Monthly Archives: June 2018

Otter Tail River Watershed Assessment

The Otter Tail River Watershed covers 1,249,541 acres. The river begins in Clearwater County and snakes through Becker, Otter Tail, and Wilkin Counties before joining the Bios de Sioux River to form the Red River of the North in Breckenridge. The Buffalo-Red River Watershed District is working across the watershed with many other organizations to assess how clean the water is. A large amount of data has been gathered, and it will take time to sift through it. This process may take several years to complete, so stay tuned for future updates on water quality in the watershed. To learn more about the Watershed Assessment (also called WRAPS) please visit this page:



BRRWD Awards Construction Contract

At their regular meeting held on June 25, 2018, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed the construction bid results for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration-Phase 1. The low bid was $1,813,440.40 from Sellin Brothers, Inc. The Engineer’s estimate was $2,180,510. The Board awarded the contract to Sellins, subject to the completion of the Phase 1 temporary easement acquisitions.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,032,098.74. Income since the 6/11/18 meeting was $125,158.71 from Becker County for their 2018 1st half tax proceeds. Total 2018 income to date is $1,197,981.65. The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $12,309.13. 

  • Approved permits to Robert Yaggie for his 2017 tile project in the SW¼, Section 26, Manston Township, Wilkin County, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way and for County approval of the revised ditch plans with the agreement that the tile operation be stopped if downstream flooding occurs before the outlet is modified; Eglon Township to remove/reset an existing 18″ dia. culvert in the N½, Section 29 near Hawley and remove/replace approximately 500′ of road section on 255th ST S; Elkton Township to replace an existing 48″ dia. round culvert in 120th AVE S in the SW¼, Section 36, with a new line of 57″ x 38″ arch pipe with aprons; John Boen to clean a natural waterway in the E½, Section 29, Norwegian Grove Township, Otter Tail County, for about 1,500′ west from the township road with the possible future installation of random tile for about 2-3 acres on the east end of the waterway; Oscar Township to clean an existing overflow ditch in the SE¼, Section 20, to the original specifications; and the City of Dilworth to install streets/utilities and a storm water pond for the East View 4th Addition in the W½SE¼, Section 1, Moorhead Township, Clay County. 

  • Noted that a landowner informational meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, June 28, 2018, at 8:00 AM in our Barnesville office to discuss the proposed ditch along 220th ST. The ditch would route water west in Sections 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, outletting to Whiskey Creek. 

  • Discussed a possible plugged or broken tile in Sections 16 and 21, Norwegian Grove Township, Otter Tail County, that is backing water into Sections 15 and 16. The staff will work with the landowners to help them address their drainage problem. 

  • Discussed Humboldt Township’s permit application to replace an existing 60″ dia. culvert and two lines of 48″ dia. pipe with two lines of 64″ x 43″ corrugated metal arch pipe (CMP-A) and one line of 77″ x 52″ CMP-A for the Pearl View Estates subdivision in Section 27. The Township will need a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit to work in protected waters. 

  • Agreed to hire a helicopter service to spray the vegetation along Wolverton Creek prior to construction. 

  • Noted that BRRWD Attorney Tami Norgard, Vogel Law Firm, has determined that the petition and bond are adequate to proceed with the partial improvement of Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1. Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) will prepare the Preliminary Engineer’s Report, and the BRRWD will schedule a petitioners’ meeting to discuss the project development process. 

  • Noted that the Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 Ditch Committee will meet on Thursday, July 12, 2018, at 11:00 AM in Fergus Falls. Managers Fjestad, Anderson, and Larson serve on the Committee along with two appointees from Otter Tail County. 

  • Approved a proposal from Prairie Restorations, Inc. to restore a wetland mitigation site for the Oakport Flood Mitigation project that isn’t meeting the Wetlands Conservation Act establishment criteria due to the lack of site hydrology. The cost estimate for the restoration is $15,000. Board approval is subject to a cost share from Audubon Dakota and agency approval to retain 50% of the wetland credits. 

  • Noted that a hearing to review two petitions to add and remove lands in Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 44, 13, and 13-Lateral is scheduled for 6/26/18 at 7:30 PM in Barnesville. 

  • Approved a Clay C.D. No. 40 bridge removal project in Section 27, Kurtz Township, estimated to cost $2,000. 

  • Approved a $200 contribution to the Becker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Annual Soil Health event in Lake Park on August 29, 2018. 

  • Approved entering into a Percent Based Conservation Practices contract with the Clay SWCD for partial funding for the Clay C.D. No. 23 outlet stabilization repairs. 

  • Reviewed the results of HEI’s preliminary survey and drone flight for the waterway passing through Sections 1, 2, and 12, Glyndon Township, Section 7, Riverton Township, and Section 35, Moland Township, Clay County. The survey results were also forwarded to the City of Glyndon. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, July 9, 2018, 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



BRRWD Receives Agency Updates

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) held their regular meeting on June 11, 2018, in Barnesville. They met with representatives from three organizations, who presented updates regarding their activities.

Pete Waller, Board Conservationist, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), provided a summary of the 2018 Legislation Session funding allocations related to BWSR programs. The Legislature approved $15 million for the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to fund Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) wetland and buffer easements that will be used for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Waller reported that BWSR has been working with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts around the state to obtain input regarding CREP marketing. Using this input, BWSR staff presented their recommendations to the BWSR Board RIM Committee, which could bring about some changes to the CREP program that would provide better incentives to participating landowners. Waller thought the BWSR Board would act on the recommendations this month and the new program guidelines could be operational by July, which he felt would help the BRRWD implement our Wolverton Creek Restoration easement acquisition process.

Julie Goehring, South Basin Manager, Red River Basin Commission (RRBC), presented a funding proposal to update the RRBC’s 2011 Long Term Flood Solutions (LTFS) report. The RRBC is looking for matching funds ($10,000) for a potential Minnesota Pollution Control Agency $30,000 FY 2018-2019 Environmental Assistance grant for Communities Adapting to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Patterns. The Clay County Board of Commissioners agreed to sponsor the grant application, and the RRBC asked the BRRWD and the Wild Rice Watershed District to split the $10,000 local grant match 75/25. After discussion, the Board approved a $7,500 contribution to the RRBC’s LTFS update grant application. The application submission deadline is 6/26/18. The total estimated cost for the LTFS update is $500,000. Other funding sources could include the Red River Joint Water Resource District and the North Dakota Joint Water Resource Board, Cass County, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Red River Watershed Management Board (RRWMB).

Rob Sip, Executive Director, RRWMB, gave the Board an update of the RRWMB activities since he took over his position last fall. He discussed the recent staff and organizational changes they have made and the RRWMB’s goals and mission. Currently, the RRWMB is going through a strategic planning effort. Sip discussed the current challenges for watershed districts in the Red River basin, including flood hazard mitigation funding issues and future/current projects and future opportunities to work with the member districts to get projects completed. He distributed a sample questionnaire for the BRRWD’s review and input.  

Other business included:

  • Approved the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, summary of income, and the accounts receivable report. Cash on hand is $2,079,412.24. Administrative disbursements for the month are $34,094.71 and for the year total $71,781.92. Current 2018 accounts receivable are $5,873,008. Our total income for the year is $1,072,822.94. Income since the 4/9/18 meeting was $621,427.74. Receipts came primarily from Otter Tail County ($54,625.11) and Wilkin County ($565,156.11) for their 2018 first half property/ditch tax proceeds. The balance of the income came from bank account interest ($1,421.52) and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) office rent ($225). The Board approved payment of bills totaling $172,472.21. 

  • Approved permits to Justin Rasmusson to install a new residential driveway/culvert in the SE¼, Section 22, Oakport Township, Clay County, with the requirement that the new pipe match adjacent structure sizings, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Harmen Tande to finish his 2017 tiling project in the E½NW¼, Section 25, Oakport Township, Clay County, outletting one mile north to Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 35, to which it is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Nate Thompson to regrade the ditch along 70th AVE S in the NE¼, Section 12, Elkton Township, Clay County, to regrade a field lateral, and to install a new dry approach in the north east corner of the property, entering 180th ST S, all subject to township approval to work within their road R/W. 

  • Discussed a drainage dispute in Section 3, Callaway Township, Becker County, regarding two unpermitted tile outlets that were installed to discharge onto downstream property without the landowner’s approval. Both landowners were requested to file after-the-fact permit applications with the stipulation that they must work with their neighbor to obtain his approval for their projects. Letters will be sent to the affected parties, asking them to work together to find a solution to their drainage issues. 

  • Authorized a letter be sent to a local contractor, who has installed tile for several landowners in Becker County, advising him that it is his responsibility to be aware of the BRRWD Rules requiring landowners to have approved permits prior to installing projects. 

  • Noted that a hearing to review two petitions to add and remove lands in Wilkin C.D. Nos. 44, 13, and 13-Lateral is scheduled for 6/26/18 at 7:30 PM in Barnesville. 

  • Noted that a Manager field review has been scheduled for 6/14/18 at 7:30 AM regarding a 2017 tiling project in the SW¼, Section 26, Manston Township, Wilkin County, to discuss downstream ditch grading and wetland issues at the outlet. A landowner informational meeting will be held on 6/19/18 at 8:00 AM in Barnesville. Until the downstream issues are resolved, the landowner cannot operate his tile. 

  • Reviewed survey results regarding a drainage concern in the SW¼, Section 11, Morken Township, Clay County, along the east side of 90th ST N. The survey shows that the ditch along the landowner’s property has about 1′ of sediment and there is also sediment in the County Road No. 108 culvert. The Clay County Highway Department has agreed to extend the culvert to prevent sediment from washing in from the road. HEI also forwarded the results to the landowner, who can clean his ditch without a BRRWD permit, subject to township approval to work within their R/W. 

  • Discussed a ditch cleanout concern in Section 1, Barnesville Township, Clay County. Staff will contact the landowner regarding erosion concerns. 

  • Authorized staff to send letters to the landowners in Sections 20 and 21, Hamden Township, Becker County, regarding the results of a 6/7/18 Manager field review and advising them that the BRRWD has determined that the terms of Permit No. 16-123 were not violated, and the tile project in Section 21 only contributes approximately 7% of the total drainage entering the low area in Section 20. The Board will work with the landowner of the outlet in Section 20 to be sure any downstream obstructions to Becker C.D. No. 5 are removed so his tile will drain properly in the spring. 

  • Discussed an ongoing water problem in Section 14, Hamden Township, Becker County, associated with a proposed 2011 United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) tile installation meant to address a water problem on cropland adjacent to the Hamden National Wildlife Refuge. The Board authorized HEI to prepare a cross section of the road through the culvert, showing the culvert elevation and the water elevation when USFWS applied for the tile permit and the current water level to review at the next Mediation Project Team meeting.

  • Discussed the 6/4/18 landowner informational meeting held regarding Wilkin/Otter Tail Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 2 and appointed Managers Anderson, Fjestad, and Larson to serve on the J.D. No. 2 ditch committee. 

  • Discussed the status of Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration-Phase 1. The landowners are starting to return their signed easement options, and HEI has prepared the Phase 1 Plans and Specifications. A construction bid opening is scheduled for 6/25/18. The Board authorized HEI to hire a company for vegetation on Wolverton Creek prior to construction. 

  • Accepted the Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin J.D. No. 1-Improvement petition and bond. HEI was appointed to prepare the Preliminary Engineer’s Report, subject to the BRRWD Attorney’s review. 

  • Approved repairs for Clay C.D. Nos. 20, 23, and 32, and crossing replacements for Clay C.D. No. 28, Becker C.D. No. 15, and Wilkin C.D. No. 12. 

  • Noted that BRRWD Administrator Bruce Albright and Managers Fjestad, Van Amburg, and Hanson plan to attend the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Summer Tour on June 20-22, 2018, in Chanhassen, MN. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, June 25, 2018, 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