BRRWD Addresses Urban Runoff

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


Other business included:           

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Approved payment of bills totaling $158,020.50.

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