BRRWD Selected for One Watershed, One Plan

At their meeting held on July 10, 2017, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), learned that they were selected by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to complete a One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P). The planning effort is expected to take 2-3 years. Once completed, it will cover the entire 1,800 square miles of the Watershed District located in parts of Clay, Becker, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties. The purpose of the 1W1P is to have one document that the Watershed District and counties can use regarding water management for our area. The planning ties in with a grant the BRRWD received last year from BWSR in the amount of $168,000 titled “Prioritizing and Targeting Conservation in the Buffalo-Red: PTMApp and Geomorphic Assessment.” BWSR’s vision for 1W1P is to align local water planning and major watershed boundaries with State strategies towards prioritized, targeted, and measurable implementation plans-the next logical step in the evolution of water planning for Minnesota.

Other business included:

  • Discussed a proposal for a new bridge on Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 50 in Dilworth. The proposed bridge will not affect the ditch systems hydraulics.

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. All counties have now made their first-half tax payments. Cash-on-hand totals $2,268,010.28. Year-to-date administrative expenditures total $271,335.88. $40,000 of those expenditures should be one-time costs associated with computer upgrades, archiving old permits, etc.

  • Discussed the status of the BRRWD’s Rules. The Board has been trying to update their current Rules, which were adopted back on May 21, 1979. The Board must follow Watershed Law 103D.341 to update their Rules. There is a 45-day public comment period after proper notice is given. The Board would need to hold a hearing to adopt the new Rules. Bruce Albright, Administrator, said that a meeting was held last week with representatives from the Clay County Board of Commissioners to discuss the new Buffer Law, Administrative Penalty Order, and enforcement requirements. Clay County will be adopting Rules in that regard. It would be nice if the Watershed District could incorporate those Rules into our process. They expect to have their Rules done by September 1, 2017.

  • The Board also spent some time going over their short, intermediate, and long-term goals. Short-term goals include the hiring of an Administrative Intern who could work with Albright before he retires. A couple of other projects making the “short-term” list include: the incremental installation of buffer strips and side inlets on Wilkin C.D. Nos. 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44; and finishing the establishment process for the Wolverton Creek Restoration Project so that hopefully some construction can be done yet this fall.

  • Noted that the petition for a new outlet on Clay-Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1 has now been forwarded to the BRRWD’s Attorney, Tami Norgard, Vogel Law, for her review. The next step will be appointment of the Engineer to do the preliminary survey report in accordance with Minnesota Drainage Law.

  • Agreed to sign a contract with Sellin Brothers, Inc. and their bid associated with outlet improvements on J.D. No. 1 and Clay C.D. No. 53. The total bid was $45,829.00.

  • Agreed to extend the cleanout on Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Lateral for an additional 1.5 miles in Section 19, Manston Township, subject to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approval to work along their property.

  • Noting that the next Meditation Project Team Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 7:00 PM in the Watershed Office.

  • Noting that the BRRWD’s Fall Tour is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 21, 2017, beginning at 1:30 PM.

  • Authorized Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) to conduct an analysis regarding repairs that may be needed on the main ditch associated with Wilkin C.D. No. 22 upstream of County Road No. 3. Complaints were filed during the June rainfall event about the performance of the ditch system. Research of the records shows only minimum maintenance has been completed on this stretch since it was improved back in 1980.

  • Received maps from Wade Opsahl, Technician, HEI, regarding 2017 spraying needed on various BRRWD drainage systems and projects. Spraying will be for cattails, trees, and leafy spurge. The Board authorized the work. L&M Road Service, Lake Park, handles the spraying for the BRRWD.

  • Discussed possible applications for the Fiscal Year 2018 Clean Water Fund competitive grant process offered by the BWSR. They have $6 million available for BWSR projects & practices and $675,000 for multi-purpose drainage management. The application deadline is August 9, 2017. If selected, projects will not receive funding until March of 2018. The BRRWD has several projects that they are working on or past submittals that have not been approved that we could consider submitting. Recommendations will be brought to the 07/24/17 BRRWD meeting.

  • Scheduled the Annual Budget Hearing for Monday, August 28, 2017, at 9:00 PM in the Watershed Office. Notices will be published in area newspapers.

  • Noting that a meeting with DNR representatives on Wilkin C.D. No. 44 will take place on 07/12/17 at 10:00 AM. The ditch located in Sections 10, 11, and 12, Manston Township, is starting to meander and is cutting into the road and field slopes. The meeting will look at a possible two-stage channel which will create a flood plain above the meander channel, hopefully stopping the erosion and creating a more stable situation.

  • Approved payment of bills totaling $171,515.86.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, July 24, 2017, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.