BRRWD Receives “Project of the Year” Award

 At their regular 12/09/19 meeting, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), announced that they received the “2019 Project of the Year” award for Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation, from the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts during their Annual Meeting and Trade Show on December 4-7, 2019, in Alexandria. Following the devastating 1997 and 2001 spring floods, Oakport Township approached the BRRWD to consider a flood mitigation project to provide permanent flood protection for their residents along the Red River of the North, Oakport Coulee, and associated floodplains. In response, the BRRWD started project development in 2002, with project construction commencing in 2007. Completed in 2016, this $36 million, seven-phase project resulted in two Federal Emergency Management Agency-certified levee systems, totaling approximately five miles in length. The “East” levee was completed and certified in 2015, and the “West” levee was certified in 2018. The levee project provides flood protection to 750 acres and over 300 homes with the potential to protect approximately 200 future homes. Working cooperatively with Audubon Dakota, more than 110 acres of buyout property has been planted to native prairie on which North Dakota State University is now doing pollinator studies. Project funding sources include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ($31 million), the BRRWD ($1 million), local benefitting area ($3 million), buyout property sales ($0.75 million), and Audubon Society seeding ($0.25 million).

Other business included:

  • Met with Joel Paulsen, the new Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s (FM DA) Executive Director, to discuss the DA’s desire to establish better relations with the area landowners who will be impacted by the FM Diversion Project. The Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement held an informational meeting on 12/11/19 to discuss the environmental investigation easements with landowners who will be impacted by the soil boring and monitoring easements. The DA has agreed to pay $250/soil boring, plus any crop or property damages that occurs during the sampling/testing. 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,940,400.33. Administrative disbursements this month equal $30,956.18, and for the year, total $318,431.85. Total income this year is $5,435,902.91. Income received since the 11/12/19 meeting totaled $789,245.01, including property/ditch tax proceeds from Becker County ($87,641.43), Otter Tail County ($16,641.88), and Wilkin County ($268,573.76), and property taxes only from Clay County ($403,685.36). Other income came from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Upper Buffalo River 319 Grant ($4,926) and $2,742.90 from a Wilkin County landowner for the purchase of wetland mitigation credits from the BRRWD. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for November interest ($4,808.68) and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board also approved the payment of bills totaling $371,522.90 and authorized staff to pay incoming bills that might incur late fees before the next 1/13/20 Board meeting. 

  • Discussed possible changes to the 2020 BRRWD administrative/engineering contract with HEI. 

  • Appointed HEI as the engineer to review a petition from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for wetland modification associated with Hamden Slough/Becker County Ditch No. 15. 

  • Authorized the purchase of a new vacuum pump for the Project No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet system. 

  • Accepted William Nichol Excavating’s quote to remove a log jam on a 12th AVE S bridge on the South Branch of the Buffalo River in Glyndon Township.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 5 for Dennis Drewes, Inc. in the amount of $134,386.57 and Change Order No. 1 for a net contract change of $28,704 for Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1-Improvement. 

  • Noted that the next Mediation Project Team meeting will be held on 12/19/19 at 1:30 PM in Barnesville. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and 2020 annual meeting on Monday, January 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. The second December meeting (December 23) will not be held due to the Holidays. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at