BRRWD Approves Buffer Orders

At their April 12, 2021, regular meeting held at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), approved the Findings and Order for the buffer installations on Clay County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 2, 3, and 35. Right-of-way (R/W) staking will take place along those ditch systems in the next few weeks. They also approved the revised damage statements and Order for Clay C.D. No. 39. The Board accepted another round of damage statements for the installation of buffer strips on Clay C.D. Nos. 12, 21, 55, 58, and 69. A hearing date will be scheduled in the near future and notices will be sent to the affected landowners. These ditch hearings are being held in accordance with the 2015 Minnesota Buffer Law, requiring that all legal drainage systems have a one-rod (16.5′) grassed buffer strip. The legislation put the burden of fulfilling this requirement on the landowner. As the drainage authority for the legal ditch systems, the BRRWD decided to work with the ditch system landowners to ensure compliance. Once the buffer R/W is tabulated into damage statements, the drainage authority must hold a hearing with the benefitted landowners. After an Order is approved to acquire the needed R/W, there is a 30-day appeal period. The next step is to stake the R/W in the field and complete buffer seeding. Landowners are compensated for new R/W acquisition, and the R/W will be recorded so that County Assessors can adjust the landowner’s taxable acreage.

The Board also held an informational meeting for the Glyndon East Tributary Restoration at 6:00 PM prior to the regular meeting to discuss the project development with area landowners.

Other Business included:

• Reviewed the BRRWD’s 4/12/21 financial report. Cash on hand is $2,558,902.12. Income received since the 3/22/21 meeting totals $150,840.10, and for the year, totals $733,484.66. Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,200,263.10. The Board approved bills totaling $557,014.66.

• Approved permits to Jay Nord for 157 acres of pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 26, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via lift station across the adjacent property for approximately 500′, eventually to Wolverton Creek; Trygve Skolness to install pattern tile in the W½, Section 23, Moland Township, Clay County, outletting in the southwest corner of the section to Clay C.D. No. 2; Edward Strom to install 143 acres of pattern tile in the NE¼, Section 7, Hamden Township, Becker County, outletting to C.D. Nos. 6 and 15, with the provision that the project avoid the C.D. No. 6 R/W on the west side of his field; Todd Schauer to install 33 acres of tile in the W½SW¼, and the SW¼NW¼, Section 23, Skree Township, Clay County, outletting via gravity to a low area adjacent to Hay Creek; John Jaehning to install a tile main in the NW¼, Section 10, Connelly Township, Wilkin County, in the bottom of an existing surface ditch with two upstream surface inlets, outletting via a lift station to a Whiskey Creek tributary; Clay County Highway Department for two culvert replacements on Clay C.D. No. 10 in the NE¼, Section 13, Kragnes Township, and the NW¼, between Sections 15 and 22, Morken Township; Paul Dubbels to install an approach with a 36″ dia. culvert in the SE¼, Section 6, Humboldt Township, Clay County; Larry Heng to install 25 acres of pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 30, Skree Township, Clay County, outletting to an existing tile project to Spring Creek; Ron Conzemius for 128 acres of pattern tile on the west side of Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9 in the NW¼, Section 16, Manston Township, Wilkin County, outletting via a lift station in the northwest corner of his field into a ditch on the west side of Section 9, eventually to the South Branch of the Buffalo River; Troy Larson to install a new field approach/18″ dia. culvert in the SE¼, Section 10, Akron Township, Wilkin County, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W; and Pheasants Forever for two wetland installation projects in the N½, Section 5, Parke Township, Clay County, and the NW¼ and N½NE¼, Section 10, Manston Township, Wilkin County. All tiling projects are subject to our standard tiling disclaimer, which has recently been revised and can be viewed on the BRRWD’s website.

• Reviewed landowner concerns raised at the 4/7/21 Whiskey Creek Enhancement project hearing regarding the proposed watershed management district (wmd) fee rates for agricultural lands in the project assessment area. After discussion, the Managers agreed to assess all agricultural land at the same wmd rate.

• Approved the 2021-2022 Barnesville High School River Watch project budget, totaling $5,562.56.

• Authorized Houston Engineering, Inc. to prepare the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for Phase 2 of the South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration project in Wilkin County from the Clay County line upstream approximately 20 miles to T.H. No. 9 in Wilkin County. This stretch of the river is listed as Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Public Waters, and the EAW is the first step in the environmental review that is required in order to obtain the DNR permit for the channel restoration.

• Authorized signature of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Memorandum of Understanding with Clay County and the Cities of Moorhead and Dilworth to address overlapping MS4 responsibilities.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, April 26, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, meetings are conducted online in accordance with M.S.A. Section 13D.021. The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699. Conference ID: 365 708 012#. If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, masks and social distancing are required. More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.