Monthly Archives: February 2020

BRRWD Covers Light Agenda in Record Time

At their regular meeting held on February 24, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), covered their agenda items in about 50 minutes and then watched two Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP) training videos on soil health/cover crops to fill out their hour-long meeting. These videos provide training to meet BWSR’s Level II PRAP performance standards for Watershed District Managers.

Business included:

  • The Board reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,451,098.43. Total income this year is $267,840.00. Income since the 2/10/20 meeting totals $3,128.59, including a payment from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for our Upper Buffalo River 319 Grant ($579.80), a refund from Premium Waters, Inc. ($48.79), and a payment from Hamden Township for their share of the Becker County Ditch (C.D.) No. 15 repairs ($2,500). The Board approved a motion to hire Harold J. Rotunda, Certified Public Accountant, to complete the BRRWD’s 2019 audit. They approved payment of the bills in the amount of $56,933.46.

  • Approved permits to the Clay County Highway Department to replace an existing bridge over C.D. No. 10 between Sections 22 and 23, Morken Township, with two lines of 9′ x 6′ precast concrete box culverts with end sections and minor grading; and the City of Barnesville for the development of the Del Acres Gilbertson 3rd Addition, a 57-lot residential single family home subdivision in the W½, Section 29, Humboldt Township, Clay County, including the installation of sewer, water, storm sewer, paving and grading, and a bituminous bike path along 13th AVE from 4th ST N to 9th ST S. 

  • Received an update on the status of the Stony Creek Water Resource Project. The office staff has revised the easement options and started forwarding them to the affected landowners. The Stony Creek project has been added to the Red River Basin’s proposed $75 million 2020 Legislative bonding bill. 

  • Received an update on the status of the Fargo Moorhead Diversion lawsuits regarding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit contested case and the Diversion project permit denial appeal. 

  • Noted that the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District has scheduled a meeting on 3/6/20 at the Environmental Office in Breckenridge at 9:00 AM for landowners involved with the Whiskey Creek Restoration project near Kent to discuss the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) grant program. In order to access the potential NWQI funding, local landowners will have to work with NRCS staff to implement conservation practices on their private land. The funding could be used for the implementation of best management practices: side inlets, sediment control basins, and even some of the channel restoration work. The use of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to acquire the necessary permanent right-of-way will also be reviewed. 

  • Approved the transfer of 1.09 acres of wetland mitigation credits from the BRRWD’s wetland bank to be used for the Oakport project. 

  • Noted that the draft Total Maximum Daily Load and the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies Reports for the Otter Tail River are being circulated for comments. Once the review period is over and the Reports are adopted, the next step could be to move forward with the One Watershed, One Plan process for the Otter Tail River watershed.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 9, 2020, 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 Approves Draft 1W1P

At their regular meeting held on February 10, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed a Power Point presentation regarding the draft status of the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P). After discussion about how the Plan will be implemented, the Board voted to approve the draft. Once the 1W1P Policy Committee reviews and approves the Plan, it will be distributed for a 60-day notification period to local governments and agencies, followed by a public hearing. The Plan will then be submitted to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Northern Planning Committee, who will make a recommendation to the full BWSR Board. After BWSR’s formal adoption, a new local committee will be formed to implement the Plan. As one of BWSR’s approved 1W1P efforts, the BRRWD is working with local government agencies from Becker, Clay, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties, local government officials, and regular citizens to create a single plan for the three watersheds within the BRRWD: the Red River, Otter Tail River, and the Buffalo River. Cooperation throughout multiple, connected jurisdictions is important because water management in one county can affect the waters of all the other counties. Combining multiple water planning efforts will create a more efficient and cooperative plan for water management. The Plan will include goals and implementation actions that are prioritized and targeted on a watershed basis with measurable results, instead of the present individual plans that are restricted to political boundaries.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, accounts receivable, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,581,048.51. Administrative disbursements this month equal $53,725.13, and for the year, total the same. 2020 Accounts Receivable total $5,571,184. Total income this year is $264,711.41. Income received since the 1/13/20 meeting totaled $59,328.59, including delinquent county property/ditch tax payments from Clay ($14,989.45), Becker ($6,450.56), Otter Tail ($1,734.26), and Wilkin ($12,547.74); Becker County for a Buffer Initiative Aid payment ($15,007); Audubon Township for their share of a culvert repair ($2,500), and $1,000 from the North Dakota State University for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant program. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for January interest ($4,874.58) and Houston Engineering, Inc. for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board approved payment of the bills totaling $133,078.67. 

  • Signed an agreement with three other parties to split the estimated $6,156 to repair the former Galaxie Supper Club driveway/culvert. 

  • Received an update on the status of the Stony Creek Water Resource Project. The office staff is updating the easement options and will be sending them out to the affected landowners in the next few days. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to forward the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council Grant paperwork for the Board’s signature in the near future. Once the landowner easement options are acquired and the Engineer’s Report is filed, the Board will schedule the Final Hearing where funding options will be finalized. 

  • Approved a motion to proceed with the hearing process for the Hamden Slough Refuge wetland modification project. As part of their project, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) plans to raise the Homstad wetland 1 foot above the “as-built” elevation, which involves Becker County Ditch (C.D.) No. 15. The USFWS will forward a petition for the impoundment of water on the county ditch system to the BRRWD. The Board set a tentative hearing date of March 24, 2020. 

  • Approved the preliminary budget and project development steps for the Whiskey Creek Restoration project near Kent, subject to the Final Hearing. 

  • Scheduled ditch buffer hearings for Clay C.D. Nos. 20, 22, 23, 28, and 51 on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville. This is just the first in a series of ditch hearings to be held in accordance with the 2015 State Buffer Law. 

  • Discussed changes to the cost estimate of the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) Section 1135 Study for the Lower Otter Tail River Revised Project Management Plan. The original 2017 estimate was $340,000 with the COE paying the first $100,000 and the COE and the BRRWD splitting the remainder 50/50. The new cost estimate has risen to $753,749 with the BRRWD’s share now at $326,912.50. The Board decided to delay signing the agreement until more Managers were present to discuss the revisions. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, February 24, 2020, 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.