BRRWD Receives Awards

“BRRWD IS 2015 WATERSHED DISTRICT OF THE YEAR”

At the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) 2015 Annual Meeting and Trade Show held in Alexandria on December 3-5, 2015, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) received two awards.

The first award, titled “Watershed District of the Year” was presented by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

DNR Watershed District of the Year, left to right: Gerald L. Van Amburg, Chairman, Brea L. Kobiela, Manager, Bruce E. Albright, Administrator, John E. Hanson, Secretary, Peter V. Fjestad, Vice Chairman, and Luke Skinner, Director, Ecological and Water Resources, DNR.

Left to right: Gerald L. Van Amburg, Chairman, Brea L. Kobiela, Manager, Bruce E. Albright, Administrator, John E. Hanson, Secretary, Peter V. Fjestad, Vice Chairman, and Luke Skinner, Director, Ecological and Water Resources, DNR.

Presenting the award was Luke Skinner, Director, Division of Ecological and Water Resources.  The award was a 28″ x 36″ Les Kouba artist’s proof framed print, titled “Evening Flight Mallards”.  He cited several reasons why the BRRWD was the recipient, including: the recent development of the Manston Slough Restoration Project, the BRRWD’s involvement with the Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group and the Mediation Project Team process, a willingness to work with agencies and landowners to develop natural resource enhancement (nre) and flood damage reduction (fdr) projects, and the recent restoration of the Buffalo River in Hawley Minnesota.  BRRWD Administrator, said, “This is the third time since the early 1980s that the BRRWD has been selected as the “Watershed District of the Year” by the Minnesota DNR.  We want to thank all the other resource partners, including the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, for being able to work on meaningful fdr and nre projects.”

The second award was presented by MAWD for the “2015 Project of the Year” to the BRRWD for their Manston Slough Restoration Project.

Left to right: Peter V. Fjestad, Vice Chairman, Brea L. Kobiela, Manager, John E. Hanson, Secretary, Gerald L. Van Amburg, Chairman, Bruce E. Albright, Administrator, Mark T. Anderson, Treasurer, and Erik S. Jones, Project Engineer, Houston Engineering, Inc., and MAWD Awards Committee Co-Chair, Ruth Schaffer.

Left to right: Peter V. Fjestad, Vice Chairman, Brea L. Kobiela, Manager, John E. Hanson, Secretary, Gerald L. Van Amburg, Chairman, Bruce E. Albright, Administrator, Mark T. Anderson, Treasurer, and Erik S. Jones, Project Engineer, Houston Engineering, Inc., and MAWD Awards Committee Co-Chair, Ruth Schaffer.

The Manston Slough Restoration Project was a collaboration of a number of local, State, and Federal partners.  Thirty three landowners also volunteered to sign easements for the project.  

Initially drained in the late 1800s by State Ditch 15, Manston Slough had been a historic wetland and waterfowl area.  About 10 years ago, the BRRWD brought together all of the parties to discuss a multiuse, comprehensive project that could achieve multiple goals.  In 2014, the BRRWD completed the $6 million project.  The project benefits include 5,446 acre-feet of temporary flood storage, restoration of a 1,150 acre wetland, 2,053 acres of Wetland Reserve Program buffers, and ground water recharge for the Buffalo Aquifer.  The project area encompasses over 7,000 acres of public recreational opportunities.  The site is located at the base of the beach ridge with a watershed of 25.6 square miles in Manston Township, Wilkin County.  Two structures were installed to provide fdr and nre benefits on lands owned by the DNR and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.  The project allows for management of a wetland pool to elevation of 972′.  The flood damage reduction pool could raise to elevation 974′.

Bruce Albright, BRRWD Administrator, wanted to thank all of the partners and landowners for making this project a reality and that 2014/2015 was a year for completion of several large projects for the BRRWD, including the Georgetown Flood Control Levee, Manston Slough Restoration, and securing the funding needed to complete the Oakport Flood Mitigation Project in 2016. The BRRWD looks forward to working with our partners and landowners regarding the search for the next major comprehensive fdr/nre project.

For more information regarding the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.