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.