigation project that is ready for seeding. The total project costs are $60,776 with a 10% local match requirement. Other partners include the City of Moorhead and North Dakota State University. 

  • Approved an amendment to the BRRWD’s original Memorandum of Understanding with Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources for the use of the BRRWD’s Targeted Watershed Program grant for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, to include the Reinvest In Minnesota easement on the Todd Blilie property (Section 10, Wolverton Township). 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 2 for Dennis Drewes, Inc. in the amount of $253,923.60 for Project No. 78, J.D. No. 1-Improvement and approved a time extension due to the wet weather until 11/15/19 for the contractor to finish the dirt work with seeding to be completed next spring. 

  • Approved the retrofit of Wilkin C.D. No. 27, following a landowner informational meeting held on 9/20/19. The project is estimated to cost approximately $591,000. About half those costs could be covered by the Otter Tail and Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation Districts from their buffer aid funding (approximately $275,000). The retrofit will be one of the Wilkin County Highway Department’s 2020 projects. 

  • Approved replacement of two damaged inlet culverts on Judicial Ditch No. 2 in Sections 7 and 18, Orwell Township, Otter Tail County. The existing culverts will be replaced with a 24″ dia. x 50′ long corrugated metal pipe (CMP)/flapgate and a 24″ dia. x 60′ long CMP/flapgate for a probable cost of $5,000-$5,500. 

  • Noted that the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts has scheduled their annual meeting and trade show for December 4-7, 2019. Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation, has been selected as one of the finalists for their “Project of the Year” award. 

  • Noted that the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center is hosting their annual Water Resource Conference on October 15-16, 2019, at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Manager Van Amburg plans to attend, and BRRWD Engineer Erik Jones was asked to share his experiences regarding the Wolverton Creek Restoration project in a river restoration panel discussion. 

  • Noted that a One Watershed, One Plan Planning Team meeting is scheduled for 9/25/19. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. The meeting date was moved in observance of the Columbus Day Holiday. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD to Host Fall Tour

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), has scheduled their Annual Fall Tour for Thursday, September 19, 2019. The tour will look at several areas and projects within the BRRWD. The Advisory Committee and PT have requested the Tour, as they feel this is a good way to see and understand our District.

We plan to meet at 1:30 PM at the Watershed District office, 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. The office is located just east of the City’s new water tower. Besides parking at our office, cars can park along 4th AVE NE. The bus will return at approximately 5:30 PM, at which time we will have catered supper at the Watershed District office. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of our plans and invite you to attend. Please return the enclosed reservation card by 09/16/19, so we can get a count for the meals and bus. If you need to contact me the day of the tour, my cell phone number is 218-790-1957.

BRRWD Discusses Georgetown Concerns

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), met with City of Georgetown representatives to discuss several issues at their regular meeting held on September 9, 2019, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. The first item was a request to erect signage on the east side of Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 75 on the south end of Georgetown on property owned by the BRRWD. The Board will make a decision about the sign placement at their next meeting after staff has checked with the BRRWD’s attorney regarding possible easement restrictions. Tammi Sather, City of Georgetown Clerk, brought up the issue of transferring the project buyout properties to the City. The properties (10-15 parcels) were acquired with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) funding. The Board initially approved the transfer at their 5/14/18 meeting, but since then, unanticipated state agency approval requirements and concerns have delayed the process. A less expensive option could be for the BRRWD and the City to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for the City to use the land, rather than own it. The Board asked the City to provide a list of activities or potential development plans for the individual parcels so that the BRRWD’s attorney can determine if those uses are compatible with the DNR grant covenants. Sather also had questions about the 2019 project expenses, the 2020 tax assessment the Board levied at the 8/26/19 annual budget hearing, and possible options for the BRRWD to assist the City financially. The group discussed the status of the Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) request to exempt a Georgetown home from having to carry flood insurance because it has a basement and is located in the floodplain but is protected by the project. Initially, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied the LOMR request because the City of Georgetown is their own floodplain administrator, and Clay County’s blanket basement exemption doesn’t apply. The City may have to officially adopt the FEMA guidelines to grant a variance. The group also discussed a concern about log jam debris from the Red River in Oakport Township that was hauled to Georgetown for burning. After the City contacted the BRRWD, the hauling was stopped, and no burning took place. The site is currently too wet to access because of the recent rainfalls, but once it dries up, the debris will be removed.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $3,738,492.59. Administrative disbursements this month equal $27,130.27, and for the year, total $226,884.98. Total income this year is $4,446,248.21. Income received since the 8/12/19 meeting totaled $2,087,590.69, including $405,705.80 from Clay County for their 1st half ditch/project 2019 tax proceeds; $1,666,376.85 from Clay County for the Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1 bond sale; $4,996.20 from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for a Surface Water Assessment Grant payment for BRRWD water quality monitoring efforts, $1,305.00 from Ohnstad Twitchell for costs related to the Diversion Authority’s Data Practices Act request, $3,012.37 from landowner payments for the Section 27, Manston Township, waterway repair, and $1,500.24 from the Red River Watershed Management Board for Mediation Project Team expenses. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for August interest ($4,469.23) and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board approved a motion to meet with the Clay County Board of Commissioners to ask them to provide petitions for the BRRWD to use our taxing authority for two general levies in accordance Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.905, Subd. 3. The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $247,129.35.

  • Approved permits to: Steve Thompson to widen a field approach off Clay County Road (C.R.) No. 15 in the NE¼, Section 3, Alliance Township, adding a new 22′ long culvert to widen the existing approach; Kost Materials to install an outlet control structure on the west side of their retention pond for a new concrete facility southeast of Audubon in the NW¼SW¼, Section 14, Audubon Township, Becker County; Butch Jirak to install 60 acres of pattern tile along the railroad tracks in the SW¼, Section 6, Connelly Township, Wilkin County, outletting via a control structure and gravity outlet to the Red River, subject to the BRRWD’s standard tiling disclaimer; Pheasants Forever, Inc. to restore eight wetlands by filling in ditches and removing sediment in Sections 15, 16, 21, and 22, Callaway Township, Becker County, on United States Fish and Wildlife Service property; City of Moorhead to install watermain, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and street improvements for the Village Green 6th Addition-Phase 4 in the SW¼, Section 22, Moorhead Township, Clay County, outletting to an existing regional retention pond, which was designed to handle this water, subject to the BRRWD’s standard utility disclaimer; Nathaniel Baer to install 130 acres of pattern tile in the W½, Section 20, Skree Township, Clay County, outletting via a control structure in the southeast corner of the section, subject to the BRRWD’s standard tiling disclaimer; Chad Leach to install a field approach with a new 18″ dia. x 60′ culvert on the west side of 130th ST S in the SE¼, Section 7, Elkton Township, Clay County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Aaron Brakke to install an 18″ dia. x 60′ long culvert in an existing farmstead driveway on the west side of C.R. No. 59 (3rd ST S) in the SE¼, Section 7, Holy Cross Township, Clay County; Krystal Frances to replace their current 18″ dia. driveway culvert in the SE¼, Section 9, Hawley Township, Clay County, with a new 24″ dia. pipe, subject to township approval to work within their road R/W; Bob Mattson to install eleven Natural Resources Conservation Service and Becker Soil and Water Conservation District designed water and sediment control basins with surface water intakes and underground outlet in the SW¼, Section 14, Lake Park Township, Becker County, subject to township approval to work within their road R/W; RRR Mattson Partnership to install random tile to pick up low areas and tie into an existing tile outlet in the NW¼, Section 20, Cuba Township, Becker County, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Rick Maier to move a field approach to the quarterline of Section 7, Atherton Township, Wilkin County, along 110th ST with a 24″ dia. pipe. 

  • Authorized HEI to conduct an elevation survey of the ditch along the east side of T.H. No. 9 south of Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 2 to improve drainage for the area and a tile pump outlet. 

  • Authorized HEI to conduct a survey within the City of Rustad to address drainage concerns. 

  • Authorized HEI to conduct a more detailed elevation survey for 170th ST S and the natural waterway from T.H. No. 9 to Clay C.D. No. 31 to provide information for a possible Barnesville Township flood mitigation grant application. 

  • Authorized HEI to conduct a repair survey for Clay C.D. Nos. 11, 36, and 40. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 8 for Sellin Brothers, Inc. in the amount of $102,872 for their work on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. 

  • Authorized HEI to re-evaluate the Stony Creek Water Resource Management Project’s purpose and needs and to conduct another investigation of project alternatives and potential benefits. 

  • Scheduled a landowner informational meeting to discuss the proposed Wilkin C.D. No. 27 Retrofit project on 9/20/19 at 8:00 AM in the Wilkin County Environmental Office in Breckenridge. 

  • Noted that the BRRWD’s Fall Tour will be held at the Barnesville office on September 19, 2019, at 1:30 PM. A catered supper will be provided following the tour at approximately 5:30 PM.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, September 23, 2019, 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.