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.