Author Archives: Julie Jerger

BRRWD HR Committee 1/25/21 Special Meeting

NOTICE

A special meeting of the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) Human Resources Committee will be held Monday, January 25, 2021, at 5:30 PM in the BRRWD Barnesville office, followed by a regular Board meeting at 7:00 PM. 

Dated this 13th day of January, 2021.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson                          

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

 

BRRWD Wraps Up 2020

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their last meeting of the year on December 14, 2020.  They discussed a number of topics, including a Phase 2 construction update for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration.  Mulching along the channel is nearing completion and final Phase 2 cleanup work will be completed next spring when conditions permit.  According to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) Grant contract, easement options and acquisitions for Phases 1 and 2 will need to be completed by 6/30/21.  Staff will be working with landowners to complete easement negotiations with that deadline in mind.  The Managers also reviewed the Phase 1 and 2 easement option acquisition process for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project.  Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Resource Specialist Craig Lingen is working with landowners on the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) easement acquisitions along the channel corridor.  The Board approved a motion to move forward with the easement option and temporary easement acquisitions with expectations that Phase 1 construction could begin later next summer after the required project hearing is held in early 2021. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 12/14/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $2,913,097.14.  Income received since the 11/09/20 meeting totals $800,942.43, and for the year, totals $5,361,065.26.  The administrative disbursements since the last report totaled $29,694.58, and for the year is $398,130.11.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $358,526.42.

  • Approved permits to Mark Blaufuss to add an additional 18″ dia. pipe or to replace the existing 18″ dia. culvert with a new 24″ dia. pipe in a field approach in the SW¼, Section 25, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Pheasant Forever to restore 17 wetlands in Sections 7 and 8, Callaway Township, Becker County, by filling ditches, sediment removal, and potentially tile removal with the provision that any tile coming into the property from adjacent landowner tile systems should not be altered; Scott Holt to install random 8″ dia. tile in the SE¼NW¼, Section 33, Tansem Township, Clay County, in two low areas in his field, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer with the provision that Holt work with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) regarding the elevation of the inlet pipes; Jeff Mortenson to pattern tile 25 acres in the northwest corner of Section 25, Spring Prairie Township, Clay County, with a gravity outlet to a natural waterway, eventually to County Ditch (C.D.) No. 2, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Thomas Radig to extend the ditch along the south edge of the neighboring property in the NW¼, Section 1, Breckenridge Township, Wilkin County, straight west to the ditch on the east side of County Road (C.R.) No. 10 and to install a new 30″ dia. culvert/field entrance off C.R. No. 10, eventually draining to C.D. No. 3, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W; Troy Larson to install a new culvert approximately 1′ lower than the existing culvert in the S½, Section 22, Akron Township, Wilkin County, on the south side of the section at the half-mile line, to convey existing tile water to C.D. No. 3, and to grade the ditch near the culvert to improve drainage, subject to township approval to work in the road R/W.

  • Approved a motion to work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to apply for a LSOHC Conservation Partners Legacy grant to remove a low water crossing in the City of Georgetown associated with the levee project, where log jams frequently build up. The grant requires a 10% match, which could come from USFWS federal funds.  The DNR has funding available for the project design.  The FM Diversion Authority has agreed to fund permanent flood protection for Georgetown, which involves closing the openings in the levee project. 

  • Approved the 2019 Annual Report, which is available on the BRRWD’s website.

  • Agreed to move forward with the development of a watershed management district (WMD) to assess an annual levy for a limited term to pay the local costs for a future comprehensive project to address drainage problems along the Glyndon East Tributary and long-term project maintenance. The potential WMD rates would be calculated based on discharge/runoff contribution and land use for agricultural land and properties within the City of Glyndon. 

  • Noted that the BRRWD recently received three grant awards totaling approximately $1 million for three of our current projects: Whiskey Creek Enhancement, Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Channel Restoration, and Otter Tail River Habitat Restoration. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and 2021 annual meeting on Monday, January 11, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our meetings are conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Welcomes New Staff

At their regular meeting, held on November 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), welcomed Kristine M. Altrichter, who will assume the position of BRRWD Administrator on a full-time basis in the Barnesville office.  She will work directly with the Board of Managers for policy development, constituent services, and general support, as well as manage all District activities and budgets.  Altrichter’s educational background and experience in natural resource management will be a great asset to the BRRWD.

Other Business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 11/23/20 financial status. Cash on hand was $2,471,977.70.  Income received since the 10/13/20 meeting totaled $1,670.53, and for the year, totaled $4,561,793.36.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $358,152.46.

  • Approved permits to Connie Seidler to pattern tile the NE¼ and the east 80 acres of the NW¼, Section 28, Sunnyside Township, Wilkin County, outletting partially into the Bois de Sioux Watershed District (BdSWD), subject to our standard tiling disclaimer and BdSWD permit approval and conditions; and Mike Opatril to install an 18″ dia. culvert/approach crossing in the northwest corner of the SE¼, Section 4, Riverton Township, Clay County.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 2 for Gladen Construction, Inc.’s work to date on Phase 2 of the Wolverton Creek Restoration project in the amount of $276,337.52 and Change Order No. 2 for a $29,410.99 net increase in Gladen’s contract.

  • Approved the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) Findings and Order for Project No. 80, Stony Creek Water Resource Management Project. As a result of the EAW, the BRRWD determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was not needed for the project.

  • Accepted the Engineer’s Report for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project in Wilkin County. The Report will be forwarded to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for comments prior to a future project hearing.  The Board also authorized signature of an application submittal letter for a potential United States Fish and Wildlife Service Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership grant.

  • Adopted the final One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) for the Buffalo-Red River watershed. All the local government units (LGUs) involved with the 1W1P process will also need to adopt the Plan.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and 2021 annual meeting on Monday, January 11, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our meetings are conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Welcomes New Staff

At their regular meeting, held on November 9, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), welcomed Zach Anderson to the BRRWD office staff.  Anderson will fill the newly created BRRWD Watershed Specialist position where he will focus on working with landowners to acquire permanent easements for current and future BRRWD projects, including the Wolverton Creek Restoration, Whiskey Creek Restoration, Stony Creek Water Resource Management, and the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration.  Anderson will also lead long-term habitat maintenance for these projects. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 11/9/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $2,692,728.68.  Income received since the 10/13/20 meeting totals $358,398.35, and for the year, totals $4,586,335.12.  The administrative disbursements since the last report totaled $33,754.20, and for the year is $368,718.03.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $196,209.22. 

  • Approved permits to Keene Township to install a new culvert in an existing dry approach in the west ditch of 210th ST N along the east line of Section 34, Clay County; Tom Paulson/Bruce Yaggie to regrade the west township road ditch in the W½, Section 21, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, and lower the diagonal culvert between Sections 21 and 17, according to the Engineer’s plan, and add another culvert in this location to provide an outlet into Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration; Bryan Albertson to reset a culvert and clean the ditch to grade along County Road (C.R.) No. 169 on the west side of the NW¼, Section 29, Akron Township, Wilkin County, to improve drainage, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); and Matthew Hasbargen to add a new approach and 18″ dia. culvert in the northwest corner of the NW¼, Section 16, Sunnyside Township, Wilkin County, off C.R. No. 14 and to remove the existing field crossing in the north-south ditch in the northwest corner of the field, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W.

  • Convened a complaint hearing at 7:30 PM to review drainage violations in Section 13, Audubon Township, Becker County. The Board discussed the drainage activities with the landowner and directed him to unblock his neighbors’ tile outlets by 11/23/20. 

  • Received a draft report presentation from Eide Bailly regarding their cost comparison analysis of transitioning the current HEI office staff to BRRWD employment. The Board will schedule a special meeting with Eide Bailly and the full HR Committee to have an in depth review of the report. 

  • Authorized BRRWD President Fjestad to sign the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Reinvest In Minnesota easement for a tract of land associated with the Wolverton Creek Restoration project.

  • Approved repairs for Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 68 on the west side of Glyndon from Parke AVE to the railroad tracks. The probable cost for materials and labor is $6,000-$7,000. 

  • Approved repairs for Clay C.D. No. 58 for a channel cleanout for a two-mile stretch of C.D. No. 58 from the outlet in Section 4 through C.R. No. 17 in Section 10, Elmwood Township. The cost estimate is approximately $20,000.

  • Noted that the Buffalo-Red River Watershed Comprehensive Watershed Plan was prescribed by the BWSR Board on 10/28/20. The Plan is available for review on the BRRWD’s website. 

  • Appointed BRRWD Managers Van Amburg and Fjestad as delegates to the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts virtual Annual Meeting and Trade Show on December 1-4, 2020. Manager Affield is the alternate delegate.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, November 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the meeting will be conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org

BRRWD Approves Diversion Settlement

At their regular meeting held on October 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed a Binding Settlement Term Sheet (BSTS) with their Attorneys regarding a potential settlement agreement with the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority (FM DA), the Richland/Wilkin Joint Powers Authority, and the Cities of Wolverton and Comstock. The BSTS is an adjunct document to a more comprehensive future Mutual Settlement Agreement and is binding and fully enforceable. The question the Board considered was whether to continue the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Permit Contested Case and the DA permit denial lawsuit, or to consider the proposed settlement and reconsider the permit denial with consideration of the provisions suggested in the settlement agreement. All the parties listed above, with the exception of the BRRWD, had already signed the proposed BSTS, which would only go into effect if the BRRWD agreed to reconsider and grant the DA’s permit and sign the document. BRRWD Attorneys Brent Edison, Vogel Law Firm, and Joel Fremstad, Fremstad Law Firm, provided an in depth review of the BSTS. Attorney Fremstad pointed out the Agreement would protect the BRRWD from future litigation from the other parties regarding these issues and would make sure that the conditions that were placed on the DA’s BRRWD permit application prior to denial and the list of reasons for permit denial were adequately addressed now, justifying an approval. Adequate flood mitigation funding for Georgetown, Wolverton, Christine, Comstock, and Holy Cross Township were included in the Agreement to satisfy concerns raised when the initial DA permit application was denied. The parties to litigation proposed terms to address the BRRWD’s concerns regarding the Contested Case and the reasons for permit denial, and to enhance some of the prior permit conditions. Attorney Edison explained that the DA had addressed the BRRWD concerns in good faith and had made significant concessions. After review, the Board of Managers unanimously approved a motion to issue Permit No. 19-003 for the DA’s Plan B Diversion project and to adopt the BSTS to resolve the permit denial case and the contested case.

Other Business included:

• Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,850,159.33. Income since the 10/13/20 meeting was $50,000. Total income this year is $4,277,936.77. The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $465,819.00.

• Approved permits to Justin Phillips to install a field approach and a 18″ dia. culvert on the south side of the SE¼, Section 27, Tanberg Township, Wilkin County, to gain access to the field from Wilkin County Road No. 26, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way; Eric Skolness/Farmers National Company to clean two ditches to their original grade in the SE¼, Section 22, Alliance Township, Clay County, with downstream landowner approval; and Allen Korinek for a ditch repair in the NE¼, Section 14, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, along Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 6A to improve drainage and to slope the land to drain north instead of south with a 24″ dia. inlet pipe into C.D. No. 6A.

• Authorized a letter to a landowner in Section 13, Audubon Township, Becker County, with a list of corrective actions he will need to complete in order to correct the area drainage to comply with BRRWD Rules and to address his neighbors’ concerns. The Board scheduled a hearing on 11/9/20 at 7:30 PM during their regular meeting to discuss issues related to the drainage violations.

• Approved Pay Request No. 1 to Gladen Construction, Inc. for $385,306.31 for work completed on Phase 2 construction on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. The contractor has approximately one-third of the Phase 2 work completed.

• Approved repairs for Wilkin C.D. No. 6A in Nordick and Meadows Townships for approximately $10,000 for materials and labor.

• Authorized signature of a cost-share agreement with the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for the use of excess Otter Tail SWCD Buffer initiative Aid funds for buffer installations on Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 10, 12, and 59.

• Authorized the expansion of the proposed Gruenberg drainage project in Sections 15, 22, 27, and 34, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, to extend the proposed natural waterway cleanout upstream approximately 3 miles in response to upstream landowners’ requests.

• Approved a potential 40% match for additional 319 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency grant funds for sediment reduction work on the Upper Buffalo River to install additional Best Management Practices, including grade stabilizations, water and sediment control basins, and a restoration on the Buffalo River close to Callaway near the Becker C.D. No. 21 outlet.

• Authorized signature of a Delineation Concurrence Request for a wetland determination as part of the permitting process for the South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration project in Wilkin County.

• Approved a supplement to the current 2020-2021 Houston Engineering, Inc. contract to add two new employees to the Barnesville BRRWD office staff. The new BRRWD Administrator will start work on 11/23/20, and a second person will join the Barnesville staff on 12/14/20 to fill a newly created Watershed Specialist position.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, November 9, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the meeting will be conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated Section 13D.021. The conference line information is: 1-701-404-1699. Conference ID: 365 708 012#. If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect. More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

Notice of Special BRRWD Meeting

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING

A special meeting of the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2020, at 8:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN  56514. The sole item on the agenda will be attorney consultations and discussions regarding (1) the DNR contested case, and (2) the appeal of BRRWD’s denial of the F-M Diversion Board of Authority’s application for a permit; accordingly, it is expected that the attorney consultations portion of the meeting will be closed as permitted by the attorney-client privilege (M.S.A. Section 13D.05, subdivision 3(b)).

 

Dated this 19th day of October, 2020.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson                          

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

Posted 10/19/20

 

One Watershed, One Plan Nearing Completion

At their regular meeting held on October 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed the status of our One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P).  The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Northern Region Committee approved the Buffalo-Red River Watershed (BRRW) 1W1P on 10/7/20.  The full BWSR Board will meet on 10/28/20 to review and consider Plan approval.  Following BWSR’s decision, the BRRW Planning Team will meet to discuss potential watershed-based funding requests for the area.  The 1W1P Policy and Advisory Committees will meet to consider strategies for Plan implementation.  The BRRWD and local government agencies from Becker, Clay, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties collaborated to create a single watershed management plan for the BRRW.  The 1W1P will establish clear implementation timelines, milestones, and cost estimates for restoration and protection activities throughout multiple connected jurisdictions within the watershed area and create a more efficient and cooperative plan for water management. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 10/13/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $2,980,081.82.  Income received since the last meeting totals $2,578.84, and for the year, totals $4,227,936.77.  The administrative disbursements since 9/14/20 totaled $50,635.90, and the total for the year is $334,963.83.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $179,932.49. 

  • Approved permits to Kirk Watt to replace a 30″ dia. culvert with a larger culvert or an additional culvert in the NW¼, Section 31, Georgetown Township, Clay County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way and to install a 24″ dia. culvert through County Road No. 100 in the northwest corner of the SW¼, Section 31, Georgetown Township; Brian Piekarski to install random tile in low spots on his property, discharging via an existing tile project outlet in the S½, Section 22, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County, and another outlet into the County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 11 road ditch, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer and downstream landowner approval; Shawn Norman to install pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 14, Manston Township, Wilkin County, outletting to Project No. 56, Manston Slough Restoration/Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 13, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association to bore new underground lines from south to north under Clay C.D. No. 69 in the N½, Section 34, Glyndon Township, to replace overhead power lines on the south side of the ditch, subject to our standard utility disclaimer.

  • Discussed a cost-share agreement with Elkton Township regarding repairs/replacement for a Clay C.D. No. 58 crossing through 130th ST S and authorized staff to send a letter to document the agreement for the Township’s review.

  • Held an Executive Session to consult with Attorneys regarding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit contested case and Diversion Authority permit denial lawsuits.

  • Approved Change Order No. 1 from Gladen Construction, Inc. for a net contract increase of $47,446.35 for Phase 2 work on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, and reviewed the 10/3/20 project status report.

  • Authorized staff to work with the DNR Red River Fisheries to apply for a grant from the Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership program. Grants range from $10,000-$50,000 and could be used as matching grant funds to minimize local project costs. 

  • Approved Wilkin C.D. No. 26 repairs upstream of CSAH No. 3 in Section 8, Mitchell Township, estimated to cost $6,000-$8,000.

  • Authorized staff to address beaver control complaints on an “as needed” basis in response to the high level of beaver activity in the BRRWD this fall.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, October 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the meeting will be conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

NOTICE OF SPECIAL BRRWD MEETING

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING

A special meeting of the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), will be held on Monday, October 5, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN  56514. The sole item on the agenda will be attorney consultations and discussions regarding (1) the DNR contested case, and (2) the appeal of BRRWD’s denial of the F-M Diversion Board of Authority’s application for a permit; accordingly, it is expected that the meeting will be closed as permitted by the attorney-client privilege (Minn. Stat. section 13D.05, subdivision 3(b)).

Dated this 2nd day of October, 2020.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson                          

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

BRRWD Responds to Landowner Concerns

At their regular meeting held on September 28, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed a variety of landowner concerns and requests.  The first issue came from landowners in Audubon Township regarding drainage violations their neighbor has completed over the last several months.  The Board authorized staff to prepare a list of actions for the landowner to return the area drainage back to its original alignment.  The Board approved a request from the Turtle Lake Improvement Association for a cost analysis of converting the Turtle Lake Outlet project’s Long Lake siphon to a gravity outlet, including an analysis of the potential long-term operating cost savings.  In response to a request from a landowner on Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3, the Board authorized a hydraulic analysis of a low water crossing to determine an appropriate culvert replacement alternative.  The Board approved an investigation of road slope problems in Sections 15 and 17, Morken Township, on Clay C.D. No. 10.  They also authorized staff to assist Parke Township officials with a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit application and technical assistance to install a permanent tile outlet for Dewey Lake in Sections 34 and 35 on 280th ST. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $3,092,153.30.  There was no income since the 9/14/20 meeting.  Total income this year is $4,225,357.93.  The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $114,650.32.

  • Accepted the BRRWD’s 2019 Financial Audit, prepared and presented by Harold J. Rotunda, CPA.

  • Approved permits to John Thompson for a ditch improvement project on the west side of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 11 in the NE¼, Section 24, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, subject to the revised plan to stop excavation at the downstream farmstead property line; Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to develop a wetland banking site in the W½W½, Section 6, Callaway Township, Becker County, subject to providing positive grade for a diversion tile outlet; United States Fish and Wildlife Service to widen an existing approach and culvert extension for the Holland/Braton Northern Tallgrass Prairie Refuge in Section 32, Humboldt Township, Clay County; Wilkin County Highway Department to replace two existing 18″ dia. entrance pipes along the south side of CSAH No. 11 in the N½, Section 12, Mitchell Township, outletting to Wilkin C.D. No. 22-Lateral 3, with 30″ dia. culverts to establish a consistent gradeline and culvert sizing; Shane Thompson to add random tile to an existing tile system in the N½, Section 8, Barnesville Township, Clay County, outletting to the existing lift station, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Emmanuel Jerger & Sons to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 29, Atherton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via an existing main directly into the South Branch of the Buffalo River, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Selected a preferred project plan for the Army Corps of Engineers Federal Section 1135 Ecosystem Restoration feasibility study for the Otter Tail River Corridor Habitat Restoration project.

  • Authorized submittal of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet for the channel restoration phase of the Stony Creek Restoration project.

  • Authorized Acting BRRWD Administrator Erik Jones to sign the DNR grant agreement for the redesign of the Silver Lake Outlet.

  • Approved a cost-share contribution of $12,100 to Pheasants Forever to be applied toward the purchase of a tract in Section 10, Manston Township, Wilkin County, for a 320-acre Wildlife Management Area. The BRRWD will be given access to the tract to complete the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River stream restoration project and for future project maintenance. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will change their next regular meeting date to Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office in observance of the 10/12/20 Columbus Day Holiday.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated 13D.021.  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 Approves 1W1P

At their regular meeting held on September 14, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), voted to approve the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan for the Buffalo-Red River Watershed (BRRW) area.  The BRRWD is working with local government agencies from Becker, Clay, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties to create a single watershed management plan for the BRRW.  Cooperation throughout multiple connected jurisdictions within the watershed is important because water management in one county can affect the waters of all the other counties.  The 1W1P will establish clear implementation timelines, milestones, and cost estimates for restoration and protection activities within the watershed area.  Combining multiple water planning efforts into one effort 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.  An online Public Hearing was held on September 16, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office via Microsoft Teams.  Members of the public were also invited to attend in person following COVID-19 guidelines.  The 1W1P Policy Committee will consider any hearing comments and make a recommendation for bringing the Plan to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources in October for review and final approval. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 9/14/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $3,563,260.06.  The current administrative disbursements since 8/10/20 totaled $32,670.06.  The total for the year is $284,327.93.  Income received since the last meeting totals $828,755.15, and for the year, totals $4,225,357.93.  The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $471,106.76.

  • Approved permits to the Clay County Highway Department to replace and relocate a deteriorating bridge in the W½, Section 15, Elmwood Township, about 100′ west (downstream) on Stony Creek; Peter Aasness to install 120 acres of pattern tile in the NE¼, Section 11, Foxhome Township, Wilkin County, outletting through the township road via a control structure directly into County Ditch (C.D.) No. 4 to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Kirk Watt to install pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 31, Georgetown Township, Clay County, outletting north along County Road No. 100 via a lift station then west and north to the Red River, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Matt Ness to install 150 acres of pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 22, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via gravity flow directly into Wolverton Creek, pending plan modifications regarding the addition of an outlet control structure and perforated tile on downstream land, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Matt Hasbargen to install pattern tile on the W½, Section 9, Sunnyside Township, Wilkin County, outletting south via a lift station in the southwest corner of the section through County State Aid Highway No. 14, eventually to Wilkin C.D. No. 2/Otter Tail River, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Tim Thompson to regrade the north ditch of 120th AVE S in the SW¼, Section 32, Elkton Township, Clay County, to lower the two existing 18″ dia. culverts and to add a new approach/18″ dia. culvert, placed on the new ditch grade, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way; and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to restore two wetland sites on the Jed Komrosky and Barry Nelson properties in the N½, Section 20, Lake Park Township, Becker County, by filling in open ditches on the sites.

  • Agreed to accept Eide Bailly’s proposal for an analysis of the costs to transition the current staff employment to the BRRWD. Their fee to conduct the cost comparison was estimated at $15,000-$20,000. 

  • Received an update on the status of the BRRWD’s Contested Case regarding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ permit for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 2-Final for $143,197 to Key Contracting, Inc. and Change Order No. 2 for a $27,551 net increase in the contract for Clay C.D. Nos. 41, 47, and 50 repairs.

  • Approved the Final Pay Request for $25,937 to Sellin Brothers, Inc. for their work on the Wolverton Creek Restoration project. This payment reflects the release of the retainage to close out the Phase 1 contract.  Gladen Construction, Inc., Laporte, MN, started Phase 2 on 9/21/20. 

  • Approved repairs for Becker C.D. No. 21, Branch 2, through Section 3, Riceville Township, estimated to cost $15,000.

  • Manager Mark Anderson has agreed to remain on the BRRWD Board as the Clay County representative until a new person is appointed.  

  • Agreed to contribute $18,634.38 to the costs for the Buffalo River Flood Insurance Study north of Glyndon with Clay County (50/50 split).

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will change their next regular meeting date to Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office in observance of the 10/12/20 Columbus Day Holiday.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated 13D.021.  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.

 

MCAP Seminar Series

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership is hosting a discussion about the impact climate change has on agriculture in our state.  Please join us Wednesday, September 23 at 12 pm.  Registration and further details, please follow this link.  

BRRWD Sets 2021 Tax Levies

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting and 2021 Annual Budget Hearing on Monday, August 24, 2020, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. The Board approved the 2021 Administrative levy, which is capped by statute at $250,000, plus an annual administrative fee to be assessed to projects, based on a project’s account expenditures. The 2021 Insurance Levy was set at $22,000. The Survey and Data acquisition levy was set at $150,000 to be collected over the next five years. The Board also set two General Levies to be taxed in accordance with the Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3. The first 2021 general levy, which will be used for a variety of projects/programs, including contributions to the Red River Basin Commission ($25,000) and River Keepers ($55,000), conservation programs and practices, water quality monitoring, Flood Insurance Studies, and flood damage reduction/natural resource enhancement projects, was set at $727,496. The second Special Levy was set at $500,000 to raise funding for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, according to the BRRWD’s commitment to contribute up to $2 million to the project. The total 2021 General Levies total $1,649,496.

The Board also set the following 2021 project/ditch system levies, totaling $1,615,407:

Clay County
Ditch No. 2 – $20,000

Ditch No. 3 – $25,000

Ditch No. 5 – $25,000

Ditch No. 9 – $30,000

Ditch No. 10 – $50,000

Ditch No. 11 – $50,000

Ditch No. 12 – $20,000

Ditch No. 16 – $10,000

Ditch No. 17 – $5,000

Ditch No. 20 – $20,000

Ditch No. 21 – $20,000

Ditch No. 22 – $5,000

Ditch No. 23 – $20,000

Ditch No. 28 – $15,000

Ditch No. 31 – $5,000

Ditch No. 32 – $5,000

Ditch No. 33 – $10,000

Ditch No. 34 – $10,000

Ditch No. 35 – $20,000

Ditch No. 36 – $5,000

Ditch No. 39 – $30,000

Ditch No. 40 – $10,000

Ditch No. 41 – $50,000

Ditch No. 41-1 – $20,000

Ditch No. 41-2 – $10,000

Ditch No. 47 – $20,000

Ditch No. 49 – $10,000

Ditch No. 50 – $50,000

Ditch No. 51 – $15,000

Ditch No. 54 – $10,000

Ditch No. 55 – $20,000

Ditch No. 58 – $20,000

Ditch No. 59 – $10,000

Ditch No. 60 – $5,000

Ditch No. 65 – $20,000

Ditch No. 67 – $5,000

Ditch No. 68 – $5,000

Ditch No. 69 – $10,000

Becker County

Ditch No. 5 – $10,000

Ditch No. 9 – $20,000

Ditch No. 10 – $3,000

Ditch No. 15 – $15,000

Ditch No. 19 – $8,000

Ditch No. 21 – $5,000

Wilkin County

Ditch No. 1A – $10,000

Ditch No. 1B – $10,000

Ditch No. 1C – $10,000

Ditch No. 2 – $10,000

Ditch No. 3 – $40,000

Ditch No. 4 – $20,000

Ditch No. 5A – $10,000

Ditch No. 6A – $30,000

Ditch No. 12 – $10,000

Ditch No. 13 – $10,000

Ditch No. 13 – Lateral – $30,000

Ditch No. 15 – $10,000

Ditch No. 22 – $20,000

Ditch No. 23 – $20,000

Ditch No. 26 – $15,000

Ditch No. 27 – $40,000

Ditch No. 28 – $10,000

Ditch No. 31 – $10,000

Ditch No. 37 – $10,000

Ditch No. 40 – $15,000

Ditch No. 41 – $40,000

Ditch No. 42 – $10,000

Ditch No. 43 – $20,000

Ditch No. 44 – $30,000

Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 – $30,000

Projects/Ditch Systems

No. 32, Hawley Diversion – $5,000

No. 39, Georgetown Levee – $15,000

No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet – $25,000

No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation – $100,000

No. 50, Cromwell Township Outlet – $5,000

No. 54, Whisky Creek – $20,000

No. 56, Manston Slough – $20,000

No. 71, City of Moorhead – $100,000

No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration – $99,407

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,831,394.05.  Income since the 8/10/20 meeting totals $10,894.37.  Total income this year is $4,191,777.15.  The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $85,994.77.  The Board also appointed Manager Troy Larson as the new Treasurer, starting 9/1/20.

  • Approved permits to: Erik Zurn to install one Becker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) designed water and sediment control basin with surface intakes and underground outlet in the SW¼SW¼, Section 4, Hamden Township, Becker County; Kraig Nelson to install 13 Becker SWCD designed water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlets in the N½, Section 10, Audubon Township, Becker County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way; and Gary Myers to add random tile to existing water and sediment control basin tile runs in the N½NW¼, Section 33, Cuba Township, Becker County, to drain low spots via existing tile outlets to natural waterways draining to Hay Creek and eventually Stinking Lake and to clean an open ditch across his Conservation Reserve Program acreage and along two township road ditches (230th ST/130th AVE) to the natural waterway, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved repairs for Project No. 48, Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 59 for a failed field entrance crossing in Section 26, Kragnes Township, Clay County, at the outlet of C.D. No. 59 to the Buffalo River, estimated to cost $8,000 to $10,000.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 4-Final for $37,994.25 from States Borders Construction, Inc., to close out the Wilkin/Otter Tail Judicial Ditch No. 2 repairs, and Change Order No. 2 for a net increase in the contract of $3,851.

  • Authorized a survey investigation of the Nyquist Coulee channel, including culvert elevations and sediment depths in Sections 15, 21, and 22, Roberts Township, from Wilkin C.D. No. 29 to Wolverton Creek. Staff will work with the Wilkin SWCD in regard to the Minnesota Wetlands Conservation Act.

  • Approved a draft joint letter the staff prepared from the BRRWD and the Sand Hill River Watershed District formally requesting that the Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group define an associate membership category for non-Red River Watershed Management Board Watershed Districts to allow them to be represented by one delegate and one alternate delegate.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, September 14, 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 Welcomes New Manager

At their regular meeting held on August 10, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), welcomed Paul J. Krabbenhoft, who was recently appointed by the Clay County Board of Commissioners to fill out the remaining one-year of a former Manager’s three-year term.  The Commissioners reappointed Manager Gerald L. Van Amburg for another three-year term.  Manager Mark T. Anderson’s term ends 8/31/20.  The County will be appointing a new Manager to fill Anderson’s position in the next few weeks. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 8/10/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $3,131,794.07.  The current administrative disbursements since 7/13/20 totaled $37,170.62, and the total for the year is $251,657.87.  Income received since the last meeting totals $414,478.11, and for the year, totals $3,396,602.78.  They also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $311,294.34.  The BRRWD’s 2021 Annual Budget Hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM. 

  • Approved permits to Jake Barton to install pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 31, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, outletting via lift stations and control structures to County Ditch (C.D.) No. 1B; BNSF to install a new shallow ditch with a 24″ dia. inlet pipe in the NW¼, Section 12, within the City of Dilworth, outletting to Clay C.D. No. 41; Darcy Brandt to regrade the north ditch of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 2 in the SW¼, Section 23 and the SE¼, Section 22, Holy Cross Township, Clay County, and to lower two driveway culverts along CSAH No. 2 and one in 40th ST by approximately 6″, subject to township and county approval to work within their road right-of-way; and Kevin Hanson for random tile in the NE¼, Section 27, Hamden Township, Becker County, outletting to C.D. No. 15 to continue the tiling project approved under Permit No. 15-009, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved Change Order No. 6 for an increase in the contract of $16,726 and Pay Request No. 13 for $147,119.79 to Sellin Brothers, Inc. for their work on Phase 1 of the Wolverton Creek Restoration project.

  • Authorized Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) to work with the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District to provide technical assistance for three erosion sites along the Buffalo River.

  • Authorized the submission of a Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Fund grant application for work along the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River from Trunk Highway No. 9 to just north of Wilkin County Road (C.R.) No. 30. The $300,000 grant application is for the installation of inlet pipes and stream restoration along the South Branch channel, requiring a local match of 25%, or $75,000, with an 8/17/20 submission deadline. 

  • Authorized a hydraulic review for culvert repairs at three sites on Clay C.D. No. 50 in the City of Dilworth. The work will be a 2021 project and the cost estimate will be available for consideration in the 2021 ditch system budget. 

  • Authorized repair of a field approach/culverts along the Whisky Creek project alignment in Clay County. The work will include submitting a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit application for work in public waters and a hydraulic analysis.

  • Authorized a drainage survey along the west ditch of Wilkin C.R. No. 11, starting at a landowner’s driveway in the N½, Section 24, Deerhorn Township, going north through 130th ST to the Buffalo River.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, August 24, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  As part of that meeting, the annual 2021 budget hearing will begin at 8:00 PM.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated 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.

 

Whiskey Creek’s $10M Restoration

Landowners, leveraged funds and partners are the keys to Wilkin SWCD and Buffalo-Red River Watershed District’s $10 million Whiskey Creek restoration project designed to produce clean-water and wildlife habitat benefits, and fix drainage problems. Funding includes an NRCS National Water Quality Initiative award, Clean Water Funds from BWSR, and an MPCA watershed pilot project award.

Read the story here.

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.

 

BRRWD Discusses Diversion Lawsuits

At their regular meeting held on June 22, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), received an update from Attorney Brent Edison, Vogel Law Firm, regarding the two lawsuits the BRRWD is currently engaged in regarding the F-M Diversion project.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Diversion Authority (DA) Permit Contested Case hearing concluded on 6/17/20 after 8 days of video testimony.  The Judge would like to render a decision by 7/29/20.  The Judge for the DA permit denial appeal might delay his decision until after the Contested Case has been settled.

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $1,523,434.09.  Income since the 6/8/20 meeting totals $121,091.08.  Total income this year is $1,075,948.84.  The Board approved payment of the bills totaling $139,445.86.

  • Approved permits to Michael Steiner to install a new tile line in the NW¼, Section 3, Andrea Township, Wilkin County, outletting via a lift station on the south end of his field to a natural waterway, subject to the BRRWD’s standard tiling disclaimer; Pheasants Forever (PF) to restore 15 wetlands in the S½, Section 22, Highland Grove Township, Clay County, using scrapers to remove sediment and removing or crushing existing tile; PF to restore one wetland in the NW¼, Section 28, Tansem Township, Clay County, on United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) property by constructing a ditch plug with a rock spillway; Archie Tanner to widen an existing field approach in the SW¼NE¼, Section 17, Riverton Township, Clay County, and to extend the existing 30″ dia. approach culvert to reach a 40′ total length; and Donovan Marquardt to install a new field approach and 18″ dia. culvert in the SE¼, Section 16, Akron Township, Wilkin County, along County Road (C.R.) No. 20.

  • Authorized BRRWD Engineer Erik S. Jones, Houston Engineering, Inc., to assist landowners in Section 28, Spring Prairie Township, Clay County, to obtain a Minnesota Department of Transportation permit to work in their road right-of-way to clean a stretch of the east Trunk Highway No. 9 road ditch along the west section line to improve drainage to the Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 2 system outlet.

  • Approved Change Order No. 1 in the amount of $56,982 for Key Contracting, Inc. for the 2020 channel liner repair on Clay C.D. No. 41 at 28th ST and 2nd AVE N for additional concrete between the ramps and the existing channel walls as well as repair of a slope failure along 28th The Cities of Moorhead and Dilworth ultimately pay for the repairs as ditch system expenses. 

  • Approved repairs for the failing outlet structure on Jay Lake Dam on Becker C.D. No. 5 in Section 28, Audubon Township, estimated to cost $10,000 to $12,000.

  • Approved a replacement of the bridge crossing on Clay C.D. No. 11N along C.R. No. 8 in the N½, Section 33, Kurtz Township. The crossing replacement is estimated to cost $15,000 to $20,000. 

  • Authorized Jones to work with the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District regarding landowner concerns about erosion along the Buffalo River in Section 28, Moland Township, and Section 33, Highland Grove Township, east of Hawley.

  • Authorized Kathleen K. Fenger, BRRWD Interim Administrator, to sign contracts with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) for their purchase of 20 BRRWD wetland mitigation banking credits for a road replacement project in Otter Tail County. The BRRWD will receive $784,280 for the sale and still retains about 30 credits in our wetland bank. 

  • Authorized the removal of old beaver dams along Becker C.D. No. 15 in Section 3, Audubon Township, on USFWS property.

  • Approved the replacement of a damaged inlet culvert in the northeast corner of Section 23, Morken Township, Clay County, and a damaged 24″ dia. inlet/flapgate along C.D. No. 10 in Section 21, Flowing Township. The opinion of probable cost for these repairs is $5,000-$6,000 for materials, equipment, and labor.

  • Approved a resolution requesting BWSR to extend the expiration date (6/23/20) of our current Revised Watershed Management Plan until March 2021 when the BRRWD’s One Watershed, One Plan should be completed.

  • Noted that the Becker C.D. No. 15/Hamden Slough Restoration structure repairs hearing is scheduled for July 16, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office with teleconference options in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols. Alternative contact options will also be available to landowners who wish to submit comments but are not comfortable with attending in person or online: email, telephone, or a mail-in comment form provided in the hearing notice packet.  Landowner notices were sent this week.  The hearing notice includes a request for an RSVP if landowners plan to attend the meeting in person. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, July 13, 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.

 

BRRWD Elects New Board Officers

At their regular meeting held on June 8, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), elected Vice President Peter V. Fjestad as Acting BRRWD President and Manager Catherine L. Affield as Acting Vice President.  The officer reorganization was in response to the removal of former BRRWD President Jay A. Leitch by the Clay County Board of Commissioners on 5/26/20.  The Managers agreed to designate the positions as “Acting” officers until Clay County makes new Board appointments.  The terms for the two remaining Clay County Managers, Gerald L. Van Amburg and Mark T. Anderson, will expire on 8/31/20.  The County is currently advertising for the positions for two Managers for three-year terms and one Manager for a one-year term.  Interviews will take place at the 7/21/20 Board of Commissioners meeting with appointments/reappointments to be made at their 7/28/20 meeting. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the 6/8/20 financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand was $1,978,790.72.  Income received since the 5/11/20 meeting totaled $625,936.70 and for the year, was $954,857.76.  The current administrative disbursements since 5/11/20 totaled $34,810.30, and the total for the year is $185,419.33.  They approved payment of the bills totaling $576,447.71.

  • Appointed Manager Anderson to fill the BRRWD’s position on the Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement Committee.

  • Approved permits to Dennis Aksamit to install 158 acres of pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 27, Akron Township, Wilkin County, outletting to Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3 to which the property is assessed, subject to the standard tiling disclaimer; Wilkin County Highway Department to replace an existing wooden bridge in the NE¼, Section 35, Akron Township, with a 12′ x 6′ reinforced concrete box culvert (RCB); Don Yaggie to tile the NE¼, Section 22, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, in conjunction with tiling Permit No. 20-022, subject to the standard tiling disclaimer; Todd Andresen/Becker Soil and Water Conservation District to install Natural Resources Conservation Service designed water and sediment control basins in the NE¼, Section 23, and the NW¼, Section 24, Hamden Township, Becker County, with surface intakes and underground outlet, including a culvert change in the township road, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Wilkin County Highway Department to replace an existing bridge on C.D. No. 3 in the NE¼, Section 31, Akron Township, with a 12′ x 6′ RCB; Tyson Trosvik to install a perforated 12″ dia. main tile line in the NE¼, Section 1, Tanberg Township, Wilkin County, to provide an improved outlet for existing tile in Section 6, Trondhjem Township, Otter Tail County; Bill Riestenberg to replace a deteriorated culvert in the NE¼, Section 33, Oscar Township, Otter Tail County, sized to match the new 15″ dia. upstream culvert the Township recently installed, plus the addition of random tile lines to existing tile in Sections 29, 33, and 34, Oscar Township; and Luther Blilie to install a field entrance off County Road No. 30 in the NE¼, Section 34, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, with an 18″ dia. corrugated metal pipe sized to match the adjacent culverts, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 1 in the amount of $91,836 from Key Contracting, Inc. for their work on the Clay C.D. Nos. 41, 47, and 50 channel liner repairs.

  • Authorized a DNR Permit amendment to remove the fish barrier on a waterbody on private property in Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, associated with the Manston Slough project. The Board also authorized a survey to develop a plan for the Project Management Team’s review to find options to improve connections to various wetland basins on DNR property associated with the project and to improve water level management. 

  • Approved Final Pay Request No. 6 and Change Order No. 2 from Dennis Drewes, Inc. in the amount of $25,457.88 to close out the Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1 construction contract.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 11 from Sellin Brothers, Inc. for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, Phase 1, construction in the amount of $191,956.81 and authorized signature of the Phase 2 construction contract with Gladen Construction, Inc., LaPorte, MN.

  • Authorized signature of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Targeted Watershed grant extension for the Wolverton Creek Restoration project to 12/31/2021.

  • Authorized Interim Administrator Kathleen K. Fenger to sign the BWSR Reinvest In Minnesota easement documents on behalf of the BRRWD for a parcel in Section 10 of Wolverton Township.

  • Approved an extension of States Borders Construction, Inc. contract deadline for the Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 repairs until 7/15/20.

  • Approved the 2020-2021 Barnesville High School River Watch water quality monitoring budget in the amount of $5,553.80.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we plan to 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.

BRRWD Considers Reorganization

At their regular meeting held on May 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed the Clay County Board of Commissioners’ action to remove BRRWD President Jay Leitch for cause from the BRRWD Board of Managers, effective immediately.  The Board discussed their options for reorganization and agreed to revisit the issue at their 6/8/20 meeting. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status: Cash on hand is $1,631,272.50.  Income received since the 5/11/20 meeting totaled $121,289, and total income this year is $450,210.06.  The Board also approved the payment of bills, totaling $157,129.48. 

  • Approved permits to Bob Leiseth to replace damaged and undersized culverts in the SE¼, Section 17, Alliance Township, Clay County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Myron Ehlert to add a new field approach with an 18″ dia. culvert in the NE¼, Section 19, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, off County Road No. 18, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W; Jeff Lavigne to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 25, Elkton Township, Clay County, outletting to Spring Creek and the township road ditch, plus the installation of two approach culverts off the township road, which he also plans to clean; Pheasants Forever to restore one drained wetland basin in the NE¼, Section 14, Eglon Township, Clay County, by removing sediment and constructing a ditch plug with a rock armored spillway; Brian Piekarski to install a single line of 6″ dia. tile, 0.25 miles long, to connect low areas in his field to an existing tile project in the NW¼, Section 27, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County, outletting via the existing outlet; Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Public Schools for school building additions and remodeling in Dilworth and Glyndon; and Michael Hasbargen to install pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 22, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County, outletting south into County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3-Branch 3 to which it is assessed.

  • Approved a cost share agreement for $1,006.12 with the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for two shoreland restoration projects on Turtle Lake, as a project expense.

  • Approved an amendment to the Audubon Dakota/Oakport Flood Mitigation project Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to add two habitat restoration sites and to extend the enhancement period.

  • Approved the finalized Change Order No. 4 in the amount of $180,773.33 to extend the Wolverton Creek Restoration Phase 1 work downstream approximately 0.5 miles through Section 22, Holy Cross Township, Clay County.

  • Authorized BRRWD Engineer Erik Jones, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), to submit the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) funding application for a proposed project to establish a corridor for a future river restoration project on the Otter Tail River. The BRRWD is partnering with the Wilkin SWCD and Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to secure voluntary conservation easements along the Otter Tail River by using LSOHC funding.  The total funding request is for $4.5 million.

  • Authorized beaver control for Whiskey Creek in Wilkin County and the Buffalo River in Becker County.

  • Approved repairs for two field inlet culverts with damaged flapgates in Sections 14 and 16, Kurtz Township, Clay County, estimated to cost $2,000-$2,500, as a Clay C.D. No. 33 ditch system expense.

  • Approved a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research internship request for Kerria Burns to work with the BRRWD’s water quality monitoring program to analyze existing data and also participate in field data collection. The internship is fully funded by NSF funds.  The Board approved an MOU from the University of Vermont, and agreed to provide an offer letter for Burns, as her sponsoring organization.  Manager Van Amburg will be her onsite supervisor. 

  • Approved Clay County request to award a contract with Dennis Drewes, Inc. for their low bid of $209,710 for culvert replacements along Clay C.D. Nos. 9 and 11. The Engineer’s estimate was $504,126.  The BRRWD has entered into a MOU with the Highway Department to complete these repairs.

  • Authorized HEI to conduct a survey related to a drainage violation in Section 16, Riverton Township, Clay County.

  • Authorized the HR Committee to hire a consultant to analyze the potential cost savings of transitioning the three current HEI office staff members to BRRWD employees and to obtain a legal opinion evaluating whether the current office staffing structure creates a conflict of interest.

  • Approved providing a letter of support for Audubon Dakota’s LSOHC grant application to purchase and restore approximately 70 acres of habitat in the Bluestem area in South Moorhead north of the BRRWD’s 50th AVE project and to act as fiscal agent/land purchaser for the grant application.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we plan to 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.

BRRWD Awards Construction Contract

At their regular meeting held on May 11, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), awarded the Wolverton Creek Restoration Phase 2 construction contract to Gladen Construction, Laporte, MN, with their bid of $864,833.  The Engineer’s estimate was $1,227,599.  The Phase 2 earthwork is to be completed by 6/30/21 with the seeding to be completed by 7/20/21.  Sellin Brothers, Inc. is working on Phase 1 construction.  The Board extended their contract deadline last fall until 6/22/20. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 5/11/20 financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $1,719,012.53.  Administrative disbursements since the 4/13/20 meeting equal $33,800.02, and for the year, total $150,609.03.  Total income this year is $328,921.06.  Income received since the 4/13/20 meeting totaled $38,990.78.  The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $209,029.03.  The Board also approved a motion to remove former Administrator Bruce E. Albright as a Midwest Bank signatory. 

  • Approved a permit to Shaun Thomssen to clean the south township road ditch in the NW¼NW¼, Section 26, Elkton Township, Clay County, to the original elevation to improve drainage, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W).

  • Authorized signature and distribution of the Whiskey Creek Restoration project Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and to publish the EAW availability notice with a 30 day comment period.

  • Approved repairs for Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3, estimated to cost approximately $3,000 to $4,000.

  • Approved repairs for Clay C.D. Nos. 9, 11, and 40. The estimated cost for C.D. No. 9 is $4,500-$5,500; C.D. No. 11 is $1,500-$2,500; and C.D. No. 40 is $2,500-$3,500.  The work will consist of cleaning sediment away from the outlet ends of field side inlets. 

  • Approved a request from the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for up to $8,000 in BRRWD Engineer Erik Jones’ time to provide technical assistance for a streambank erosion problem property in Section 36, Moland Township. The BRRWD has technical assistance funding set aside in their 2020 budget, and last year, during the application process for the CWF grant, the Board approved up to $41,400 in technical assistance and design funding.

  • Approved repairs for Project No. 16, Stinking Lake, for a field crossing washout over Hay Creek downstream of Stinking Lake. There is also a washout on an access trail adjacent to the Lake that was installed as part of the project where the culverts have failed and washed out.  This repair will require a new culvert and clay fill.  The estimated cost for both repairs is $4,500-$5,500.

  • Received a report from the HR Committee regarding the potential transition of the three current HEI office staff members to BRRWD employees. The Committee plans to meet with representatives from the BRRWD Advisory Committee and County Commissioners to solicit input before making recommendations to the Board at the 5/26/20 meeting. 

  • Approved a motion to remove easement option payments from the bill list for two landowners impacted by the Stony Creek Water Resource Comprehensive Management Project and to slow down project development.

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, will hold their next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we are going to 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 701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Approves Wilkin Ditch Repairs

At their regular meeting held on April 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed an alternative repair proposal to clean both branches of Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 27 (310th AVE and 320th AVE), to establish the buffers, as mandated by the 2015 State Buffer Rule, and to work with the landowners to install field inlets where needed.  After two informational meetings, it became apparent the ditch system landowners were not in favor of a more extensive ditch retrofit for the east branch along Wilkin County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 19.  A traditional ditch repair with installation of side inlet pipes will be completed instead.  This alternative will allow the use of some Wilkin and Otter Tail County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) grant funding to reduce the local share.  The right-of-way is staked, and the County plans to start the work in July. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 4/13/20 financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,172,724.47.  Administrative disbursements since the 3/09/20 meeting equal $41,601.18, and for the year, total $116,809.01.  Total income this year is $289,930.28.  Income received since the 3/09/20 meeting totaled $12,303.18, including a payment from the Red River Watershed Management Board for Mediation Project Team expenses ($8,542.75).  The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for March interest ($3,535.43), and Houston Engineering, Inc. for their monthly office rent ($225).  They also received an update of the BRRWD’s financial status as of 4/27/20.  Cash on hand is $2,154,663.62.  Total income is $290,039.19.  Income since the 4/13/20 meeting totals $108.91 from Otter Tail County for delinquent property taxes.  The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $484,532.97.

  • Harold Rotunda, CPA, is working on the 2019 audit and plans to forward the draft for review at the 5/11/20 meeting.  The Board also approved a motion acknowledging the financial records are all up to date, and former BRRWD Administrator Albright’s responsibility for the financials ends as of the 4/27/20 meeting. 

  • Approved permits to the City of Moorhead for the excavation and stabilization for a regional storm water pond in the NE¼, Section 16, Moorhead Township, Clay County; Bruce Yaggie to install 149 acres of pattern tile in Section 12, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, plus an additional 153 acres of future tile in Section 1, Nordick Township, with a main crossing 230th ST; Aron Kassenborg to install 103 acres of pattern tile in the E½, Section 6, Moland Township, Clay County, outletting to the Buffalo River; Lowell Seidler to install pattern tile in parts of Sections 8 and 9, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, to gravity flow south to Wilkin C.D. No. 6A; Thomas Friederichs to install an approach and 30″ dia. culvert off County Road (C.R.) No. 25 in the W½NW¼, Section 21, Humboldt Township, Clay County; Tom Jennen to install side water inlets where open ditches now enter Wilkin/Otter Tail County Judicial Ditch No. 2 in the W½, Section 19, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County; Thomas Radig to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 22, Nordick Township, Wilkin County; Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley to install 20 acres of pattern tile with a lift station outletting to the east C.R. No. 95 road ditch in the SW¼, Section 11, Oakport Township, Clay County; Brent Halverson to move the dry approach in the southeast corner of their property to the west about 50′-100′ in the E½, Section 26, Barnesville Township, off C.R. No. 51, to provide access to a new home construction site; and the Wilkin County Highway Department to remove the existing 30″ dia. centerline corrugated metal pipe culvert/flapgate into Wilkin C.D. No. 1B in the NW¼, Section 4, Nilsen Township, in CSAH No. 18 and to replace it with a same sized reinforced concrete pipe with a gate on the north end.

  • Approved Change Order No. 4 in the amount of $180,494.19 to extend the Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, Phase 1 work for one mile downstream through Section 22, Holy Cross Township, subject to the acquisition of a temporary easement from the landowner. The Board also approved making up the difference between the Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) payments and the agreed upon easement payments for two Phase 2 landowners who don’t qualify for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program because their land is already enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. 

  • Authorized Staff to send a formal letter to the RIM easement department requesting to partner with them on the use of the RIM reserve outside request easement policy regarding a proposal for the BRRWD to work with the Wilkin SWCD and Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to obtain conservation easements along the Otter Tail River. The easements will be used to establish a corridor for a future river restoration project on the Otter Tail River using Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council funding.  The Board also approved adding a possible incentive payment up to 20% to match actual land values for the conservation easement acquisitions, subject to future adjustment based on actual funding allocation with the local cost share source yet to be identified. 

  • Accepted an estimate of $22,000 from the Minnesota State University-Moorhead Archaeological Department to conduct a Whiskey Creek channel cultural review in association with the Whiskey Creek Restoration project.

  • Approved a purchase offer to sell up to 20 wetland mitigation banking credits to BWSR for their Local Government Road Wetland Replacement Program.

  • Approved the 2020 International Water Institute water quality monitoring contract for their work at various monitoring sites within the BRRWD, as designated in our current Revised Watershed Management Plan and also for the BRRWD’s Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Surface Water Assessment Grant.

  • Recognized Kathleen Fenger as the Interim BRRWD Administrator, starting 5/1/20.

The BRRWD Board of Managers will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, May 11, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we are going to 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 701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org

 

BRRWD Administrator Albright Retires

At their regular meeting held on March 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), received news that long-time BRRWD Administrator Bruce E. Albright will retire on 5/1/20.  On March 10, 1980, the BRRWD approved a proposal from then District Engineer Robert Muscha, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), for HEI to provide staff for the watershed office.  Albright assumed the Administrator position on May 12, 1980.  Over his 40-year career, Albright was known locally and state-wide for his skilled leadership and water management expertise.  The Board has assigned Assistant Administrator Kathleen Fenger to the position of Interim BRRWD Administrator until they have determined HEI’s future role in staffing the BRRWD Barnesville office.

Business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,206,610.70.  Total income this year is $286,169.85.  Income since the 3/09/20 meeting totals $8,542.75 from the Red River Watershed Management Board for Mediation Project Team expenses.  The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $37,646.66.

  • Discussed the response from the Minnesota Data Practices Office regarding Clay County’s Open Meeting Law violation concerns, which was that “there would not be an Open Meeting Law violation when a Board goes into closed session even though it did not include a closed session on its meeting agenda.”

  • Approved a request from the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District for a $25,000 contribution to their Cover Crop Incentive Program.

  • Discussed the BRRWD’s COVID-19 Action Plan. The Board agreed to cancel the 4/13/20 meeting and postpone the recently scheduled project and ditch system meetings and hearings until further notice.

  • Approved permits to the City of Moorhead to decommission a sanitary lift station in the Regal Estates mobile home park and relocate a new lift station to the north in the SE¼, Section 4, Moorhead Township, Clay County, and Four Hills Farm to install a Natural Resources Conservation Service designed grade stabilization project in the SW¼, Section 2, Humboldt Township, Clay County.

  • Approved signature of a $1.5 million Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant agreement for the stream restoration component of the Stony Creek Restoration Project and to authorize HEI to move forward with the project’s Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and permitting process.

  • Discussed an application for grant funding for a potential project to establish a corridor for a future habitat restoration project on the Otter Tail River using Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) funding. LSOHC funding would be used to acquire voluntary conservation easements along the river channel corridor for a future project. Easements would be acquired through the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and its Reinvest In Minnesota easement program.

  • Discussed repair options and cost estimates for proposed repair of Wilkin County Ditch No. 27. The new information will be forwarded to the ditch system landowners for their review and comment.

  • Requested a formal proposal from Moorhead State University-Moorhead Archaeological Department for a cultural review of the Whiskey Creek channel, which will be required for the EAW and the DNR permit application for the proposed channel restoration project.

  • Authorized HEI to contact the landowners on several Wilkin County ditch systems regarding the staking and seeding of approximately 40-50 acres of buffers that are out of compliance with the 2015 State Buffer Law. The letter will include an advisory that if the buffers are disturbed again, the landowners will be held responsible for reseeding costs.

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, April 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we are going to 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 701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Awards Contract

At their regular meeting held on March 9, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), awarded the contract to repair the Clay County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 41, 47, and 50 concrete liners to Key Contracting, Inc., West Fargo, for their bid of $159,100. The Engineer’s estimated project cost was $190,000. The concrete ditch liners were constructed in the 1990s in Moorhead and Dilworth with the assistance of the Economic Development Administration.

Business included:

• Approved the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,403,892.07. Administrative disbursements this month equal $21,457.70 and for the year, total $75,207.83. 2020 Accounts Receivable total $6,738,798. Total income this year is $277,627.10. Income received since the 2/10/20 meeting totaled $12,915.69, including a Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River-Phase 1 grant payment from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council ($5,333.25), a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Upper Buffalo River 319 Grant Payment ($579.80), and a contribution from Hamden Township for the Becker C.D. No. 15-Branch 7 repair ($2,500). The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for February interest ($4,228.85), a refund from Premium Waters, Inc. ($48.79), and Houston Engineering, Inc. for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $205,824.12.

• Discussed the Clay County Board of Commissioners’ concerns about the process used to hire an expert witness for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) contested case proceeding. County Commissioners Jenny Mongeau and Kevin Campbell voiced the County’s concern about the Board’s lack of transparency regarding the expert witness hiring and payment. They also discussed potential BRRWD Open Meeting Law violations.

• Appointed BRRWD President Jay Leitch to be the designated signee for the DNR contested case legal documents.

• Approved a motion to enter into a 50-year monitoring easement agreement with the Minnesota Land Committee for a parcel of BRRWD buyout property associated with the Georgetown Levee project to conduct their biotic and geomorphic survey for the Diversion project. This initial monitoring will establish a baseline for biotic and geomorphic conditions for comparison to mid-construction and post-construction conditions to determine if the project caused any changes to the biotic or soil conditions. If there are changes attributable to the project, then there would be opportunities for the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) to use an adaptive management program in conjunction with a number of participating agencies. The COE plans to start the first round of monitoring in May. The Board also approved a motion to send a letter encouraging the Wilkin County landowners within the BRRWD’s jurisdiction to sign voluntary rights-of-entry easement agreements with the Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement to obtain 2-year monitoring easements for the biotic and geomorphic survey.

• Approved permits to Larry Wiertzema to lower an existing driveway culvert to grade along 280th AVE in the S½SE¼, Section 24, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W).

• Received an update regarding the status of the Stony Creek Restoration project easement option acquisitions. All but two options have now been forwarded to the landowners for signature.

• Received an update regarding the status of the Wolverton Creek Restoration project Phase 2 easement acquisitions. About two-thirds of the easements are in place with only three landowners left to finalize their easements. Plans are to open bids in late April or May.

• Noted that the Wilkin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) held a landowner informational meeting on 3/6/20 to discuss the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) grant program. In order to access the potential NWQI funding (estimated $2.9 million) to defray local project costs, landowners can work with Craig Lingen, SWCD, and John Quast, NRCS to implement conservation practices on their private land through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

• Accepted the Wilkin C.D. No. 6A Viewers’ Report for the Redetermination of Benefits proceeding. The Viewers based their benefit rates on a percentage of the county’s Estimated Market Value for the land with benefits, totaling approximately $6 million, which also includes the City of Rothsay. Following the Board’s acceptance of the Report, a redetermination of benefits hearing notice will be published in the Wahpeton Daily News. The redetermination hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office. An informational meeting/open house is also tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 2, 2020, for the landowners to meet with the Viewers to ask questions.

• Approved an Order to move forward with the acquisition of R/W for Clay C.D. Nos. 20, 22, 23, 28, and 51 buffer installation in accordance with the 2015 State Buffer Rule. A second Order was also approved to remove approximately 150 acres from the benefit area of C.D. No. 28.

• Approved signing a revised cost-share agreement for the 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.
• Approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Clay County Highway Department to replace culverts on Clay C.D. Nos. 11N and 9, south of Moorhead.

• Authorized Jeff Nichol, William Nichol Excavating, Inc., to remove a logjam along the South Branch of the Buffalo River just west of the City of Glyndon for his quote of $3,938.

• Approved a new technical service contract with Marco Technologies for our M-Files data management program.

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office. Due to the Coronavirus or COVID-19, we are going to hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statute, Section 13D.021. The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 701-499-9476. Access Code 2503. Conference PIN 1401. We thank you for your understanding during these difficult times and look forward to returning to our regular meeting format as soon as conditions allow. More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

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.

BRRWD Advances Whiskey Creek Project

At their regular meeting held on January 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), approved a proposal to advance the development of the Whiskey Creek Restoration Project near Kent, MN, following Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.605, Project Constructed with Government Aid or as Part of Plan. According to this statute, if the project is paid for in whole or in part by the state or federal government, the BRRWD doesn’t need to hold a preliminary resolution hearing, which will speed up the development process. Last year, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District received a $320,000 Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Fund grant for field inlet installations along the Whiskey Creek channel. The proposed project was also awarded a 319 Small Watershed Grant last year from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which could provide approximately $250,000 every four years for up to four funding cycles. The Natural Resources Conservation Service also is considering a National Water Quality Initiative grant program for the Whiskey Creek watershed ($2 million). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also has the project on their stream restoration list ($5.3 million). The next steps for project development could include submitting the DNR permit application, completing the Environmental Assessment Worksheet process, establishing a watershed management district to provide a local funding source, complete easement drawings/exhibits, developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the agencies involved in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, scheduling a final hearing, starting the landowner easement acquisition process, and finally, advertising for phased construction bids with work potentially beginning in August 2020. 

Other business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,592,279.77. Total income this year is $238,383.91. Income since the 1/13/20 meeting totals $33,001.09, including delinquent county property/ditch tax payments from Becker ($2,712.09), Otter Tail ($1,734.26), and Wilkin ($9,401.72); Buffer Initiative Aid payment from Becker County ($15,007); and $1,000 from the North Dakota State University Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant program. The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $40,347.20. 

  • Approved permits to Scott Anderson to lower culverts and clean the north ditch of 200th ST S along the Clay/Wilkin County line in Section 32, Humboldt Township, subject to conditions set by the downstream landowner and the Township’s permission to work within their road right-of-way; the Clay County Highway Department to remove existing bituminous pavement on County Road (C.R.) No.  1, grade the road to new elevations and specifications, and install a gravel surface in Sections 6 and 7, Oakport Township; City of Moorhead to mill and overlay 12th AVE S from 4th ST S to 20th ST S in Section 16, Moorhead Township, replace existing drainage structures as needed, and reconstruct 12th AVE S from 20th ST S to Main AVE SE with catch basins and storm pipes; Shawn Norman to pattern tile 310 acres in the SE¼ and the SW¼, Section 15, Manston Township, Wilkin County, outletting via an existing tile system to Project No. 56, Manston Slough; and the Clay County Highway Department to replace an existing bridge in the NE¼, Section 19, Barnesville Township, in C.R. No. 21 over County Ditch (C.D.) No. 34 with two lines of 14′ x 8′ reinforced box culvert with end sections and minor grading. 

  • Approved a 50/50 cost share proposal from Clay County for County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 18 drainage improvements in the SE¼, Section 27, Oakport Township, estimated to cost between $70,000-$80,000. The Highway Department expects to handle most of the ditch work and conduct the bidding process. 

  • Approved a proposal to clear brush and small trees on Whiskey Creek from the west line of Section 14, Connelly Township, Wilkin County, east to the C.D. Nos. 1C/34 outlet. JBX LLC submitted a quote of $6,075 for the maintenance work. The costs will be split between the two ditch systems. 

  • Approved a proposal from William Nichol Excavating, Inc. to remove dead fall and debris from Whisky Creek in Section 23, Barnesville Township, west of the City of Barnesville downstream of CSAH No. 2 along the Barnesville Rod and Gun Club property. Staff will work with the affected landowners to gain access to the work site. 

  • Discussed the details of the Houston Engineering, Inc. 2020-2022 engineering consultant contract the Board recently awarded and signed at the 1/13/20 annual meeting. 

  • Approved a $12,500 contribution to the Army Corps of Engineers for an update of the Red River Basin Feasibility Study.

  •  Noted that the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Legislative Breakfast and Day At The Capitol event is scheduled for March 18-19, 2020, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Downtown, St. Paul. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, February 10, 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.

 

 

Executive Session Notice

A special meeting including an executive session between the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), and their Attorneys regarding the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit contested case, and the BRRWD permit denial will be held on Friday, January 24, 2020, at 2:00 PM in the Vogel Law Firm office, located at 218 NP AVE, Fargo, ND 58102.

Dated this 20th day of January, 2020.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson   

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

 

BRRWD Holds Annual Meeting

On January 13, 2020, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their annual meeting at 7:00 PM in Barnesville. The Board cast a unanimous ballot to reelect the current officers to serve another term in 2020: Jay A. Leitch, President, Clay County; Peter V. Fjestad, Vice President, Otter Tail County; Mark T. Anderson, Treasurer, Clay County; John E. Hanson, Secretary, Becker County. Vogel Law Firm was appointed as the 2020 BRRWD legal consultant, and Barnesville Midwest Bank was designated as the official 2020 BRRWD depository, subject to the use of any other depositories within the District as needed throughout the year, provided they are FDIC insured. BRRWD Lobbyist Joel Carlson’s existing two-year contract expires at the end of 2020. The BRRWD published Requests For Proposals for all services in area newspapers. Two engineering companies responded: Moore Engineering, Inc. and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI). Both proposals were forwarded to the Managers prior to the meeting for review. The Board appointed HEI as the BRRWD’s engineering consultant for a two-year contract (2020-2022), including the current Barnesville administrative office staff: Bruce Albright (Administrator), Kathy Fenger (Assistant Administrator), Julie Jerger (Senior Administrative Assistant), and RaeAnn Berg (Administrative Assistant).

The Board heard from two landowners associated with Project No. 80, Stony Creek Water Resources Management Plan, regarding the status of the project and the easement option acquisitions. Both felt that the project has been delayed long enough by studies for nearly 5 years, and they asked the Board to make a decision to either move forward with the project development or drop it. After an extended discussion regarding the various design alternatives and concerns about the project’s benefit/cost ratio, the Board approved a motion on a 5 to 2 vote to move forward with the development of the Alternative 1 project design, to work with the landowners to complete the easement option acquisitions, and to start the funding search.

A landowner expressed concerns about the 12/11/19 Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement informational meeting pertaining to the Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Diversion. There was a miscommunication regarding who was invited to the meeting and what topics would be discussed. BRRWD President Jay Leitch explained that there are two separate groups of landowners with different issues. The recent meeting was held for those landowners affected by the environmental/biometric monitoring right-of-entry easement. The landowners involved with the soil boring right-of-entry eminent domain issue also attended the meeting expecting their issue to be discussed but were disappointed when their concerns were not addressed.

Other business included:

  • The Board reviewed the 12/31/19 annual financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, summary of income, and the accounts receivable report. Total 2019 income was $5,770,437.16, and administrative expenses totaled $343,507.69. The 2019 Accounts Receivable still totals $4,468,064, including delinquent taxes and ongoing grant agreements. Cash on hand at the end of the year was $2,712,837.18. The office also prepared a worksheet showing the individual account financial activities for 2019 and allocated a 1% administrative fee ($50,572.94) based on the amount of the expenses for each account over the year. After average account balances for the year are calculated, accounts with a negative average are charged interest at the rate of the Midwest Bank loan, and accounts with positive balances were allocated interest, including the 2019 bank account interest income ($58,600.68). The 2019 year-end account transfers from the Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.905, Subd. 3, account ($543,832.15) were completed for several programs/projects, some which do not have assessment areas. A final 12/31/19 balance sheet was prepared, showing the project/ditch system account balances reflecting the interest allocation/account transfers. The Board then reviewed the current 1/13/20 financial reports. Income since 1/1/20 was $205,382.82, including $171,921.32 from Clay County for 2019 ditch tax proceeds, $33,136.50 from Wilkin County for Buffer Initiative Aid, $225 from HEI for office rent, and $100 from Agassiz Valley Co-op for meeting room rental. Cash on hand is $2,918,220, and 2020 Accounts Receivable totals $5,573,684. The Board also approved payment of the bills totaling $549,515.82. 

  • Entered into Executive Session to discuss the status of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources contested case and the FM Diversion Authority’s (DA) permit denial. The Board scheduled a Special Executive Session meeting with both BRRWD Attorneys to continue discussion regarding the lawsuits on Friday, January 24, 2020, at 2:00 PM in the Vogel Law Firm office in Fargo. A motion was made and seconded to approve the FM DA’s BRRWD permit application (Permit No. 19-003). After discussion, the motion was withdrawn with the understanding that the issue will be revisited at a future Board meeting, following the upcoming special meeting. 

  • Approved permits to Otter Tail County to replace an existing bridge on County State Aid Highway No. 15 between Sections 26 and 27, Orwell Township, downstream of the Orwell Dam; Pheasants Forever to install 12 wetland restorations in Sections 11, 13, and 14, Eglon Township, Clay County, including ditch plug construction, sediment removal, and tile removal; and the Minnesota Department of Transportation for culvert improvements including pipe lining, culvert modifications, and the removal of one cattle-crossing in various state roads in Clay, Otter Tail, and Becker Counties. All permits are subject to our standard conditions and disclaimers. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 3 in the amount of $76,988 for States Borders Construction, Inc. for their work on Wilkin/Otter Tail Judicial Ditch No. 2 outlet improvement. 

  • Approved a resolution to seek an increase of the Watershed Districts’ general administrative fund levy from $250,000 to $500,000 and authorized staff to forward the document to the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD).

  •  Noted that the MAWD Legislative Breakfast and Day At The Capitol event is scheduled for March 18-19, 2020, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Downtown, St. Paul. Staff will handle reservations and registrations. Managers Hanson, Fjestad, Anderson, and Van Amburg plan to attend. 

  • Noted that the Red River Watershed Management Board Drainage Conference will be held on Monday, January 27, 2020, at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, Moorhead, and the 32nd Annual Conference of the Erosion Control Association will be held in Plymouth, MN, on January 22-23, 2020. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, January 27, 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 Receives “Project of the Year” Award

 At their regular 12/09/19 meeting, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), announced that they received the “2019 Project of the Year” award for Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation, from the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts during their Annual Meeting and Trade Show on December 4-7, 2019, in Alexandria. Following the devastating 1997 and 2001 spring floods, Oakport Township approached the BRRWD to consider a flood mitigation project to provide permanent flood protection for their residents along the Red River of the North, Oakport Coulee, and associated floodplains. In response, the BRRWD started project development in 2002, with project construction commencing in 2007. Completed in 2016, this $36 million, seven-phase project resulted in two Federal Emergency Management Agency-certified levee systems, totaling approximately five miles in length. The “East” levee was completed and certified in 2015, and the “West” levee was certified in 2018. The levee project provides flood protection to 750 acres and over 300 homes with the potential to protect approximately 200 future homes. Working cooperatively with Audubon Dakota, more than 110 acres of buyout property has been planted to native prairie on which North Dakota State University is now doing pollinator studies. Project funding sources include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ($31 million), the BRRWD ($1 million), local benefitting area ($3 million), buyout property sales ($0.75 million), and Audubon Society seeding ($0.25 million).

Other business included:

  • Met with Joel Paulsen, the new Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s (FM DA) Executive Director, to discuss the DA’s desire to establish better relations with the area landowners who will be impacted by the FM Diversion Project. The Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement held an informational meeting on 12/11/19 to discuss the environmental investigation easements with landowners who will be impacted by the soil boring and monitoring easements. The DA has agreed to pay $250/soil boring, plus any crop or property damages that occurs during the sampling/testing. 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,940,400.33. Administrative disbursements this month equal $30,956.18, and for the year, total $318,431.85. Total income this year is $5,435,902.91. Income received since the 11/12/19 meeting totaled $789,245.01, including property/ditch tax proceeds from Becker County ($87,641.43), Otter Tail County ($16,641.88), and Wilkin County ($268,573.76), and property taxes only from Clay County ($403,685.36). Other income came from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Upper Buffalo River 319 Grant ($4,926) and $2,742.90 from a Wilkin County landowner for the purchase of wetland mitigation credits from the BRRWD. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for November interest ($4,808.68) and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board also approved the payment of bills totaling $371,522.90 and authorized staff to pay incoming bills that might incur late fees before the next 1/13/20 Board meeting. 

  • Discussed possible changes to the 2020 BRRWD administrative/engineering contract with HEI. 

  • Appointed HEI as the engineer to review a petition from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for wetland modification associated with Hamden Slough/Becker County Ditch No. 15. 

  • Authorized the purchase of a new vacuum pump for the Project No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet system. 

  • Accepted William Nichol Excavating’s quote to remove a log jam on a 12th AVE S bridge on the South Branch of the Buffalo River in Glyndon Township.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 5 for Dennis Drewes, Inc. in the amount of $134,386.57 and Change Order No. 1 for a net contract change of $28,704 for Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1-Improvement. 

  • Noted that the next Mediation Project Team meeting will be held on 12/19/19 at 1:30 PM in Barnesville. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and 2020 annual meeting on Monday, January 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. The second December meeting (December 23) will not be held due to the Holidays. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.

 

December 4-7, 2019 MAWD Meeting

The Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) has scheduled their annual meeting and trade show for December 4-7, 2019, at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, Alexandria. BRRWD Managers and staff plan to attend.

12/11/19 DA Land Committee Meeting

The Diversion Authority Minnesota Land Committee has scheduled a meeting with landowners on the Minnesota side of the Red River to discuss the Diversion project environmental investigation easement on 12/11/19 at 6:00-8:00 PM in the Law Enforcement Center in Moorhead.  BRRWD Managers plan to attend.

BRRWD Approves Contract Extensions

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting on 11/25/19 at 7:00 PM in Barnesville. They approved construction contract extensions for three 2019 BRRWD projects that were delayed this fall due to wet conditions. Dennis Drewes, Inc., Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1-Improvement, and Sellin Brothers, Inc., Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, were both granted extensions until 6/22/20 to complete site cleanup and seeding next spring. States Borders Construction, Inc. was granted a contract extension until 6/8/20 to finish the topsoil leveling and seeding for the Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 outlet repair.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,379,406. Income since the 11/12/19 meeting totals $19,384.78, including $16,641.88 from Otter Tail County for 2019 property and ditch tax proceeds and $2,742.90 from Janice Getz for the purchase of wetland mitigation credits from the BRRWD. Total income this year is $4,666,042.68. The Board approved payment of bills totaling $208,865.90. 

  • Noting that the Minnesota Land Committee has scheduled a meeting with landowners on the Minnesota side of the Red River on 12/11/19 in the Law Enforcement Center in Moorhead from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM to discuss the environmental geomorphic investigations easements needed for the F-M Diversion project. The majority of the landowners have declined to sign permission forms to allow soil borings on their property. In response, the Land Committee approved a resolution to authorize the Clay County Commissioners to begin eminent domain proceedings on the 15-17 properties needed to gain entry. Some BRRWD Board members plan to attend. 

  • Approved permits to: Philip Rogers for an 18″ dia. x 40′ long culvert in an approach along County Road No. 32 in the SW¼, Section 4, Atherton Township, Wilkin County, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation for improvements for a part of Trunk Highway No. 210 in Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County, including road reconstruction, ditch repair, and culvert replacements.

  • Approved the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Reinvest In Minnesota Income Contract using Targeted Watershed grant funds in the amount of $52,600 for easement acquisition and restoration of a 10.3 acre parcel in Section 10, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, associated with the Wolverton Creek Restoration project. 

  • Authorized Erik Jones, BRRWD Engineer, to conduct a hydraulic analysis for a damaged culvert on Clay County Ditch No. 9 between Sections 5 and 6, Kurtz Township, and to collaborate with the Clay County Highway Department on the repairs. 

  • Authorized Jones to work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to prepare a grant application to fund a possible removal of the Silver Lake Outlet fish barrier dam southwest of Hawley. 

  • Noted that the 12/23/19 BRRWD Board meeting has been cancelled. 

  • Noted that the Managers and Staff will attend the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) Annual Meeting and Trade Show on December 4-7, 2019, at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, Alexandria. The Board reviewed the MAWD 2019 policy resolutions. 

  • Approved the replacement of the office Wi-Fi router and discussed possible upgrades for the Audio-Visual system in the BRRWD Boardroom. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, December 9, 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.

BRRWD Approves Pay Requests

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting on 11/12/19 at 7:00 PM in Barnesville. They approved pay requests for two of the BRRWD’s 2019 construction projects. Dennis Drewes, Inc. submitted Pay Request No. 4 in the amount of $295,700.80 for their work to date on Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1-Outlet. Drewes is still working on the J.D. No. 1 project, despite the early winter weather. Sellin Brothers, Inc. submitted Pay Request No. 10 in the amount of $41,108.87 for their work to date on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. Work on the Wolverton Creek project has stopped for the winter. Due to the wet conditions this fall, both contractors will request contract extensions from the BRRWD until next summer to allow for site clean-up and seeding.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, summary of income, and accounts receivable. Cash on hand is $2,856,880.18. Administrative disbursements this month equal $29,247.22, and for the year, total $287,475.67. Accounts Receivable currently total $4,487,447. Total income this year is $4,646,657.90. Income received since the 10/15/19 meeting totaled $140,456.58, including property/ditch tax proceeds from Otter Tail County ($8,162.31) and Wilkin County ($66,217.83), and State Market Value Agricultural Credits ($8,151.16). Other income came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative Phase 1 funding for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project in Wilkin County ($39,000). The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for October interest ($5,981.68), Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) for their monthly office rent ($225) and a $5.00 insurance refund. The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $496,858.96. 

  • Discussed the status of several ongoing miscellaneous investigations/complaints. 

  • Discussed the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) easement acquisition process with John Voz, BWSR RIM Easement Specialist, for 10.3 acres in Section 10, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, associated with the Wolverton Creek Restoration project. 

  • Discussed a landowner request for a buyout of a building site along the J.D. No. 1 in the SE¼, Section 26, Holy Cross Township, Clay County, associated with the outlet improvement project. 

  • Approved repairs for a 4 to 5 mile stretch of the downstream end of Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 40 channel, starting upstream of Trunk Highway No. 75 and ending just upstream of 40th ST in Section 26, Kurtz Township. The repair is estimated to cost between $40,000 to $50,000. 

  • Noted that States Borders Construction, Inc., has been unable to work on the ditch outlet portion of the Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 project because of the recent above normal rainfall. The contractor will be asked to submit a contract extension request prior to the 11/25/19 meeting for the Board to consider. 

  • Discussed a possible upgrade for the Audio-Visual system in the BRRWD Boardroom. 

  • Noted that the BRRWD will be publishing a Request for Proposals in the area newspapers for 2020 accounting, legal, and engineering services.

  • Authorized HEI to work with agency partners to prepare a NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program funding application for work on Clay C.D. No. 34/Whisky Creek near Barnesville for submission in July 2020. 

  • Approved a proposal from Richard Seidel to repair the office asphalt parking lot next summer for $1,500 with a 50% down payment of $750. He offered a 10% discount on the second half payment if the Board entered into a contract for his services before December 20, 2019.

  • Appointed Managers John Hanson and Mark Anderson to be delegates to the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts annual meeting in December. Manager Van Amburg was appointed to be the alternate delegate. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, November 25, 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.

 

BRRWD Hears Drainage Complaints

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting on 10/28/19 at 7:00 PM in Barnesville. Two landowners were present to discuss drainage concerns. The first landowner reported that water is backing up onto his property in Section 4, Manston Township, Wilkin County, from his neighbor’s tile outlet along 160th ST on the north line of Section 4. The tile water flows west to Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9 and then south in the east ditch for approximately 1,000′ to a centerline culvert where it crosses to the west side of the highway. Once in the west ditch, the water flows to the South Branch of the Buffalo River, just north of County Road (C.R.) No. 182. Water is backing up onto his property along the east side of T.H. No. 9 because both ditches are full of vegetation. He asked if the BRRWD could contact the neighboring landowner to have the tile pump shut off until the downstream drainage issues are addressed. The Board directed the staff to contact the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the tile owners to coordinate cleaning the T.H. No. 9 ditches to provide an adequate outlet for the tile water.

A landowner in Section 2, Riverton Township, Clay County, discussed his ongoing concerns about wet conditions on his property. He claims that a gravel pit holding pond in Section 1, Riverton Township, Clay County, is seeping and discharging water onto his downstream property. His most recent complaint was about erosion problems on the natural waterway crossing his property. This waterway also becomes blocked periodically by beaver dams, causing water to breakout onto his hayland. The gravel mining operation has a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) permit to discharge water. The landowner questioned MPCA’s permitting process regarding outlet adequacy. The Board agreed to coordinate a meeting with the landowner and a group of agency personnel on 11/1/19 to consider options to address his concerns.

The Board also received an update from Rob Sip, Executive Director, Red River Watershed Management Board (RRWMB), regarding the RRWMB activities. He presented their 2018 Annual Report, 2020 Operating and Project Budget, and Progress Indicators handout. Sip noted that they are also working on their very first Strategic Plan with a goal to have it operational by the end of December, which will include a funding strategy that would complement the Strategic Plan and the RRWMB Governing Documents and Bylaws. Sip reported on cost-saving practices the RRWMB is implementing. He added that part of their Strategic Plan is focusing on membership. Sip and a few RRWMB Board members plan to visit the BRRWD again early next year to discuss possible RRWMB membership.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,794,627.77. Income since the 10/15/19 meeting includes $39,000 from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s National Water Quality Initiative Phase 1 funding for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project in Wilkin County. Total income this year is $4,545,206.32. The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $36,677.67. 

  • Approved the payment for a Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, temporary easement and option for a parcel of land in Holy Cross Township owned by the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s Minnesota Land Committee. Regarding the Diversion permit denial and contested case, Clay County Commissioner Jenny Mongeau suggested that a meeting should be arranged to provide an opportunity for the BRRWD, the City of Moorhead, and the Clay County Commissioners to find “common ground” regarding these issues. 

  • Authorized Houston Engineering, Inc. to conduct a survey of the ditches on both sides of 140th ST S downstream of the Agassiz Valley Elevator in Section 13, Barnesville Township, Clay County, to determine the best location for the installation of a culvert(s) to move water north from the elevator site, eventually to Stony Creek. 

  • Approved a $200 payment to FM Excavating to remove a logjam on the Buffalo River in the SW¼, Section 10, Kragnes Township. 

  • Approved a repair request to clean 1.0 mile of County Ditch (C.D.) No. 59 in Section 25, Kragnes Township, Clay County, for approximately $8,500. 

  • Approved repairs for a 2.0 mile stretch of C.D. No. 11N from the Red River to 28th ST S in Sections 32 and 33, Holy Cross Township, Clay County, for approximately $10,000. 

  • Approved a hydraulic study for two culverts along C.R. No. 8 at 28th ST S and 40th ST S on C.D. No. 11N in Sections 33 and 34, Kurtz Township, Clay County. 

  • Agreed to schedule a landowner informational meeting this winter to present options for the potential upgrade of a railroad structure and ditch repair along C.D. No. 36 along 130th AVE S in Sections 8 and 9, Holy Cross Township, Clay County. 

  • Approved a repair for C.D. No. 44 in Sections 10 and 11, Manston Township, Wilkin County, including beaver dam removal, flapgate replacement, and cleaning the ditch to the original grade. A downstream landowner voiced concerns about the ditch cleanout, citing potential impacts to current flooding problems on the South Branch of the Buffalo River, which is the outlet for this ditch system. 

  • Discussed the possible addition of desktop monitors and auxiliary components for the Boardroom table. The cost estimate for the equipment and labor is approximately $5,500. Staff plans to meet with a representative from the company that installed the original system to discuss their quote for the monitors and the potential for a system upgrade. 

  • Noted that Kathy Fenger, BRRWD Assistant Administrator, attended the Clay County 4-H 2019 Awards program on 10/20/19 in Hawley where the BRRWD was presented with a “Friend of 4-H” Award for hosting the Barnesville Lego League Team for the past three years.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. The meeting date is changed in observance of Veterans’ Day. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.

 

County Boards Consider BRRWD 2020 Tax Petitions

At their meeting held on 10/15/19 at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed the Clay County Board of Commissioners’ decision not to approve two petitions for the BRRWD’s 2020 general district-wide tax levies. According to Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.905, Sub. 3, the BRRWD has the authority to levy an ad valorem tax based on a percentage of the District’s total estimated market value, initiated by petition from a political subdivision within the District to pay for projects and programs of “common benefit” to the Watershed District. For the past several years, Clay County had approved the required petitions, but this year, the Commissioners cited the BRRWD’s denial of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s permit and the Board’s contest of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Diversion permit as reasons to deny their support. Following Clay County’s decision, Managers and Staff attended the 10/15/19 Wilkin County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, where the County Board unanimously approved the BRRWD’s 2020 petitions.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, summary of income, and accounts receivable. Cash on hand is $3,232,907.52. Administrative disbursements this month equal $31,343.47, and for the year, total $258,228.45. Accounts Receivables currently total $4,579,915. Total income this year is $4,506,201.32. Income received since the 9/9/19 meeting totaled $59,953.11, including $16,546 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to close out the Otter Tail River Planning 319 grant and $1,973.17 for the Upper Buffalo River 319 grant; $33,136.50 from Wilkin County for a Buffer Initiative Aid payment, $1,383.60 from landowner payments for the Section 27, Manston Township, waterway repair. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for August interest ($6,688.84) and Houston Engineering, Inc. for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $477,284.75. 

  • Approved a request from a landowner to install a field approach/crossing off Clay County Road No. 12 on Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 9 as an emergency measure to complete his beet harvest in the N½, Section 6, Elmwood Township, Clay County. The landowner will remove the temporary crossing after beet harvest, weather permitting, and work with the BRRWD next spring to install a permanent structure at the same location.

  • Approved permits to: Hunt Electric Corporation to install four solar community gardens at various locations in Flowing and Spring Prairie Townships, including access roads and/or culverts off Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9, subject to our standard utility disclaimer, and County and State permission to work within their road Right-of-way (R/W); Wilkin County Highway Department to modify the elevation of a culvert in Foxhome and regrade a ditch to drain water east to Wilkin C.D. No. 37 along T.H. No. 210; Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District to replace an existing 18″ dia. culvert in the SW¼NW¼, Section 20, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, with a new 36″ dia. pipe to repair field erosion, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W.

  • Discussed several miscellaneous complaints and investigations throughout the District and agreed to work with the landowners to find timely solutions to their concerns as time and staff resources permit. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 3 in the amount of $132,875.55 for Dennis Drewes, Inc. for their work on Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1-Improvement. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 9 for Sellin Brothers, Inc. in the amount of $174,672.13 for their work on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration.

  • Approved a controlled burn for the Elkton Township Wetland Restoration site in 2020 when conditions allow. The site has been mowed for the past several years, but mowing isn’t an option this fall, given the wet conditions. A controlled burn operation will also address weed infestation and stimulate native grass growth. Prairie Restorations, Inc. provided a cost estimate of approximately $6,000. 

  • Agreed to schedule a second landowner informational meeting in early 2020 to review the decision to move forward with the proposed Wilkin C.D. No. 27 Retrofit project. 

  • Noted that a One Watershed, One Plan Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for 10/23/19 in Barnesville. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, October 28, 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.

 

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.

 

 

BRRWD Sets 2020 Tax Levies

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting and 2020 Annual Budget Hearing (8:00 PM) on Monday, August 26, 2019, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. The Board approved the 2020 Administrative levy, which is capped by statute at $250,000, plus an annual administrative fee to be assessed to projects, based on a project’s account expenditures ($100,000) for a total Administrative levy of $350,000. The 2020 Insurance Levy was set at $22,000. The Board also set a General Levy, to be taxed in accordance with the Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3, ad valorem tax for a general fund not to exceed 0.007298% of all taxable market value to pay the costs attributable to the basic water management features of projects initiated by petition of a political subdivision within the Watershed District. In 2020, these funds will be used for a variety of projects/programs, including the Red River Basin Commission ($25,000), River Keepers ($55,000), development and implementation of total daily maximum load analysis for water quality, log jam removal, flood insurance studies, and flood damage reduction/natural resource enhancement projects. In addition, the Board also placed a second Special Levy, associated with M.S.A. 103D.905, Subd. 3, to raise funding for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration ($500,000), according to the BRRWD’s commitment to contribute up to $2 million to the project. The total 2020 General Levy ($1,486,862) is up slightly from 2018 because of market values.

The Board also set the following 2020 project/ditch system levies:

Clay County

Ditch No. 3 – $25,000
Ditch No. 11 – $50,000
Ditch No. 16 – $35,000
Ditch No. 17 – $10,000
Ditch No. 20 – $10,000
Ditch No. 22 – $10,000
Ditch No. 23 – $20,000
Ditch No. 28 – $15,000
Ditch No. 31 – $5,000
Ditch No. 40 – $25,000
Ditch No. 55 – $25,000

Becker County

Ditch No. 5 – $10,000
Ditch No. 9 – $30,000
Ditch No. 15 – $15,000

Wilkin County

Ditch No. 4 – $20,000
Ditch No. 5A – $20,000
Ditch No. 6A – $30,000
Ditch No. 12 – $10,000
Ditch No. 13 – $20,000
Ditch No. 13-Lateral – $50,000
Ditch No. 15 – $10,000
Ditch No. 22 – $50,000
Ditch No. 23 – $20,000
Ditch No. 26 – $15,000
Ditch No. 28 – $10,000
Ditch No. 31 – $25,000
Ditch No. 40 – $15,000
Ditch No. 41 – $70,000
Ditch No. 42 – $10,000
Ditch No. 43 – $20,000
Ditch No. 44 – $30,000
Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 – $20,000

Projects/Ditch Systems

No. 32, Hawley Diversion – $5,000
No. 39, Georgetown Levee – $25,000
No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet – $25,000
No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation – $100,000
No. 50, Cromwell Township Outlet – $10,000
No. 54, Whisky Creek – $20,000
No. 56, Manston Slough – $50,000
No. 64, LaBelle/Boyer – $10,000
No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration – $99,407 

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,331,106.59. Income since the 8/12/19 meeting totals $410,838.09, including $405,705.80 from Clay County for their 1st half ditch/project 2019 tax proceeds, $1,305.00 from Ohnstad Twitchell for costs related to the Diversion Authority’s Data Practices Act request, $2,327.05 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 Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $269,366.60. 

  • Introduced RaeAnn Berg, the new Administrative Assistant, who started work on 8/19/19. 

  • Discussed downstream landowners’ concerns about the potential effects of tile drainage on a farmstead and field approach from a proposed tiling project in Section 17, Nordick Township, Wilkin County (Permit No. 19-086, Richard Yaggie). The Board approved the permit and assured the landowners the permit includes conditions restricting tile operation during high water events.

  • Approved permits to: Terry Kohler for the installation of water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the SW¼SW¼, Section 9, Audubon Township, Becker County; Kevin Lunde for the installation of water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the SE¼NE¼, Section 18, Lake Park Township, and the SW¼SW¼, Section 33, Cuba Township, Becker County; Richard Steffl for the installation of water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the NE¼NE¼, Section 2, Callaway Township, Becker County; Joel Crabtree for the installation of water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the NW¼NW¼, Section 30, Lake Park Township, Becker County; Charles Wentz for the installation of water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the NW¼SW¼, Section 27, Cuba Township, Becker County; Curtis Nelson for the installation of water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the NW¼SW¼, Section 11, Lake Park Township, Becker County; Evelo, Inc. to install random tile in the SW¼, Section 14, and SE¼, Section 15, Trondhjem Township, Otter Tail County, outletting to an existing 12″ dia. concrete tile line flowing southwest, eventually to Otter Tail County Ditch (C.D.) No. 56, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer and County review to be sure the land is assessed to C.D. No. 56; Beau Jacobson to install pattern tiling in the SW¼ and W½SE¼, Section 35, Flowing Township, Clay County, with mains on the north and west quarterlines, outletting via a lift station in the northwest corner to an existing private ditch, eventually draining to C.D. No. 39 to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Jared Nordick to move an existing approach with a new 24″ dia. x 60′ long culvert in the NW¼, Section 22, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, to the west approximately 100′ so that the neighbors can share the approach; and Andrew Beyer to clean an existing ditch to the original grade in the SW¼, Section 5, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, which, according to BRRWD Rules, doesn’t actually require a permit. 

  • Authorized a repair investigation for a damaged crossing/concrete culvert on Project No. 61, Clay C.D. No. 11-North. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 1 in the amount of $130,081.60 for Drewes Construction, Inc. for their work on Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1-Outlet Repair. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 2 in the amount of $76,451.25 for States Borders Construction, Inc. for their work on Wilkin-Otter Tail J.D. No. 2. 

  • Approved the 2018 Annual Report, which will be filed with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and posted on the BRRWD’s Website. 

  • Approved a motion to contribute up to $41,400 in technical assistance, as a 25% match for a Clean Water Fund (CWF) grant application to be used to address sedimentation in 30 priority sites within the Whiskey Creek watershed in partnership with the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). CWF funds are based on a 25%/75% cost share. The BRRWD commitment could be less if the NRCS also agrees to contribute Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds for the project. 

  • Authorized Erik Jones, BRRWD Engineer, Houston Engineering, Inc., to submit a National Water Quality Incentive (NWQI) program application to help fund a project to restore approximately 13 miles of channel along Whiskey Creek in partnership with the NRCS and the Wilkin SWCD. The implementation of NWQI funding is dependent upon landowner interest and participation.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, September 9, 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.

 

 

BRRWD Discusses Drainage Concerns

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed drainage concerns from several landowners at their regular meeting held on August 12, 2019, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. A landowner on Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 13 had questions about problems on the ditch during this year’s spring runoff. Private dikes along the South Branch of the Buffalo River are higher than the natural ground and raise the river elevation high enough to push water over a natural ridge between the river and C.D. No. 13, causing downstream overland flooding. Development of an Upper South Branch restoration project to remove excess sedimentation in the channel should help address this concern. A homeowner in Oakport Township, Clay County, questioned the possible raising of 2nd ST N in Section 6, to address repeated overtopping of the township road during flood events. A study to determine the impacts to the area floodplain would need to be conducted before considering a project of this scope. Another landowner contacted the office with a complaint about a culvert in Section 33, Humboldt Township, Clay County, that is placed 2′ higher than the road ditch grade and is holding water on his property. When the township replaced the existing culvert this spring as a ditch maintenance project, they replaced the pipe at the same elevation as the old one. A meeting with the Township and landowner will be scheduled. The Board also reviewed landowner concerns and survey results regarding a crossing with failing culverts on Wilkin C.D. No. 6A in Tanberg Township. The Board authorized the Wilkin County Highway Department to replace the existing culverts with two 48″ dia. pipes, subject to the landowners’ approval.

Other business included:

  • Approved the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,398,415.51. Current 2019 accounts receivable are $5,024,993. Administrative disbursements this month equal $29,520.95, and for the year, total $199,754.71. Total income this year is $2,358,657.52. Income received since the 7/8/19 meeting totaled $27,837.70, including $806.58 from Otter Tail County for current and delinquent ditch/property tax proceeds; $19,552.42 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for reimbursement from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Grant; and $2,292.54 from landowners associated with the Section 27, Manston Township, waterway repair. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank July interest ($4,961.16) and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board discussed the status of the Clay County 2019 1st half ditch/project tax proceeds, which the County has not yet forwarded. BRRWD Administrator Bruce E. Albright will contact the County regarding this issue. The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $478,147.01.

  • Approved permits to Lynn Brakke to install pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 2, the SE¼, Section 3, the N½NE¼, Section 10, and the NW¼, Section 11, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via gravity flow to Wolverton Creek, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Donald Yaggie to install tile in the S½, Section 29, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, outletting via gravity flow directly into Wilkin C.D. No. 1A to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Albin Warling for Becker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) designed water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlets to Becker C.D. No. 9 to which the property is assessed; the Minnesota Department of Transportation to extend a culvert under Trunk Highway No. 210 by 6′ to the south and shape the inslopes to 1H:4V in the NW¼NW¼, Section 2, Foxhome Township, Wilkin County; City of Moorhead for the construction of a permanent levee in the NW¼SW¼, Section 21, Oakport Township, Clay County, from 50th AVE N/Oakport ST to Clay C.D. No. 67; Mark Askegaard for three tiling projects in Sections 9 and 16, Holy Cross Township, Clay County, all outletting to Wolverton Creek, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Pheasants Forever, Inc. for two wetland basin restoration projects in association with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in Section 9, Tansem Township, and Section 24, Hawley Township, Clay County; Richard Yaggie to pattern tile the SE¼, Section 9, Foxhome Township, Wilkin County, outletting via gravity flow to Wilkin C.D. No. 4, to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Blayne Tonsfeldt to install a new approach with an 18″ dia. x 60′ culvert placed west of the newly established property line in the southeast corner of the SE¼, Section 28, Alliance Township, Clay County, off County Road (C.R.) No. 51 (170th AVE) and the replacement of an existing 18″ dia. culvert in the southwest corner of the quarter with an 18″ dia. x 60′ pipe, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way; and Bill Steffl to install water and sediment control basins, designed by the Becker SWCD, in the SW¼SW¼, Section 28, Callaway Township, Becker County, with surface intakes and underground outlet, subject to downstream landowner notification. 

  • Denied a permit from Todd Boit to replace/lower an 18″ dia. culvert in the NW¼NE¼, Section 13, Audubon Township, Becker County, through C.R. No. 144. The Board would reconsider Boit’s proposal when he completes work to unblock or replace an existing driveway culvert within 30 days and obtains downstream landowner approval for the proposed project. 

  • Approved a $10,000 retainer for Fremstad Law to provide the BRRWD with legal counsel for the Diversion Authority lawsuit. 

  • Discussed a possible retrofit of Wilkin C.D. No. 27. The estimated cost is approximately $591,000 with a potential 75%/25% split with the Wilkin SWCD to leverage some their existing Clean Water Fund (CWF) grant. Other funding sources were also discussed. Once the financial issues have been worked out, the BRRWD will schedule a landowner informational meeting to discuss the proposed project. 

  • Noting that Drewes Construction, Inc. has begun construction on the Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1-Outlet Repair. The contractor will probably request an extension of the 10/01/19 completion deadline due to wet conditions.

  •  Approved Pay Request No. 7 in the amount of $224,169.22 to Sellin Brothers, Inc. for their work on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. 

  • Authorized HEI to hire a trapper to address landowner and Highway Department complaints about beaver activity along Whiskey Creek in Wilkin County. 

  • Approved a motion to increase the BRRWD Manager per diem rate from $75/day to $125/day, according to 2019 State Legislation, and to amend Article III, Section 7, Compensation, of the BRRWD Bylaws to reflect the rate increase, effective 8/12/19. 

  • Approved a $200 donation to the Sustainable Farming Association Soil Health Workshop to be held on 9/5/19 at the Grommesh Farm near Barnesville. 

  • Approved a $2,166 contribution to help fund the Clay SWCD Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist position. 

  • Approved a motion to nominate Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation, for the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Project of the Year Award. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and Annual Budget Hearing on Monday, August 26, 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.