BRRWD Sets 2017 Tax Levies

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), set their 2017 tax levies at their regular meeting and annual budget hearing held on Monday, August 22, 2016, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. The general levies, which are assessed district-wide, including administration, insurance, and projects/programs, total $1,425,162, or an increase of one-quarter of one percent over 2016.  The administrative levy is capped by Watershed Law at $250,000.  The 2017 insurance budget will be set at $14,000.  The Minnesota Statues Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3, levies, which need to be petitioned for by a political subdivision, include a general levy in the amount of $661,162 and a second special levy, which will be used to pay off costs associated with the Manston Slough Restoration Project ($500,000).

The Board also set the following project/ditch system levies, which for 2017 total $1,593,000:

Clay County
Ditch No. 2 – $25,000
Ditch No. 3 – $15,000
Ditch No. 5 – $25,000
Ditch No. 9 – $50,000
Ditch No. 10 – $100,000
Ditch No. 11 – $100,000
Ditch No. 17 – $5,000
Ditch No. 20 – $10,000
Ditch No. 22 – $10,000
Ditch No. 23 – $5,000
Ditch No. 28 – $15,000
Ditch No. 32 – $50,000
Ditch No. 33 – $40,000
Ditch No. 36 – $10,000
Ditch No. 40 – $30,000
Ditch No. 41 – $100,000
Ditch No. 41, Lat. No. 1 – $25,000
Ditch No. 47 – $50,000
Ditch No. 49 – $10,000
Ditch No. 50 – $20,000
Ditch No. 53 – $15,000
Ditch No. 54 – $5,000
Ditch No. 58 – $15,000
Ditch No. 59 – $75,000
Ditch No. 65 – $25,000
Ditch No. 67 – $10,000
Ditch No. 69 – $10,000

Becker County
Ditch No. 5 – $5,000
Ditch No. 9 – $20,000
Ditch No. 10 – $3,000
Ditch No. 15 – $15,000
Ditch No. 19 – $10,000

Wilkin County
Ditch No. 1B – $10,000
Ditch No. 1C – $70,000
Ditch No. 5A – $25,000
Ditch No. 7 – $50,000
Ditch No. 13 – $20,000
Ditch No. 15 – $50,000
Ditch No. 22 – $75,000
Ditch No. 26 – $10,000
Ditch No. 28 – $15,000
Ditch No. 40 – $15,000
Ditch No. 41 – $50,000
Ditch No. 42 – $30,000
Ditch No. 43 – $20,000
Ditch No. 44 – $15,000 

Projects/Ditch Systems
No. 30, Clay-Wilkin J.D. No. 1 – $25,000
No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet – $10,000 (Becker County)
No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation – $75,000
No. 56, Manston Slough Restoration – $100,000
No. 64, LaBelle/Boyer Lakes Outlet – $10,000
No. 65, County Line Outlet – $5,000
No. 70, Crystal Creek/McCann’s Additions Flood Control – $10,000

Other business included:

  • Discussion of Project No. 77, County Ditch (C.D.) No. 51-Lateral No. 3. The project petitioner has purchased the land where the project was to be located. He no longer wants to develop the project. He has applied for a permit to level illegal dikes located on the property. The Board granted the permit subject to the petitioner filing a petition for abandonment of Project No. 77 and payment of the BRRWD’s costs in that regard (approximately $10,000). 

  • Noting that Erik S. Jones, Engineer, Houston Engineering, Inc., plans to meet with a landowner in Section 6, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, regarding his request to install culverts in a natural waterway. The purpose of the field meeting will be to determine the culvert sizing.

  • Approval of permits to: Luke Wiertzema to lower culverts along the SW1/4 of Section 9, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County; Jeff Yaggie to install an approach and culvert in the SE1/4, Section 18, Meadows Township, Wilkin County; Jeff Yaggie to install an approach and culvert into the SE1/4, Section 30, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County; City of Moorhead to construct a paved road with curb and gutter section on 12th AVE, from 40th ST to 45th ST in the E1/2, Section 14, Moorhead Township, Clay County; and Deal Enterprises, Inc. to install Natural Resources Conservation Service designed sediment control basins in the NE1/4, Section 28, Trondhjem Township, Otter Tail County.

  • Discussed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand totals $2,268,583.54, with all bills paid. The office will continue to bill the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on a semi-monthly basis pertaining to costs associated with Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation.

  • Discussed a couple of issues involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and their flood insurance program. West of Barnesville, we have a homeowner along an unnamed tributary, who applied for a Letter of Map Revision with FEMA, which they denied. Clay County updated their flood insurance study in 2012, but this area was not remapped. Jones felt that FEMA made their determination in error. He estimates it would cost between $5,000-$10,000 to remodel the area. A similar issue arose last week when a homeowner in the southeast corner of Section 32, Spring Prairie Township, Clay County, visited the office to complain that their property is located in the 100-year flood zone. This area was remapped 2012, and there are problems with the FEMA mapping. However, to restudy this area, Jones estimates it could cost $75,000. Clay County does not have the funding to do the work. The house in question does have several issues pertaining to the flood insurance program. Clay County is willing to work with the homeowner to make the necessary improvements.

  • Discussed Watershed District permit conditions. From time to time, downstream landowners complain of tile system operation. One of the general tiling permit conditions includes “pumped outlets are approved with the condition that the pump(s) are not operating during times of downstream flooding or not operated if icing up of downstream structures is occurring.” The BRRWD is currently working with a landowner in Section 24, Breckenridge Township, who is complaining of an upstream tiling project. The tiling owner/operator will be reminded of the BRRWD’s permit conditions. 

  • For Project No. 56, Manston Slough Restoration, discussed installing more openings along the spoil bank of Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Lateral. When this ditch system was installed in the 1980s, the intent of the spoil banks was to create dikes to keep the water in the drainage system. Now that the area has reverted to wetlands, and is involved with the Manston Slough Project, openings can be made in the spoil bank to allow the water to flow into the adjacent wetlands and to also help alleviate upstream concerns about the sizing of the downstream waterway openings and recent flooding that has occurred in the Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9 area. 

  • Discussed the status of the Oakport Flood Mitigation Project. Albright toured the area on 08/19/16 with Kris Carlson, Project Engineer, Ulteig Engineers, Inc. The recent wet weather has delayed construction. Initially, they planned to be finished by Labor Day. The Board decided to allow no hunting in and around the Brentwood area. The BRRWD’s map has been adjusted accordingly. Homeowners in this area have complained for the past several years regarding people who did not respect their privacy. 

  • Noting that R.J. Zavoral & Sons, Inc. started work on slump repairs for sites located along Clay C.D. No. 10 in Kragnes and Morken Townships. 

  • Approved removal of a 72″ dia. culvert through 170th ST between Sections 3 and 10, Manston Township, on Wilkin C.D. No.  44. The Township asked that the pipe be removed to improve road safety. The BRRWD will follow up with the required hearings at a later date. A number of years ago, the road was rerouted to keep the majority of the water on the south side of the road. There’s no longer a need for a ditch on the north side of 170th ST. 

  • Noting that an agency meeting was held on 08/16/16 to discuss Phase 1A of the South Branch of the Buffalo River project, east of T.H. No. 9. Mostly, the agencies agreed with the proposed project concept. The Nature Conservancy has to check on several issues involving their land, located in the W1/2, Section 12, Manston Township. 

  • Noting that the Fall Tour has now been rescheduled for Thursday, September 22, 2016, beginning at 1:30 PM from the BRRWD Office in Barnesville. Tour invitations will be sent next week. 

  • Noting that the BRRWD will submit comments regarding the permit filed by the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority to the DNR for proposed activities on the Minnesota side of the Red River. The BRRWD previously supplied comments to the DNR when they were working on the Environmental Impact Statement. To date, those comments have not been addressed. 

  • Noting that informational meetings will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, beginning at 7:30 AM in the Wilkin County Environmental Office, Breckenridge, MN, to discuss pending repairs on Wilkin C.D. Nos. 6A and 7. Affected landowners will be mailed notices. 

  • Approved payment of bills totaling $131,855.68. 

The next meeting of the Board of Managers, BRRWD, is scheduled for Monday, September 12, 2016, 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, please visit our website at