At their 08/24/15 meeting held in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed a request from the City of Barnesville for funding needed to complete a fish ramp, railroad spillway removal, and a sediment pond cleanout project. Back in October of 2009, the BRRWD made a commitment totaling $7,150, which would have covered half of the local costs involved with the sediment pond cleanout only. Now that the proposed project has been revised, the local share of the total project costs is $136,305.01. The BRRWD’s share would increase to $26,739.46. The Board approved a motion to contribute the additional funding.
A second funding request was submitted by Jared Nordick for a drainage demonstration site his family is working on in Sections 16 and 24, Meadows Township, Wilkin County. The objectives of the project are to demonstrate the water quality and quantity benefits of Drainage Water Management (DWM), set a compelling example to increase the acceptance and adoption of DWM, and to form a coalition of partners to participate in the project. The project includes a number of partners including the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Surface and subsurface runoff will be monitored and water samples will be collected and analyzed for nitrates/nitrogen. Installation of the project is scheduled to begin this fall. DWM practices include saturated buffers and control structures. Nordick reported that the Section 16 project is complete. The work in Section 24 will be done later this fall. At this time, it appears that they are short approximately $15,000-$26,000 to complete the Section 24 project and associated monitoring. The Board approved a motion to fund up to $26,000 for the demonstration project, dependent upon final costs.
In accordance with Minnesota Watershed Law, the Board also held their annual budget hearing to set the 2016 levies. Considerable discussion took place regarding membership with the Red River Watershed Management Board (RRWMB). For a number of reasons, the Board felt this may not be the time to rejoin. Concerns were noted regarding the additional taxation costs a RRWMB membership would require. Before next year’s budget hearing, the Board hopes to hold several informational meetings with landowners, etc. to further discuss this potential membership and reasons why the additional funding may be needed to help build large-scale retention projects.
The Board set the 2016 administrative levy (as required by law) at $250,000. An administrative budget prepared by office staff shows that the actual projected costs for 2016 are approximately $350,000. The overrun is funded by assessments to various projects/ditch systems. They also set an insurance fund levy at $20,000 and the survey and data acquisition fund at $75,000. Two levies in accordance with Minnesota Statues Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905 Subd 3 will take place in 2016. The general levy totals $626,927. A second levy will be used to help finance the Watershed office, Stony Creek Comprehensive Project, Barnesville Township Investigation, Manston Slough Restoration, Otter Tail River Planning, and Storage Site Investigations.
The M.S.A. 103D.905 Subd 3 general levy includes a $10,000 increase for River Keepers. The BRRWD funding level for the past three years has been at $45,000. For 2016, River Keepers asked that the amount been raised to $55,000. Their projected operating budget for 2016 is approximately $210,000. Other funding partners include the Southeast Cass Water Resource District and the Fargo Park District. Programs run by River Keepers include their award-winning Red River Water Festival, which last year included over 2,000 fourth grade students over the five-day event. Currently, River Keepers has over 300 dues-paying members.
The Board also set the following project/ditch system levies:
Ditch No. 3 – $15,000
Ditch No. 5 – $25,000
Ditch No. 9 – $75,000
Ditch No. 11 – $100,000
Ditch No. 23 – $10,000
Ditch No. 28 – $15,000
Ditch No. 31 – $10,000
Ditch No. 32 – $75,000
Ditch No. 33 – $50,000
Ditch No. 34 – $20,000
Ditch No. 36 – $10,000
Ditch No. 39 – $20,000
Ditch No. 41, Outlet – $110,000
Ditch No. 41 – $50,000
Ditch No. 41, Lat. No. 1 – $75,000
Ditch No. 47 – $50,000
Ditch No. 49 – $10,000
Ditch No. 50 – $25,000
Ditch No. 51 – $15,000
Ditch No. 53 – $15,000
Ditch No. 54 – $5,000
Ditch No. 63 – $15,000
Ditch No. 67 – $40,000
Ditch No. 69 – $10,000
Ditch No. 5 – $10,000
Ditch No. 9 – $7,500
Ditch No. 10 – $3,000
Ditch No. 15 – $15,000
Ditch No. 19 – $10,000
Ditch No. 1A – $20,000
Ditch No. 2 – $50,000
Ditch No. 3 – $100,000
Ditch No. 4 – $75,000
Ditch No. 5A – $40,000
Ditch No. 6A – $75,000
Ditch No. 7 – $150,000
Ditch No. 12 – $25,000
Ditch No. 15 – $50,000
Ditch No. 22 – $75,000
Ditch No. 23 – $20,000
Ditch No. 26 – $10,000
Ditch No. 27 – $50,000
Ditch No. 28 – $30,000
Ditch No. 29 – $25,000
Ditch No. 37 – $50,000
Ditch No. 40 – $15,000
Ditch No. 41 – $50,000
Ditch No. 43 – $20,000
Ditch No. 44 – $15,000
Wilkin-Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 – $25,000
No. 30, Clay-Wilkin J.D. No. 1 – $70,000
No. 32, Hawley Diversion – $10,000
No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet – $25,000
No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation – $50,000
No. 67, HRBP Outlets – $15,000
No. 68, Lake Jacobs Outlet – $10,000
Other business included:
Discussed the BRRWD’s current financial status. Since the 08/10/15 meeting, the Board has received income totaling $156,274.71. Total cash on hand is $2,298,833.73.
Heard a request from Attorney Zenas Baer, representing Robert Norby, to continue the final hearing on Project No. 77, Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 51-Proposed Lateral No. 3 to a later date. The final hearing has been scheduled in accordance with Minnesota Drainage Law for Thursday, August 27, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Moorhead City Hall Council Chambers. Mr. Baer indicated that his expert witness will no longer work for his client. Mr. Baer wanted additional time to find a new witness. The Board denied the request since hearing notices have already been mailed/published. They also questioned why Mr. Baer was bringing up this concern at this point in time, when he knew back on July 2, 2015, that his witness had resigned.
Approval of permits to the following: Tansem Township to replace 12″ diameter culverts with 18″ diameter culverts in 255th ST S and 173th AVE S; Kelly Bisek for the construction of a driveway with a culvert in Section 35, Cromwell Township, Clay County; Cliff Froslie for 16.5 acres of pattern tiling in the NE1/4, Section 34, Prairie View Township, Wilkin County; Charles Piekarski for 45 acres of random tiling in the NE1/4, Section 28, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County; Dan Bradow for field tiling in the SW1/4, Section 32, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County; Philip Rogers for 320 acres of pattern tiling in the S1/2, Section 32, Prairie View Township, Wilkin County; Foltz Farms for water and sediment control basins designed by the NRCS in the SE1/4, Section 12, Hamden Township, Becker County; Kevin Nelson to install water and sediment control basins designed by the NRCS in Section 9, Lake Park Township, Becker County; Kevin Nelson to install a grade stabilization project designed by the NRCS in the SW1/4, Section 9, Lake Park Township, Becker County; Chad Okeson to install water and sediment control basins designed by the NRCS in the E1/2, Section 30, Richwood Township, Becker County; Jay Nord to install 35 acres of pattern tiling in the NE1/4, Section 5, Atherton Township, Wilkin County; L.E. Hanson Farms, Inc. to install random tiling in the SE1/4, Section 21, Hamden Township, Becker County; Tom Herfindahl to install pattern tiling in the NE1/4, Section 20, Cuba Township, Becker County; and the City of Moorhead for the Stonemill Estates Second Edition.
Noting that bids will be opened for repairs on Clay C.D. No. 11 on September 14, 2015. Work includes placement of the outlet structure and addressing slumping issues east of Trunk Highway No. 75.
Review of bids opened on 08/24/15 for the replacement of the outlet structure on Clay C.D. No. 67 in north Moorhead. Alternate No. 1 is for repair the existing outlet structure. The low bidder for that project was Sellin Brothers, Inc. with a bid of $34,098. Alternate No. 2 would move the outlet structure further downstream, which would tie in better with future work proposed by the City of Moorhead for flood control protection. The low bidder for that alternate was Olson Construction, Inc. with a bid of $58,805. The Board felt that it made sense to move the structure downstream at this time rather than having to do the work at a later date. The bid for Alternate No. 2 was awarded to Olson Construction, Inc.
Noting that a cleanup list has been furnished to Reiner Construction to complete their work on the Georgetown Flood Control Levee. The condemnation hearing process will continue on 08/27/15. Reiner Construction is expected to be back on site around Labor Day.
Noting that the 2015 Legislature allocated funding for farmstead ring dikes. Ron Harnack, RRWMB, has asked for a District summary by 09/15/15. Landowners interested in the farmstead ring dike program should contact the Watershed office.
Noting that the repair work on Clay-Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1 has been completed in Clay County.
Noting that repair work on Becker C.D. No. 15 will begin later this week. The project contractor is Chad Mattson. Repair work will be upstream of the Hamden Slough Wildlife Refuge in Sections 10 and 11, Audubon Township.
Noting that a hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville Watershed office regarding the installation of the required one-rod grassed buffer strips on Wilkin C.D. Nos. 5A, 26, and 22 (Laterals Nos. 1 and 2). Additional work includes the installation of grade stabilization at the outlet of each drainage system in accordance with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit issued for the restoration of Wolverton Creek.
Noting that the next Mediation Project Team meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 7:00 PM, in the Barnesville Watershed office. Active projects include the South Branch of the Buffalo River, Stony Creek Comprehensive Study, and Barnesville Township Area Drainage Investigation.
Noting that the draft reports are finished for the Upper Red Total Maximum Daily Load and Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. Both documents will be forwarded to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for their review and comment. The BRRWD will hold a landowner informational meeting regarding both reports later this fall after field work is completed.
Agreed to submit two Clean Water Fund applications to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources for their consideration during the 2016 funding cycle. The first application is for outlet repairs on Clay C.D. No. 23. The second application deals with outlet repairs on Clay C.D. No. 39 and field inlets needed on Clay C.D. No. 59.
Noting that the BRRWD has been invited to give a presentation to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council on Wednesday, September 2, 2015, at 9:00 AM. The BRRWD is seeking funding for the Wolverton Creek Restoration project in the amount of $4,963,000.
Reviewed repair petitions filed for work on Clay C.D. No. 53 and Wilkin C.D. No. 13. Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) was authorized to conduct the necessary investigations.
Approved an amendment for engineering services furnished by HEI regarding the addition of a new Administrative Assistant on a fulltime basis. Bruce Albright, BRRWD Administrator, said that the interview process has taken place over the past several weeks and a candidate has been selected, offered the job, and has accepted the position.
Agreed to lease a new copy machine from Liberty Business Systems, Inc.
Approved the payment of bills, totaling $68,816.70.
Noting that the 33rd Annual Red River Basin Land and Water International Summit Conference will be held on January 19-21, 2016, at the Alerus Center/Canad Inn in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The next meeting of the Board of Managers, BRRWD, is scheduled for Monday, September 14, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE. All meetings are open to the public. For more information, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org .