Weekend Rains Cause Problems for BRRWD


Weekend Rains Cause Problems for BRRWD 

At their regular meeting held in Barnesville on Monday, June 8, 2015, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), heard several complaints regarding problems that occurred during the heavy rainfall events that took place on June 6, 2015.  A homeowner north of Barnesville, in Section 18, Humboldt Township, said that a neighboring field to the east of his property had severe erosion.  The water and sediment coming off the field flooded his yard.  He was concerned that something needed to be done to fix the erosion, because if we get another heavy rain, the problem could be worse and flood his basement.  The Board of Managers, BRRWD, agreed to schedule a meeting with all of the affected area landowners as soon as possible.  

Flooding problems occurred again along Wilkin-Otter Tail Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 2, in Sections 7 and 18, Orwell Township.  The landowner, Dan Bradow, was in attendance at the meeting.  He said his area did not receive that much rain, but water flowing down the J.D. system overtopped the east spoil bank and flooded approximately 100 acres of his property.  The two areas in question are Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) protected waters (Lake Alice and Shaw Slough).  An investigation regarding this same complaint was conducted last fall by Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI).  The ditch system in that area is actually deeper than the 1978-1979 improvement grade line.  There is a dike on the west side of J.D. 2, which actually provides protection benefits for the landowners in Wilkin County.  HEI was directed to conduct an analysis of whether or not the low areas, which recently overtopped, could be raised with the understanding that the east spoil bank will still need to be lower than the west spoil bank.  Erik S. Jones, Engineer, HEI, said that he would try to have the report done for the 06/22/15 BRRWD meeting.  

Other business included: 

  • Continued discussion regarding a drainage issue in Sections 23 and 24, Hamden Township, Becker County. In the fall of 2013, an upstream landowner replaced tile on his property. In the fall of 2014, the downstream landowner plugged the tile on his property. Last fall, the upstream landowner installed a surface drainage ditch along the east side of 220th AVE to drain north to a natural waterway. That ditch now carries approximately 75% of the tile and surface drainage to the north, where before, that water all had to go through the tile system to the west. The downstream landowners were in attendance. The BRRWD also had their attorney find a Brown County Court case, which was very similar, where the Court directed that a downstream landowner could not plug a tile system. Based on all of the facts, the Board made a motion for the downstream landowner to remove the concrete that he placed in the tile with the understanding that the upstream landowner would maintain his drainage along 220th AVE. They also approved a permit for the downstream landowner to install a sediment control basin downstream of where the 8″ diameter tiling in question outlets.

  • Approval of permits to: LBJ Butenhoff Farms to remove and reinstall approaches in the SW1/4, Section 12, Alliance Township, Clay County; Darwin Hendrickson to install sediment control basins designed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Section 18, Audubon Township, Becker County; Todd Johnson to tile low areas in the N1/2, Section 25, Prairie View Township, Wilkin County; Jeff Pender to install an approach with a 30″ diameter culvert on the north side of 110th AVE S, SE1/4, Section 28, Skree Township, Clay County; Skree Township to install a 18″ diameter culvert through a minimum maintenance road between Sections 29 and 32; and David Grommesh to install an approach along 140th ST S to gain access into the SW1/4, Section 21, Barnesville Township, Clay County.

  • Discussed a complaint about a flap gate located on the north side of 300th ST, in the SW1/4, Section 12, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County. A downstream landowner filed a complaint because occasionally the flap gate is open, allowing water to escape to the south. The upstream landowner questions the need for the gate. The BRRWD will schedule a field meeting with all of the affected parties. 

  • Noting that in accordance with M.S.A. 103E.305, the first meeting of the Viewers for Project No. 77, Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 51-Proposed Lateral No. 3, will be held on Friday, June 12, 2015, at 8:00 AM in the Barnesville office. Landowners will be invited to attend the meeting at 9:30 AM to present their finding to the Viewers. After the Viewers’ Report is filed, the Board can schedule the final hearing. 

  • Discussed the status of Project No. 71, City of Moorhead 50th AVE Flood Control. Gladen Construction, Inc. still has one defective gate that they need to replace. Bruce E. Albright, BRRWD Administrator, said once the construction contract in closed, the office can calculate the landowner project costs. 

  • Noting that the office is still trying to schedule a hearing date (most likely July) regarding repairs needed on Clay C.D. No. 11 by Rustad. The outlet structure along County State Aid Highway No. 8 failed earlier this year. There are also slumping and erosion problems to address in Sections 32 and 33, Kurtz Township. 

  • Pertaining to the Manson Slough Restoration Project, the Board agreed to reset several ditch culverts installed in the SE1/4, Section 1, Nordick Township. 

  • Noting that the office is working with Vogel Law Firm regarding acquisition of one remaining parcel in the City of Georgetown needed to finish the flood control levee. The condemnation proceedings have started. It appears we will be able to see a District Court Judge sometime in mid-July. 

  • Noting that a landowner has asked the Board to reconsider “Phase 3” of the Deerhorn Creek Levee Project. Phase 1 was the reconstruction of Wilkin C.D. No. 42 along County Road (C.R.) No. 188. Phase 2 was the actual installation of the levees along the creek channel. Phase 3 was always going to be a future project that would look at retention for this drainage area. While several sites have been identified, no further work has been done in that regard. 

  • Received the 2014 financial audit as prepared by Harold J. Rotunda, Certified Public Accountant, West Fargo, ND. The BRRWD’s net assets at the end of 2014 were $652,558. The District’s total revenues for 2014 were $6,453,097. Total expenses were $6,824,821. A copy of the financial audit can be found on the BRRWD’s website at www.brrwd.org

  • Noting that the next Mediation Project Team meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 9, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office. Active projects include: Barnesville Township Area Study, Stony Creek, and Phase 1 for the South Branch of the Buffalo River in Wilkin County. The Board agreed to also do some additional survey work pertaining to the Barnesville Township Area Study. There is an unnamed tributary located in Wilkin County that will be added to the grade profiles. 

  • Noting that a meeting was held with several Stakke Lake landowners south of Lake Park on June 2, 2015, in the Watershed office. Landowners are concerned about the stabilizing the lake’s outlet and access from a bay located in the NW corner. The banks around Stakke Lake are fairly steep except on the north end, where a landowner is using the lake as an outlet for a drained wetland basin. The Board determined that the next steps would include meeting with the DNR, the Becker County Planning and Zoning Office, and the north shore landowner.

  • Noting that Managers and Staff plan on attending the Minnesota Association of Watershed District’s Summer Tour, which will be held on June 24-26, 2015, in Duluth. 

  • Nothing that Manager Fjestad and Administrator Albright plan to attend the Minnesota Association of Water Quality Certification Program meeting in Winona on June 17-18, 2015. 

  • Pertaining to the Wolverton Creek Restoration Project, grant applications were submitted last week to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council ($4,963,000) and the MARC&D Ecofootprint ($300,000). 

  • Noting that last week, the office received notice from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that our grant application for US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding through the EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Grant Program for federal fiscal year 2015 has been approved. The amount of the grant award is $242,000. The application will be submitted to EPA for review and comment. The next step will be to develop a work plan, budget, and schedule for the proposal. The funding will be used to analyze the Otter Tail River channel and tributaries, beginning at the Red River of the North and continuing upstream to Orwell Dam. Back in the 1950s, portions of the Otter Tail River were straightened by an Army Corps of Engineers project. 

  • Reviewed repair recommendations from HEI pertaining to Clay C.D. No. 40, where some field inlets need to be replaced through C.R. No. 65 for drainage in the SE1/4, Section 21, Kurtz Township, and Clay C.D. No. 11, where an existing reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) through 28th ST S between Sections 33 and 34 needs to be realigned and the joints protected. Both repairs were approved. 

  • Noting that a repair request has been filed to look at the outlet of Clay C.D. No. 51 in Sections 16 and 21, Kragnes Township. The Board authorized HEI to conduct an investigation. 

  • Approved the payment of bills, totaling $178,512.70. 

The next meeting of the Board of Managers, BRRWD, is scheduled for Monday, June 22, 2015, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville 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.