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Ditch System Buffer Hearings/Project Hearings

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), has scheduled several hearing/meetings for the acquisition of the required buffer strips for several Clay County ditch systems in compliance with the State Buffer Law (Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A) 103F.48).  Notices will be sent to the affected landowners.  All hearings will be held in the BRRWD Barnesville office following Covid-19 protocols with virtual options.

MINUTES

05-13-21 Clay C.D. Nos. 12, 21, 55, 58, and 69  Hearing Minutes

04-08-21 Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 3, and 35 Hearing Minutes

03-11-21 Clay C.D. Nos. 5, 10, 39, 59, and 65 Hearing Minutes

04-07-21 Whiskey Creek Hearing Minutes

04-12-21 Glyndon East Tributary Informational Meeting Minutes

 

NOTICES

Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 3, and 35-4/8/21 Hearing Notice/Exhibits 1 & 2

Whiskey Creek Hearing Notice

Glyndon East Tributary Informational Meeting

 

Glyndon East Tributary Restoration

Glyndon East Tributary Restoration Project

Glyndon East Tributary Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW)

EAW Availability Notice

04/12/21 Glyndon East Tributary Informational Meeting Power Point Presentation

Engineer’s Report 1/25/21

The Glyndon East Tributary is a tributary to the Buffalo River located in Clay County, MN. The stream is one of many natural waterways within the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) political boundary. Much of the East Tributary is a DNR-designated Public Water. The Glyndon East Tributary subwatershed is approximately 9.5 square miles in area and extends southeast of Glyndon, MN, into Section 21 of Riverton Township, and empties into the Buffalo River north of Glyndon, MN in Section 35 of Moland Township.

Discussions between the BRRWD and landowners, regarding the existing drainage issues, began several years ago. These conversations led the BRRWD to begin a preliminary investigation to determine the cause of the drainage problems. Data collection for the Glyndon East Tributary was completed in two phases; phase 1 was completed in the summer of 2018 and phase 2 was completed in the Fall of 2020. The phase 1 area survey was initiated after concerns were raised by the City of Glyndon and complaints were heard from landowners over the lack, or perceived worsening, of drainage in the channel from the City of Glyndon’s wastewater lagoons and north along the waterway.  The poor drainage conditions were especially noticeable to landowners along the stream during times when the City was trying to release water from their lagoons.  Phase 2 survey work was authorized after hearing numerous complaints on the drainage southeast of the City of Glyndon. Channel geometry collected included cross-sections, channel centerline profile, sediment test pits, and culverts and bridges along the tributary. The collected channel survey information was used to supplement Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) topography data. LiDAR does not penetrate through water to pick up the bottom of the channel, so ground survey was required to fill in the gap in the LiDAR data that existed in those areas that had water on them at the time of the LiDAR survey. The combination of the LiDAR and ground survey information was used in the planning and development of the restoration design. 

The Project Goals & Objectives for the Glyndon East Tributary Restoration Project are as follows:

  • Improve channel conveyance, for agricultural drainage and lagoon discharge from the City of Glyndon, by the removal of excess sediment and improving undersized culverts within the Glyndon East Tributary
  • Improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient loadings to the creek
  • Restore conveyance through the historical meanders
  • Improve wildlife habitat along the stream corridor
  • Create a funding mechanism, such as a Water Management District, to be used for project implementation and maintenance

The overall goal of the Glyndon East Tributary Restoration Project is to improve the channel conveyance by removing excess sediment, restoring conveyance through the historical meanders, and improving the overall drainage of the current system. In addition, the goal will be to provide and foster stable stream conditions. A stable stream is defined by the MN DNR as a stream that can convey both its water and sediment load while maintaining its general geometric characteristics, including pattern, profile, and dimension. A stable stream neither aggrades nor degrades over time, but instead balances between the processes of erosion and deposition in a way that does not widen or narrow the channel.  

On March 27, 2018, an informational meeting was held with landowners along a unnamed waterway, which we have called “East Tributary”, passing along the east side of the City of Glyndon.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ongoing area drainage problems.  At the meeting, the group discussed conducting a survey and drone flyover of the channel as a starting point for a possible future project.  The BRRWD Board of Managers authorized this survey at their April 9, 2018, meeting.  An informational meeting to review the survey results has been scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Barnesville office.  Click on the link below to view the survey. 

Glyndon East Tributary Survey 2018

Meeting/Hearing Minutes

 

Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan

BRRW Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan:
Final BWSR Prescribed Plan

The Buffalo-Red River Watershed Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan (BRRW CWMP) was developed out of a statewide program known as the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) authorized by statute (103B.801). It represents an effort to develop a single, concise, and coordinated approach to watershed management. This plan is written to guide local water managers and consolidates policies, programs and implementation strategies from existing data, studies and plans, and incorporates input from multiple planning partners to provide a single plan for management of the watershed. Previously, numerous county and watershed district plans were developed for different areas of this watershed with little attention paid to coordination at the watershed scale. This plan’s purpose is to build on existing plans and information to develop goals and targeted and measurable implementation actions to better manage water resources in this watershed.

The Buffalo-Red River Watershed One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) was reviewed and prescribed by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil (BWSR) on 10/28/20.  Follow the links below to view the final Buffalo-Red River Watershed (BRRW) Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan (CWMP) and Appendix.   

2020 BRRW CWMP

BRRW CWMP Appendix

Thank you on behalf of the members of the BRRW 1W1P LGUs:

The Counties of Becker, Clay, Otter Tail, and Wilkin
The Becker, Clay, West Otter Tail and Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation Districts
The Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

 

1W1P Plan History and Background

The Buffalo-Red River Watershed (BRR) One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) planning area is located in the west central Minnesota. The approved boundary is the same as the Buffalo-Red Watershed District (BRRWD) Boundary as recommended to BWSR by the 1W1P Planning Committee. The planning area drains 1,785 square miles, contains all or parts of three major watersheds: Buffalo River, Otter Tail River, and Upper Red River, and  encompasses parts of Becker, Clay, Otter Tail, and Wilkin counties.

The Buffalo-Red River watershed is one of seven areas that are participating in the second round of 1W1P that has been approved by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). The BRRWD is working with local government agencies from Becker, Clay, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties to create a single plan for the watersheds. Cooperation throughout multiple, connected jurisdictions is important because water management in one county affects the waters of all the other counties. Participation in the 1W1P Program will benefit the LGUs by combining our planning efforts and reducing redundancy in time and dollars used for plan writing and meetings.  

The 1W1P will establish clear implementation timelines, milestones and cost estimates for restoration and protection activities. Combining multiple water planning efforts into one effort will create a more efficient and cooperative plan for water management. Plans will include goals and implementation actions that are prioritized and targeted on a watershed basis with measurable results, instead of the present individual plans that are restricted to political boundaries.

One Watershed, One Plan Information

1W1P Fact Sheet (BWSR)

BWSR 1W1P Website 


 

News & Updates

The Buffalo-Red River 1W1P Advisory and Policy Committees typically meet on the 4th Wednesday of each month from 9:00 AM to Noon in the BRRWD Office, 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.

The next meeting dates:  
  
Planning Team: To Be Announced
A
dvisory Committee:  To Be Announced
Policy Committee:  To Be Announced

     

Approved Meeting Minutes


Meeting Dates/Materials

  • May 4, 2018 1W1P Policy Committee Meeting
  • April 18, 2018 Planning Team Meeting
    Planning Team reviewed a draft budget and workplan and will forward final documents for the Policy Committee’s review at their 5/4/18 meeting.

 

  • April 6, 2018 1W1P Policy Committee Meeting.
    Committee approved the Bylaws and all the participating entities have approved the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).


 

Buffalo-Red River 1W1P Documents and Links

Approved Bylaws:   Bylaws

Approved Memorandum of Agreement:  MOA 


Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project

Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project

Whiskey Creek 4-07-21 Hearing Minutes

Whiskey Creek 4-07-21 Hearing Power Point Presentation

Engineer’s Report 11-19-20

Wetland Management District Fee Determination

Environmental Assessment Worksheet Availability Notice 

Environmental Assessment Worksheet

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Record of Decision

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), is working with the Wilkin County Environmental Office regarding a grant they secured from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to look at a potential project involving Whiskey Creek near Kent, MN. 

Whiskey Creek is a tributary to the Red River of the North located in Wilkin County, MN. The creek is one of many natural waterways within the BRRWD political boundary.  The Whiskey Creek subwatershed is approximately 157 square miles in area and extends from northeast of Rothsay in Otter Tail County flowing through the Red River Prairie eco-region in Wilkin County, outletting near Kent, Minnesota. Drainage within the subwatershed generally runs from east to west and south to north, though portions in the upper subwatershed drain north to south.

The Whiskey Creek subwatershed was only recently added within the BRRWD political boundary when the District expanded in 2012. However, discussions about a potential project involving Whiskey Creek have been occurring between landowners and Wilkin County for at least 20 years. Wilkin County, in partnership with the BRRWD, secured a 2016 Clean Water Fund (CWF) Accelerated Implementation Grant (AIG) from the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources (BWSR) to begin studying the creek and investigating what could be done. The scope of work for the AIG included civic engagement, topographic survey data collection, hydraulic modeling, project development, preliminary engineering design, and reporting.

With the AIG grant funding, the BRRWD collected the existing channel geometry for Whiskey Creek and its public waters tributaries starting in the summer of 2016 and completed in the winter of 2017. Channel geometry collected included cross-sections, channel centerline profile, sediment test pits, and culvert and bridges along Whiskey Creek, the Wilkin County Ditch 1A/1B Tributary, and the Wilkin County Ditch 6A Tributary. The collected channel survey information was used to supplement Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) topography data. LiDAR does not penetrate through water to pick up the bottom of the channel, so ground survey was required to fill in the gap in the LiDAR data that existed in those areas that had water on them at the time of the LiDAR survey. In addition to conventional GPS rover survey collection, stream bathymetry data was collected in regions where water depths exceeded wadable conditions. The combination of the LiDAR, ground survey, and stream bathymetric survey information was used in the planning and development of the restoration design.

The Project Goals & Objectives for the Whiskey Creek Restoration Project are as follows:

· Improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient loadings to the creek
· Improve natural waterway drainage
· Improve wildlife habitat along the stream corridor
· Reduce sediment loading downstream
· Reduce the occurrence and magnitude of flood damages to agricultural fields and adjacent residential properties


 Fundamentally, the goal of the Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project is to provide and foster stable stream conditions. A stable stream is defined by the MN DNR as a stream that is able to convey both its water and sediment load while maintaining its general geometric characteristics, including pattern, profile, and dimension. A stable stream neither aggrades nor degrades over time, but instead balances between the processes of erosion and deposition in a way that does not widen or narrow the channel.

The CWF AIG Final Study Report, prepared by Houston Engineering, Inc., dated February 7, 2018, (available below) was presented to the public at the 12/13/18 landowners’ informational meeting.

Final Study Report 

December 13, 2018 Landowner Informational Meeting

June 27, 2017 Landowner Meeting documents and notice

MPCA MS4 Regulations

BRRWD MS4 Boundary Map

Municipal Stormwater Management

Rain and melting snow create runoff as they move across the landscape to lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. In urban areas, most stormwater falls on streets, sidewalks, parking lots, roofs, and other hard surfaces and carries pesticides, fertilizers, oils, metals, salt, bacteria, litter, yard waste, sediment, and other materials down storm drains and into lakes and streams. Unlike wastewater, most stormwater is not treated before it empties into nearby bodies of water. Not surprisingly, stormwater runoff is a leading source of water pollution.

In addition to the contaminants it carries, stormwater runoff from hard, urban surfaces travels faster and in larger quantities, the force of which damages rivers, streams and wetlands and can destroy habitats for fish and other aquatic life. Impervious surfaces also prevent stormwater from filtering into the ground and recharging groundwater.

A public entity’s stormwater system (ditches, stormwater ponds, curbs and gutters, storm drains, catch basins, storm sewer pipes, and so on) is called a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). This does not include systems where wastewater and stormwater are combined. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regulates MS4 systems as mandated by the federal Clean Water Act with the goal of improving water quality by reducing pollutants in stormwater discharges. MS4 regulations require that owners/operators educate citizens on stormwater management issues and include them in solving stormwater problems, make plans to detect and stop illicit discharges, control runoff on construction sites, and more.

The MPCA has identified the portion of the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) near Moorhead and Dilworth as a MS4 area.  Additional rules apply to projects in this area.  See the BRRWD MS4 Boundary Map on this page.  If you have a project in this area draining to a BRRWD project, additional rules apply.  See Section 8 of the BRRWD Rules.

The MPCA conducts outreach efforts intended to educate city staff, contractors, governmental units and their constituents on the State of Minnesota Construction Stormwater (CSW) permitting and erosion and sediment control requirements associated with construction activities. These requirements apply on sites disturbing more than 1 acre of soil and on sites disturbing less than one acre of soil but part of a larger plan; for example, a subdivision where cumulatively, the construction activities on all of the lots would result in more than one acre of soil disturbance.

Included below are educational materials and tools that can assist you in meeting the MS4 requirements. Links have been provided below that hit the highlights of the Construction Stormwater (CSW) program. They can be useful in understanding the CSW permitting requirements.

  • Construction Stormwater Brochure
    https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/wq-strm2-111.pdf
    We developed a brochure that may be of use to the counties and would be an easy thing to hand out. It covers the permitting requirements and the “Why” on one side and on the inside it has a 10 steps to compliance that could be very helpful to the permittees, developers, builders, etc.

 

Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration

 

BRRWD Receives the Minnesota Environmental Initiative
2020 Rural Vitality Award for the Wolverton Creek Restoration

Read more about the MEI 2020 Awards

“Wolverton Creek Restoration is a strong example of a project that engaged a significant part of the community (450 landowners) and had a broad outcome (105 square miles within the watershed) – all within a culture and community where this has proven contentious or difficult in the past. We see this two-stage natural prairie stream replicable in other areas and regions and look forward to seeing how this effort can be exemplified and repeated.”

– Rural Vitality Category Evaluation Team

2019 Drone Ground Level View of the Wolverton Creek Restoration Channel 
2019 Drone Birds-eye View of the Wolverton Creek Restoration Channel 

The Buffalo-Red River Watershed District has developed a multi-phase comprehensive strategy to improve water quality and protect the valuable resource of Wolverton Creek in an extensively drained agricultural HUC-12 watershed. Wolverton Creek is a 23.5-mile long tributary to the Red River of the North with 8.2 miles of the Creek in Clay County and the remaining 15.3 miles in Wilkin County. The watershed is approximately 104 square miles and is located within Holy Cross and Alliance Townships of Clay County and Wolverton, Deerhorn, Roberts, and Mitchell Townships of Wilkin County. About two-thirds of Wolverton Creek is Public Water and the remaining upstream one-third is not considered Public Water. The section line between Sections 26 and 35, Wolverton Township, is the divide where Wolverton Creek becomes Public Water. There are several County Ditch Systems in the project area (Wilkin County Ditch Nos. 5A, 22, and 26; Clay County Ditch Nos. 36, 53, and 60; and Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1) as well as several natural waterways that flow into Wolverton Creek. Wolverton Creek is the outlet for these ditch systems and natural waterways.

Beginning over a century ago, streams in the Red River Basin have been straightened, ditched, cleared, and snagged with the goal of improving drainage and agricultural production. Wolverton Creek is one of the streams that has experienced these impacts. For some time now, the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) has been looking at options to improve wildlife habitat, increase wildlife habitat connectivity, improve water quality, and to reduce flooding conditions in the Wolverton Creek drainage area. Landowners in the area requested that the Watershed District investigate the problems associated with Wolverton Creek and find solutions to correct these problems. The BRRWD along with the Clay and Wilkin SWCDs aim to reduce erosion and sedimentation in Wolverton Creek. A watershed-wide solution has been developed to correct the current issues being experienced along Wolverton Creek and its tributaries. The solution includes channel restoration, installation of side inlets and other sediment control BMPs within the Wolverton Creek Watershed, and installation of expanded buffer strips along Wolverton Creek. The outlet reach of Wolverton Creek downstream of Trunk Highway 75 was previously restored through the installation of a series of rock riffles, vegetative buffers, and sediment BMPs. Previous work also included installing vegetative buffers, erosion control, and sediment BMPs on all legal drainage systems draining into Wolverton Creek. 

Our current focus is on Phase 1 of the overall project (3 phases), which is located in the middle reach of the Wolverton Creek and is critical for completion of project features upstream.  The sediment reduction project is a three-pronged attack:  install sediment BMP controls, expand riparian buffers to significantly reduce sediment loading to Wolverton Creek and its tributaries, and restore Wolverton Creek to improve channel stability and reduce the in-stream sediment loading. The total estimated Phase 1 (Reach B) costs are $3,700,000.  The project was awarded $2.8 million from the Targeted Watershed Program fund, $1.877 million from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council Fund, and $100,000 from the Enbridge Eco-Footprint Grant Program.  The required local match (25% of grant funds) is $700,000. 

Project Partners:

  • Buffalo-Red River Watershed District
  • Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Clay Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Natural Resource Conservation Office
  • Landowners

Wolverton Creek Easement Acquisition Process

Engineer’s Design Report

BWSR Advisory Comments For Engineer’s Report

Proposed Water Management District Charge Determination

Wolverton Creek Sediment Reduction Fact Sheet

Wolverton Creek Sediment Reduction Project Schedule

Wolverton Creek Sediment Reduction Work Plan 06/27/16

Read more about the Clean Water Stories on the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Website.

 

 

 

FM Diversion Project/Permit Application

The Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority submitted an application for Permit No.19-003 in January 2019 for the FM Diversion “Plan B”.  The BRRWD subsequently denied that permit and filed a request for contested case hearing regarding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Diversion permit for Plan B.  The BRRWD and the Diversion Authority are currently in litigation regarding these two issues.   

4/23/19 Diversion Permit Public Meeting (YouTube)
4/23/19 Diversion Meeting Attendance Sheet (PDF)
4/23/19 FM DA Presentation (PDF)
4/23/19 Charlie Anderson Alternatives Presentation (PDF)
4/23/19 Richland-Wilkin JPA Proposed Mediation Letter (PDF)

Related materials can be found below: 

Gruenberg Drainage Investigation

Landowners in Section 34, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, brought a drainage concern to the Board of Managers, BRRWD, at their May 28, 2019, meeting.  In response, the Board authorized Houston Engineering, Inc. to conduct a drainage investigation for a tributary to Wolverton Creek in Sections 15, 22, 27, and 34, Wolverton Township.  The results can be viewed with the link below:

Gruenberg Drainage Investigation

8/29/19 Gruenberg Waterway Informational Meeting Minutes

Lower Otter Tail River Restoration

In 2015, a number of agency and resource personnel met to discuss the LOTR and possible ways to improve the river. In the 1950s, portions of the LOTR in Wilkin County were straightened by the Army Corps of Engineers.  This greatly reduced the length of the river and steepened the slope, resulting in reduced habitat diversity and quality, and contributed to impaired water quality.  A future project’s potential benefits could include improved water quality, increased flood capacity, wildlife corridor and high quality habitat, better fish habitat, and increased recreational opportunities.  A total maximum daily load (TMDL) study was completed for the LOTR in 2006.  At that time, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that the annual sediment load was 40,400 tons at the gauging site in Breckenridge.  Two primary sediment sources were identified, including the adjacent fields, ditches, and streams and from streambank erosion.

Since the group first met, the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) has applied for a Federal Section 319 EPA grant through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). That grant was approved in the amount of $242,000.  The 319 work plan includes several objectives, including civic engagement and outreach; channel restoration survey to establish the existing channel conditions; channel restoration and sediment reduction engineering design; and grant administration/reporting.  Last fall, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) obtained a grant through the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) in the amount of $203,013 to be used as a match for the EPA funding.  Also, the BRRWD has applied for a Section 1135 feasibility investigation through the Army Corps of Engineers, which was recently approved to provide the means for the St. Paul District of the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake an investigation of potential fish and wildlife habitat restoration measures at full Federal expense up to $100,000.  02/11/16.

Lower Otter Tail River Vision Statement

Meeting Minutes

 

Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation

FACT SHEET 

Oakport Hunting Map

Oakport Hunting Authorization

 
The spring flood of 1997 was devastating for the entire Red River Basin. In the Oakport area, over 150 homes were damaged, and over 200 homes isolated from public safety and services. Similar events in 1969, 2000, and 2001 prompted the Oakport residents to seek permanent flood control. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was asked to do a 205 Feasibility Study. In 2001, the USACE reported that a project would not meet their criteria. In November 2002, the Township asked the BRRWD to develop a project in accordance with Watershed Law. The BRRWD accepted the task, and construction of the $36 million project started in 2008. The project was not finished during the 2009 spring flood, so emergency measures were implemented, as necessary. The seven phases of the project were completed in 2016. The two individual levee systems, totaling approximately five miles in length, will be certified by FEMA.

Oakport Project Costs/Revenue

CostsRevenue
Dike Construction$22 M DNR$31 M
Buyouts$9 MLocal Benefits$3 M
Easements$1 MBRRWD$1 M
Engineering$2.5 MSale of Properties$0.75 M
Levee Certification$0.5 MAudubon Society Seeding$0.25 M
Geotechnical$0.5 M
Administrative$0.5 M

Link

The outlet from Turtle Lake was started on March 31, 2021 and stopped on April 16, 2021 as it was at the maximum drawdown elevation.

The outlet from Long Lake was started on March 26, 2021 and stopped on April 23, 2021.

We will monitor lake levels throughout the summer and operate siphon outlets as needed.

The property where the siphons are located is private property.  Please respect the rights of these landowners and don’t trespass. If you have any questions or concerns about the siphon system, please direct them to the BRRWD. If you have questions about your Assessment, please review the Explanation and the Appraisers Report below.

Links

Current Lake Levels Graph

Historic Lake Levels Graph

2018 Appraisers Report Update

2013 Appraisers Report

Assessment Explanation

1999 Appraisers Report

This page was last updated on July 14, 2021.