Monthly Archives: July 2020

BRRWD Discusses Project Funding

At their regular meeting held on July 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed potential funding sources for the proposed Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project in Wilkin County, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Section 319 grant program, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Funds (CWF), the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Stream Habitat funding.  Other funding sources could be the implementation of a watershed management district fee to raise local funding and the BRRWD’s taxing authority through Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3, for a district-wide levy.  Approximately 8-10 landowners along Whiskey Creek have signed up through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for the NWQI program, which provides targeted funding assistance for farmers to implement conservation practices to improve water quality on impaired water bodies in small watersheds.  The Board approved a financial commitment to those landowners with NWQI contracts to cover potential 10% non-performance penalties if the project doesn’t move forward in 2021.  The Board also approved the methodology that the BRRWD’s Engineer, Erik S. Jones, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), has developed to set project easement rates.  The project is located along Whiskey Creek and its tributaries in the Townships of Nilsen, Connelly, Nordick, and McCauleyville in Wilkin County.  Project components include the establishment of expanded permanent vegetated buffers, the installation of sediment control best management practices, stream restoration, and upland conservation practices.  The project is a cooperative undertaking between the BRRWD, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), State, and Federal agencies. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,823,476.26.  Income since the 7/13/20 meeting totals $22,844.84.  Total income this year is $3,004,969.51.  The Board approved a motion to renew the BRRWD’s Midwest Bank line-of-credit.  They also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $83,315.46.  The BRRWD’s 2021 Annual Budget Hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM. 

  • Authorized HEI to work with a landowner to improve drainage in Sections 21 and 28, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, by extending the Wolverton Creek Restoration project one mile further upstream to provide a better outlet.

  • Authorized beaver control on the Glyndon East Tributary to the Buffalo River and then to expand HEI’s survey investigation of the south end of the waterway as a first step to address area drainage concerns.

  • Approved permits to Brian L. Thomas to install pattern tile in the S½, Section 10, Kragnes Township, Clay County, outletting to the Buffalo River; Brady Olson to install a 24″ dia. x 40′ long driveway culvert/approach for a new house along County Road (C.R.) No. 95 in the NW¼, Section 11, Oakport Township, Clay County, subject to receiving a County permit for the culvert; Jesse Stuehrenberg to lower a County Ditch (C.D.) No. 23 spoilbank culvert approximately 1′ in the E½NW¼, Section 30, Meadows Township, Wilkin County; four permits to Whitt Case for pattern tiling projects in Spring Prairie, Moland, and Flowing Townships, Clay County; Matthew Bjerke to install water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in the S½, Section 16, Lake Park Township, Becker County; two permits to Terry Kohler for water and sediment control basins with surface intake and underground outlet in Audubon and Hamden Townships, Becker County; Barry Nelson to install water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in the NE¼, Section 9, Lake Park Township, Becker County, subject to Township approval to work within their road right-of-way; Robert Olson to install three water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in Section 8, Parke Township, Clay County; Albin Warling to install a grassed waterway and one water and sediment control basin with surface intakes and underground outlet in Section 25, Cuba Township, Becker County, eventually outletting to Becker C.D. No. 9; and James Klein to install pattern tiling including control structures in Section 23, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County, with two outlets into Wilkin C.D. No. 31 to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved repair of a culvert crossing in C.D. No. 4 through 310th AVE between Sections 9 and 10, Foxhome Township, Wilkin County. The two existing 42″ corrugated metal pipes have failed and should be replaced with two lines of 57″ x 38″ corrugated metal arch pipe due to the height limitations on the road and the elevation of the field.  Approximately 500′-1000′ of the ditch downstream of the crossing should also be cleaned.  The opinion of probable cost is $10,000 for materials and labor.  The Wilkin County Highway Department will do the work.

  • Approved a contract extension for States Borders Construction, Inc. on Wilkin/Otter Tail Judicial Ditch No. 2 due to wet weather until 8/5/20 to complete the seeding and to clean up the punch list items.

  • Approved a channel repair of about two miles of Project No. 2, Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Lateral in Sections 7 and 18, Manston Township. The engineer’s estimate is approximately $15,000. 

  • Authorized HEI to work with the SWCD to provide technical assistance for erosion sites along the Buffalo River in Sections 28 and 34, Moland Township, Clay County.

  • Approved a request from the Clay SWCD to support the Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist position by contributing one-third of the local share ($2,166).

  • Approved a cost-share request from a landowner who is working with the Clay SWCD to install three NRCS designed water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in Section 8, Parke Township, Clay County. The total project cost is $18,714.30.  The SWCD contributed $5,000, and the BRRWD share will total $6,857.15. 

  • Authorized HEI to submit a CWF application for work along the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River from Trunk Highway No. 9 to just north of C.R. No. 30.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, August 10, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with M.S.A. 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD Signs Whiskey Creek EAW

At their regular meeting held on July 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), authorized signature of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), required for the proposed Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project.  The Board distributed the EAW for a 60-day review period, which ended 6/24/20.  We received four comment letters that were incorporated into the EAW Record of Decision.  Essentially, the EAW Findings were that an Environmental Impact Statement won’t be required for the proposed project.  The project is located along Whiskey Creek and its tributaries in the Townships of Nilsen, Connelly, Nordick, and McCauleyville in Wilkin County.  Project components include the establishment of expanded permanent vegetated buffers, the installation of sediment control best management practices, stream restoration, and upland conservation practices.  The project is a cooperative undertaking between the BRRWD, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), State, and Federal agencies. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 7/13/20 monthly financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $3,289,164.06.  The current administrative disbursements since 6/8/20 totaled $29,067.92, and the total for the year is $214,487.25.  Income received since the last meeting totals $2,027,266.91 and for the year, totals $2,982,124.67.  We received $1.4 million from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) FY16 Targeted Watershed Grant for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, and 2020 property/ditch tax payments from Clay County ($503,839.67-property only), Becker County ($64,401.20), and Otter Tail County ($330.11).  The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $488,532.64.  The BRRWD’s 2021 Annual Budget Hearing is scheduled for August 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM. 

  • Entered into Executive Session to discuss the permit appeal lawsuit and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Contested Case. When the Board reconvened the regular meeting, they approved a motion to authorize BRRWD Attorney Brent Edison to hire an expert witness hydrologist for deposition and trial testimony regarding the Diversion Authority’s new property rights acquisition mitigation information, modeling, and impact maps. 

  • Appointed Manager Van Amburg to serve on the Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Authority land acquisition committee, associated with the FM Diversion project.

  • Approved permits to Matt Halverson for a wetland restoration in the SW¼, Section 14, Elkton Township, Clay County, using scrapes and ditch plugs, as part of a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) conservation easement project; Jerry Butenhoff for a wetland restoration in the W½, Section 12, Elkton Township, Clay County, using minor scrapes and embankments, as part of a CREP conservation easement project; Gerald Zimmerman to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 4, Moland Township, Clay County, running south to north, outletting via a lift station and/or control structure in the middle of the quarter into Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 65 on the north side of the property, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Shawn Norman to add the east 80 acres in the NW¼, Section 15, Manston Township, Wilkin County, to Norman’s existing tile main project (Permit No. 18-003), draining to the existing project outlet, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Pheasants Forever for 13 wetland restorations by means of sediment removal, ditch plugs, and potential tile removal, plus crossings with culverts in the NW¼NW¼, Section 8, and the E½SW¼, Section 5, Parke Township, Clay County; David Simmer to lower an 18″ dia. culvert by approximately 6″ that the township plans to replace at the intersection of 300th AVE and 260th ST in the SE¼, Section 20, Akron Township, Wilkin County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way; Kraig Nelson for the installation of random drain tile and culvert installations for field crossings in various locations in Sections 9, 11, and 12, Audubon Township, Becker County, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Ed Askegaard to pattern tile 156 acres in the NE¼, Section 10, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, via a lift station to C.D. No. 22-Lateral No. 3, to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Michael Yaggie to install pattern tiling with 60′ spacings in the E½, Section 28, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County, outletting to C.D. No. 3-Branch 3, to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved Change Order No. 5 (-$18,790.65) and Pay Request No. 12 in the amount of $265,001.36 to Sellin Brothers, Inc. for their work on Phase 1 of Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. The contractor is working on seeding and expects to complete Phase 1 in the next few weeks. 

  • Authorized two culvert repairs on Clay C.D. No. 21. The first repair site is in the northwest corner of Section 1, Elmwood Township, where a band on a 36″ dia. corrugated metal pipe field inlet failed and needs to be replaced along with any damaged or deteriorated pipe ($2,000-$3,500).  The other repair is for a 60″ dia. reinforced concrete pipe culvert through 130th ST S between Sections 5 and 6, Elkton Township, that has minor joint separation, causing some settling along the road ditch slope adjacent to the road surface.  The pipe will be excavated, and the joints wrapped with geotextile fabric to prevent water from washing soil through the joints ($2,000-$3,000 for materials and labor).

  • Authorized replacement for two culverts in Clay C.D. No. 58 through 130th ST S between Sections 17 and 18, Elkton Township, with a single line of 73″ x 55″ arch pipe for approximately $20,000 for materials and labor, subject to a 50/50 cost-share agreement with Elkton Township.

  • Authorized BRRWD Engineer Erik S. Jones to work with the Wilkin SWCD to investigate a possible repair of slope failures next to a farmstead where C.D. No. 12 enters the Red River north of Breckenridge. The BRRWD has agreed to conduct a preliminary survey investigation, provide a concept plan, and potentially submit a BWSR Clean Water Fund grant application for erosion control. 

  • Approved hiring LM Road Services, Ulen, MN, to conduct the 2020 ditch spraying for cattails, trees, and noxious weeds on the Clay and Wilkin County ditch systems and projects.

  • Authorized Jones to work with a Becker C.D. No. 5 landowner regarding a pipe installation and advice about a potential ditch improvement process.

  • Authorized signature of cost-share agreement with the Wilkin SWCD for the repair of the C.D. No. 27 east/west branches and the installation of side inlets. The SWCD will provide $159,395.99 in grant funds and the ditch system will provide 25% matching funds. 

  • Approved a Pete Lake homeowner’s request for reimbursement of the gravel costs to raise his driveway near the outlet of Project No. 67, HRBP Lakes Outlet. Since 2010 when the BRRWD completed an outlet project for Helgeson, Randkler, Businger, and Pete Lakes, the runout elevation of the Pete Lake outlet has been modified higher a couple of times in response to Pete Lake landowner requests.  Due to the spring runoff, Pete Lake was at elevation 1356.1 in June, which affected the private driveway near the outlet. 

  • Approved a Turtle Lake homeowner’s request for the BRRWD to cost-share 25% of his shoreland restoration and protection project. The Clay County Planning and Zoning and SWCD has agreed to provide the design and contribute 50% of the costs for the project from their shoreline restoration grant funds. 

  • Received the HR Committee report regarding the possible transition of the current HEI contracted staff to BRRWD in-house employees.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, July 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.