BRRWD Submits Biennial Budget Request

At their meeting held in Barnesville on 04/25/16, the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) spent some time going over their Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2019 Biennial Budget Request (BBR), which was submitted to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). BWSR uses this process to collect information on local government conservation and water management resource needs.  The information provided through the FY 2018-2019 BBR will be used by BWSR Staff, the Clean Water Council, the Legislature, and the Governor’s Office in developing FY 2018-2019 budgets.

Future projects being considered by the BRRWD include: work on the Otter Tail River, Red River of the North, Wolverton Creek, Buffalo River, Whisky Creek/Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 34 by Barnesville, Stony Creek, the South Branch of the Buffalo River in Wilkin County, Whiskey Creek near Kent, MN, and district-wide surface and ground water quality improvements.  The project and activities budget is $60 million.  That total would be split $40 million from the State and $20 million using locally leveraged funding.

Other business included:

  • A review of the BRRWD’s current financial status. Cash on hand totals $143,877.85. 

  • Discussion regarding the status of Wilkin C.D. No. 7. At the last meeting, the BRRWD voted to lower the 2016 assessment from $150,000 to $75,000. The Wilkin County Auditor’s Office agreed to work with the Board in this regard, and amended tax notices have been mailed to approximately 96 landowners. Landowners at the meeting questioned the next steps for C.D. No. 7. The Wilkin County Highway Department has indicated that they will not have time to do the repairs. The County will forward all of their information to Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), who will finish the repair plans. Hopes are that the work can be started after Labor Day 2016. Once the plans and quantities are developed, an informational meeting will be held with the affected landowners. 

  • Approval of permits to: Jim Klein Land FLP for the installation of 300 acres of pattern tiling in the S1/2, Section 29, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County; Clay County Highway Department for approximately 1,000′ of regrading on County State Aid Highway No. 6 in the NW1/4, Section 3, Tansem Township; and Haarstad Family Farms LLC to install grade stabilization structures and water and sediment control basins as designed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the NE1/4, Section 28, Oscar Township, Otter Tail County. 

  • Discussed the status of the appeal/lawsuit associated with Project No. 77, Clay C.D. No. 51-Proposed Lateral No. 3 in Section 28, Kragnes Township. It appears that two neighboring landowners may be working on a land sale that would partially resolve this issue. 

  • Noting that work continues on Phase 4 of the Oakport Flood Mitigation Project. The recent weekend rains have delayed project construction. Zavoral Construction, Inc. has submitted a revised schedule and would like to have the project completed by Labor Day 2016.

  • Noting that representatives from HEI continue to work with four potential landowners interested in installing a farmstead ring dike. The Red River Watershed Management Board (RRWMB) secured a $400,000 grant through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and their Flood Damage Reduction Program during the 2015 Legislative session. Once local costs for each of the ring dikes are established, the information will be forwarded to Ron Harnack, Executive Director, RRWMB. 

  • Noting that the next Mediation Project Team Meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 16, 2016, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, Barnesville, MN. Active projects include the Barnesville Township Drainage Study, work on the South Branch of the Buffalo River in Wilkin County, and Stony Creek northwest of Barnesville. A meeting was held on 04/20/16 with representatives from BWSR regarding their proposed work in Section 11, Manston Township, Wilkin County, on the South Branch of the Buffalo River. They agreed that the BRRWD’s plan to look at restoring the river channel east of Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9 was a good idea. HEI will look at a total project concept east of T.H. No. 9. HEI representatives will be having a video teleconference on 04/26/16 with representatives from the DNR Dam Safety Division regarding the dam classification on Stony Creek.

  • Noting that work continues on the Revised Water Management Plan (RWMP). Hopes are that the draft plan can be submitted to the Board of Managers, BRRWD, for their review/consideration at the 05/23/16 meeting. 

  • Noting that on 04/25/16, the office received Working Copy-Version 3.4 of the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) for the Metro Flood Diversion Authority (DA). The DA hopes that the final version of the JPA can be solicited for review/signatures sometime in May 2016. 

  • Noting that an integrated working group meeting to discuss the Red River of the North Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan will be hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Red River Basin Commission on April 26-27, 2016, at the Homewood Suites, Fargo, ND. Erik Jones, Engineer, HEI, plans on attending. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 1 to HCI for bufferstrip seeding on Wilkin C.D. Nos. 5A, 22, and 26. The Pay Request totals $12,655.80. 

  • Discussed the proposed 2016 Water Quality Sampling Program. A meeting was held on 04/25/16 with representatives from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, DNR, and the International Water Institute. It was discussed that four sampling sites on the Red River of the North would be dropped in 2016. For 2016, there would be 33 sampling locations. These sites were identified in the BRRWD’s 2010 RWMP as Regional Assessment Locators (RALs). In general, the BRRWD has been gathering water quality data since 2008. Bruce Albright, Office Administrator, said that all of the sampling has generated a lot of data. He felt the Board of Managers should consider getting the data posted on their website for the general public to review/understand. A proposal from HEI was reviewed that would develop and summarize water quality data for the BRRWD’s website. The total estimated budget for completing this analysis and report was $24,316.00. The Board authorized the work. Thoughts were that if we are ever going to see noticeable improvements regarding water quality, we need to engage/involve the landowners. Hopefully, a general understanding of water quality by the BRRWD citizens will help in that regard.

  • Noting that permission to survey forms continue to come in regarding proposed work on the Otter Tail River and Whiskey Creek near Kent, MN. 

  • Noting that the BRRWD intends to hold a special meeting to dedicate time to review the BRRWD proposed new Rules. Once those Rules are adopted locally, there is a 60-day review process with the counties, cities, and other local government units, including the landowners. A hearing will be required to adopt the new Rules.

  • Approved the payment of bills, totaling $52,704.25.

The next meeting of the Board of Managers, BRRWD, is scheduled for Monday, May 9, 2016, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE. All meetings are open to the public.  For more information, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.