Category Archives: News

BRRWD Approves Buffer Orders

At their May 24, 2021, regular meeting held in Barnesville at 7:00 PM, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), approved the Findings and Order for the Clay County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 12, 21, 55, 58, and 69 buffer strip installations  The hearing for the buffer installation was held on 5/13/21.  

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 5/24/21 financial update. Cash on hand is $2,910,303.95.  Income received since the 5/10/21 meeting totals $249,222.53, and for the year, totals $2,092,749.73.  Year to date Account Receivables total $14,693,120.38.  The Board approved bills totaling $556,186.19.

  • Awarded the construction contract for the Clay C.D. No. 3 repairs in Section 8, Moland Township, to Northern States Excavating, Inc., Fargo, ND, for their bid of $81,282.

  • Received an update of the 2022 Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council Grant application for Phase 2 of the Buffalo River Watershed Stream Habitat Program. The funding is targeted for District-wide stream restoration projects, including the Upper Buffalo River channel in Becker County and the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River channel in Wilkin County.  Additional potential sites in Clay County could include the Glyndon East Tributary restoration project and the Whisky Creek and its south tributary restoration west of Barnesville. 

  • Discussed updating the BRRWD’s Advisory Committee membership roster. Each Manager will contact potential Committee candidates from their respective counties. 

  • Reviewed a request from the Army Corps of Engineers to purchase 0.5 wetland credits from the BRRWD’s wetland bank by August 2021 to mitigate impacts from the FM Diversion Red River Control Structure on the Minnesota side of the Red River.

  • Reviewed an offer from the Red River Watershed Management Board (RRWMB) to participate in their Light Detection and Ranging data collection effort in the Red River Valley. The RRWMB offered to include non-member Watershed Districts at their member rate of $125-$150/square mile. 

  • Noted that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced that the Otter Tail River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies and Total Maximum Daily Load studies are open for public comment through 6/9/21.

  • Authorized staff to move forward with an update of the BRRWD’s website.

  • Agreed to hold a special Board meeting with the HR Committee to review the Staff Transition Proposal on 6/14/21 at 5:30 PM.

  • Approved a joint funding agreement contract with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to split the costs for the Hawley and Sabin flood stage gaging stations for 10/01/20-9/30/21. The Board also approved a proposal to extend the contract with the USGS from 2022 through 2026. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, June 14, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Interested persons are also able to attend the meetings virtually.  The conference line number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 810 298 227#.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Approves Ditch Repairs

At their May 10, 2021, regular meeting held in Barnesville at 7:00 PM, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), considered several ditch and project repair recommendations.  In response to a landowner complaint about leaking culvert flapgates on the west tributary of the Whisky Creek project in the NW¼, Section 16, Barnesville Township, Clay County, the Board approved the replacement of two flapgates on the east side of 140th ST S.  The Board also approved repairs for a failed culvert on the Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1 through 80th ST S between Sections 28 and 29, Alliance Township, Clay County, and a Becker County Ditch (C.D.) No. 5 culvert through 165th ST in Section 35, Audubon Township, which will also be lowered 1.4′ lower than the current ditch grade.  The BRRWD offered to split the repair costs for the J.D. No. 1 and C.D. No. 5 repairs 50/50 with the Townships. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 5/10/21 financial report. Cash on hand is $2,861,157.17.  Income received since the 4/26/21 meeting totals $899,941.03, and for the year, totals $1,843,525.20.  Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,693,120.38.  The Board approved bills totaling $200,075.75.

  • Approved permits to Steve Kraft to construct rental storage units along Clay C.D. No. 41 east of Trunk Highway No. 75 in the SW¼NE¼, Section 4, Moorhead Township, including onsite grading, a filtration basin, a detention pond, outletting to C.D. No. 41; Clifford Froslie to install pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 34, Prairie View Township, Wilkin County, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Joel Crabtree to install three Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) designed water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the NW¼NW¼, Section 30, Lake Park Township, Becker County; Kevin Lunde to install Becker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) designed water and sediment control basins (4) with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the SW¼, Section 18, Lake Park Township; Jacob Nelson to install Becker SWCD designed water and sediment control basins (13) with surface intakes and an underground outlet in the NE¼NE¼, Section 23, Cuba Township, outletting to Becker C.D. No. 9, and two water and sediment control basins in the NE¼NE¼, Section 21, Lake Park Township, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Novel Energy Solutions to install a 10-acre solar farm on the Luther Blilie property in the SW¼NW¼, Section 5, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County; and Matthew Bjerke to install NRCS designed water and sediment control basins (3) with surface intakes and an underground outlet in Section 5, Lake Park Township, Becker County.

  • Approved the acquisition of temporary construction R/W for the Clay C.D. No. 3 repair project.

  • Authorized signature of the Clay C.D. No. 10 repair project construction contract with Comstock Construction, Inc., Wahpeton, ND.

  • Submitted a request to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for a potential $50,000 in additional funding for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project from unallocated 2020 319 Grant program funds.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, May 24, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Interested persons are also able to attend the meetings virtually.   The conference line number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Establishes New Project

At their April 26, 2021, regular meeting held in Barnesville at 7:00 PM, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), approved the Findings and Order to establish Project No. 81, Whiskey Creek Enhancement.  The project hearing was held on 4/7/21, and the Board heard comments from landowners regarding the proposed Wetland Management District (wmd) fee rates.  The Managers agreed to revise the wmd fee to a flat rate of $1.80/acre for all cultivated agricultural land.  Whiskey Creek is a tributary to the Red River of the North located in Wilkin County, MN. The 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, MN, into the Red River of the North.  The goals and objectives for the restoration project are to 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, and reduce the occurrence and magnitude of flood damages to agricultural fields and adjacent residential properties. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 4/26/21 financial update. Cash on hand is $2,191,763.97.  Income received since the 4/12/21 meeting totals $209,876.51, and for the year, totals $943,361.17.  Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,044,701.38.  The Board approved bills totaling $230,758.33.

  • Approved permits to Hamden Township to raise 260th ST between 170th and 180th AVE and install two lines of 36″ dia. corrugated metal pipe in the natural waterway crossing that outlets north to Becker County Ditch (C.D.) No. 15 in Section 7, Hamden Township; Jay Stenerson to install a field approach/18″dia. culvert in the NE¼, Section 29, Moland Township, Clay County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way, Ollie Anderson to pattern tile the NE¼NW¼, Section 22, Trondhjem Township, Otter Tail County, outletting to C.D. No. 56, to which it is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Brian Bucholz to install a tile line in an existing ditch in the NW¼, Section 31, Oscar Township, Otter Tail County, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Authorized a survey/hydraulic analysis for a possible crossing over Wilkin C.D. No. 7 on the south line of the SW¼, Section 28, Andrea Township, in response to a request from the Township.

  • Authorized staff to prepare the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the Glyndon East Tributary Restoration and to continue project development. Once the EAW process is completed, the BRRWD will finalize construction plans and schedule a final project hearing. 

  • Scheduled buffer hearings for Clay C.D. Nos. 12, 21, 55, 58, and 69 on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office. Notices have been sent to the affected landowners. 

  • Awarded the Clay C.D. No. 10 repair construction contract to Comstock Construction, Inc., Wahpeton, ND, for their bid of $158,400.

  • Authorized signature of the Reinvest In Minnesota easement agreement with Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources for a tract associated with Phase 1 of Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration.

  • Authorized the BRRWD Administrator to sign the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)/Farm Service Agency Assignment of Payment form so that the NRCS can reimburse the BRRWD directly for the Wolverton Creek project’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program seeding costs.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, May 10, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, meetings are conducted online in accordance with M.S.A. Section 13D.021.  The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, masks and social distancing are required.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Approves Buffer Orders

At their April 12, 2021, regular meeting held at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), approved the Findings and Order for the buffer installations on Clay County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 2, 3, and 35. Right-of-way (R/W) staking will take place along those ditch systems in the next few weeks. They also approved the revised damage statements and Order for Clay C.D. No. 39. The Board accepted another round of damage statements for the installation of buffer strips on Clay C.D. Nos. 12, 21, 55, 58, and 69. A hearing date will be scheduled in the near future and notices will be sent to the affected landowners. These ditch hearings are being held in accordance with the 2015 Minnesota Buffer Law, requiring that all legal drainage systems have a one-rod (16.5′) grassed buffer strip. The legislation put the burden of fulfilling this requirement on the landowner. As the drainage authority for the legal ditch systems, the BRRWD decided to work with the ditch system landowners to ensure compliance. Once the buffer R/W is tabulated into damage statements, the drainage authority must hold a hearing with the benefitted landowners. After an Order is approved to acquire the needed R/W, there is a 30-day appeal period. The next step is to stake the R/W in the field and complete buffer seeding. Landowners are compensated for new R/W acquisition, and the R/W will be recorded so that County Assessors can adjust the landowner’s taxable acreage.

The Board also held an informational meeting for the Glyndon East Tributary Restoration at 6:00 PM prior to the regular meeting to discuss the project development with area landowners.

Other Business included:

• Reviewed the BRRWD’s 4/12/21 financial report. Cash on hand is $2,558,902.12. Income received since the 3/22/21 meeting totals $150,840.10, and for the year, totals $733,484.66. Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,200,263.10. The Board approved bills totaling $557,014.66.

• Approved permits to Jay Nord for 157 acres of pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 26, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via lift station across the adjacent property for approximately 500′, eventually to Wolverton Creek; Trygve Skolness to install pattern tile in the W½, Section 23, Moland Township, Clay County, outletting in the southwest corner of the section to Clay C.D. No. 2; Edward Strom to install 143 acres of pattern tile in the NE¼, Section 7, Hamden Township, Becker County, outletting to C.D. Nos. 6 and 15, with the provision that the project avoid the C.D. No. 6 R/W on the west side of his field; Todd Schauer to install 33 acres of tile in the W½SW¼, and the SW¼NW¼, Section 23, Skree Township, Clay County, outletting via gravity to a low area adjacent to Hay Creek; John Jaehning to install a tile main in the NW¼, Section 10, Connelly Township, Wilkin County, in the bottom of an existing surface ditch with two upstream surface inlets, outletting via a lift station to a Whiskey Creek tributary; Clay County Highway Department for two culvert replacements on Clay C.D. No. 10 in the NE¼, Section 13, Kragnes Township, and the NW¼, between Sections 15 and 22, Morken Township; Paul Dubbels to install an approach with a 36″ dia. culvert in the SE¼, Section 6, Humboldt Township, Clay County; Larry Heng to install 25 acres of pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 30, Skree Township, Clay County, outletting to an existing tile project to Spring Creek; Ron Conzemius for 128 acres of pattern tile on the west side of Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9 in the NW¼, Section 16, Manston Township, Wilkin County, outletting via a lift station in the northwest corner of his field into a ditch on the west side of Section 9, eventually to the South Branch of the Buffalo River; Troy Larson to install a new field approach/18″ dia. culvert in the SE¼, Section 10, Akron Township, Wilkin County, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W; and Pheasants Forever for two wetland installation projects in the N½, Section 5, Parke Township, Clay County, and the NW¼ and N½NE¼, Section 10, Manston Township, Wilkin County. All tiling projects are subject to our standard tiling disclaimer, which has recently been revised and can be viewed on the BRRWD’s website.

• Reviewed landowner concerns raised at the 4/7/21 Whiskey Creek Enhancement project hearing regarding the proposed watershed management district (wmd) fee rates for agricultural lands in the project assessment area. After discussion, the Managers agreed to assess all agricultural land at the same wmd rate.

• Approved the 2021-2022 Barnesville High School River Watch project budget, totaling $5,562.56.

• Authorized Houston Engineering, Inc. to prepare the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for Phase 2 of the South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration project in Wilkin County from the Clay County line upstream approximately 20 miles to T.H. No. 9 in Wilkin County. This stretch of the river is listed as Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Public Waters, and the EAW is the first step in the environmental review that is required in order to obtain the DNR permit for the channel restoration.

• Authorized signature of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Memorandum of Understanding with Clay County and the Cities of Moorhead and Dilworth to address overlapping MS4 responsibilities.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, April 26, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, meetings are conducted online in accordance with M.S.A. Section 13D.021. The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699. Conference ID: 365 708 012#. If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, masks and social distancing are required. More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Approves Orders

At their March 22, 2021, regular meeting held at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), considered the Findings and Order for the buffer installations on Clay County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 5, 10, 59, and 65.  The Managers approved the Findings and Order. 

The Board held a petition hearing at 6:00 PM for the NE¼, Section 35, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, to use Wilkin C.D. No. 13 and its Lateral as an outlet for the subsurface (tile) drainage.  During their regular meeting, the Board approved the Findings and Order for the petition. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 3/22/21 financial report. Cash on hand is $2,462,480.21.  Income received since the 3/8/21 meeting totals $96,421.50, and for the year, totals $582,419.56.  Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,350,263.10.  The Board approved bills totaling $54,643.19.

  • Approved permits to Bryan Kritzberger to install tile in the NE¼, Section 35, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, outletting to the C.D. No. 13 ditch system; Curtis Stubstad to tile a portion of the field south of Whisky Creek in the NE¼, Section 19, Barnesville Township, Clay County, outletting to Whisky Creek, with a condition that the tile and lift station be kept a minimum of 100′ south of the channel centerline; Ross Aigner for three tile projects: pattern tile the east headland in the NE¼, Section 7, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, outletting in the northeast corner of the field to Wilkin C.D. No. 26, 91 acres of pattern tile in the E½, Section 1, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, outletting southwest from a lift station to a treatment wetland and then via gravity flow to Wilkin C.D. No. 22-Lateral 3, and 106 acres of pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 4, Manston Township, Wilkin County, outletting from a lift station in the northwest corner of the section to a treatment wetland then via gravity to the Trunk Highway No. 9 ditch, and eventually to the South Branch of the Buffalo River; Paul Daugherty to pattern tile the NE¼, Section 22, Holy Cross Township, Clay County, outletting via gravity to C.D. No. 53; and Tansem Township to lower the culvert in 180th AVE S to the approximate original elevation in the SW¼, Section 35, Tansem Township, Clay County.  All tiling permits are subject to our standard tiling disclaimer. 

  • Received a report from Ben Underhill, Water Planner/Watershed Coordinator, East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), on the Lower Otter Tail Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study. The WRAPS report can be used to identify and prioritized impaired resources in the Lower Otter Tail River watershed to enable the implementation of best management practices.  Local government entities will be able to use the data to prioritize projects and funding opportunities through the One Watershed, One Plan watershed-based funding. 

  • Agreed to submit Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) 2022 funding applications for the continuation of the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration in Wilkin County, Whisky Creek Restoration southwest of Barnesville in Barnesville Township, Clay County, and the Upper Buffalo River Restoration in Callaway Township, Becker County.

  • Approved the International Water Institute’s water quality monitoring contract for the 2021 season. The project budget is estimated not to exceed $23,250. 

  • Approved a $22,000 contribution to the Wilkin SWCD for their 2021 Conservation Marketing and Technical Assistance program.

  • Approved a revision of the BRRWD’s standard tiling permit conditions/disclaimers. The updated permit conditions can be found at brrwd.org.

  • Approved a BRRWD contribution to the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project for up to 20% of the total project costs to be raised by a Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3, district-wide general levy.

  • Authorized the BRRWD Administrator to sign a Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Targeted Watershed Continuation grant agreement amendment for the Wolverton Creek Project.

  • Reviewed the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) for Clay County and the Cities of Moorhead and Dilworth, and the revised the Emergency Response Plans (ERP) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). The Board authorized submittal of the MS4 MOUs, the MS4 Part 2 permit application, and the MS4 Annual Report and approved the changes to the ERP and SOP to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. 

  • Upcoming hearings/meetings: Whiskey Creek Hearing-Wednesday, April 7, 2021; Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 3, and 35, Buffer Strip Hearing-Thursday, April 8, 2021; and Glyndon East Tributary Informational Meeting-Monday, April 12, 2021.  All meetings will be held at 6:00 PM in the Barnesville office with online options. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, April 12, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, meetings are conducted online in accordance with M.S.A. Section 13D.021.  The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, masks and social distancing are required.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Supports Cover Crop Program

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting on March 8, 2021, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville.  The Managers received an update on the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) 2020 Cover Crop Incentive Program.  The SWCD staff worked with local landowners to implement best management practices to improve general soil health.  The program participation grew from 14 contracts for 700 enrolled acres in 2019 to 48 contracts for 2,193 acres in 2020.  The BRRWD agreed to support the 2021 Wilkin County’s Cover Crop Incentive Program with a $25,000 contribution. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 3/08/21 financial report. Cash on hand is $2,648,132.60.  Income received since the 2/22/21 meeting totals $4,077.13, and for the year, totals $485,998.06.  Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,352,296.43.  The Board approved bills totaling $284,107.22.

 

  • Authorized signature of the grant agreement with the Wilkin SWCD to costshare the buffer installation and channel repair on Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 27. The County Highway Department completed the channel repair and the Wilkin SWCD completed the buffer seeding in 2020.

 

  • Approved permits to Steve Thompson to install 221 acres of pattern tile in the S½NE½ and the SE¼, Section 19, Barnesville Township, Clay County, outletting via a lift station to the north through an underground tile line across the neighboring property to Whisky Creek/Clay C.D. No. 34, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Clay County Highway Department to replace an existing corrugated metal pipe crossing on an unnamed creek approximately four miles northwest of Hawley in the SW¼, Section 19, Cromwell Township, with a 10′ x 5′ reinforced concrete box culvert and to grade the road to match existing conditions and riprap both ends of the culvert and on the channel banks to prevent scouring; Trygve Skolness to pattern tile the E½, Section 11, Moland Township, Clay County, with a lift station in the northeast corner of the NE¼, outletting to Clay C.D. No. 3, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer and township approval to work within their road right-of-way; Doug Nordick to tile the E½, Section 25, Connelly Township, Wilkin County, via two outlets with control structures to Wilkin C.D. No. 12 via lift station and to Wilkin C.D. No. 28 via gravity to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Doug Nordick to pattern tile a portion of the W½, Section 23, Connelly Township, Wilkin County, west of Trunk Highway No. 9, outletting to the north with control structures to C.D. Nos. 28 and 31, to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Kelly Nelson to install 160 acres of pattern tile in the NE¼, Section 26, Atherton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via gravity through an 18″ dia. non-perforated tile with a control structure to Project No. 31, Deerhorn Creek Levees, across neighboring property for approximately 250 yards, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer and coordination with the BRRWD to allow for supervision during installation of the tile through the project levee.

 

  • Approved an Order to hold the Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 3, and 35 buffer hearings on April 8, 2021, at 6:00 PM in the Barnesville office, with virtual options, following COVID-19 protocols.

 

  • Approved Project No. 14, Clay C.D. No. 10 repairs for two slope failure sites along C.D. No. 10 in Sections 15 and 17, Morken Township, Clay County. The cost estimate for the “West” site in Section 17 is $90,000-$100,000, and the “East” site in Section 15 is estimated to cost $25,000-$35,000. 

 

  • Approved Concordia College Biology Department request to place camera traps for a Conservation Biology course on the Oakport Prairie site, located immediately north of Wall Street AVE and west of County Highway No. 1 in March and April.

 

  • Agreed to partner with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to submit a Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council funding application to work on a series of culverts on the main stem of the Buffalo River that are considered barriers to fish migration.

 

  • Authorized BRRWD Administrator Kristine Altrichter to sign a One Watershed, One Plan watershed-based funding grant agreement. The BRRWD has a Memorandum of Agreement with the other local government partner agencies, which will make $400,000 available for the BRRWD’s stream restoration related projects, as well as additional funding for other conservation practices in the watershed.

 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 22, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, meetings are conducted online in accordance with M.S.A Section 13D.021.  The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, masks and social distancing are required.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Schedules Hearings

At their February 22, 2021, regular meeting in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), scheduled hearings for several Clay County ditch systems for the acquisition of the required buffer strips in compliance with the State Buffer Law (Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A) 103F.48).  Because the systems are located in the same general area and the benefit areas overlap to some extent, the Board agreed to group these system hearings into two proceedings.  The hearing for Clay County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 5, 10, 39, 59, and 65 will be held on March 11, 2021, and Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 3, and 35 on April 8, 2021.  Notices will be sent to the affected landowners.  All hearings will begin at 6:00 PM in the BRRWD Barnesville office following Covid-19 protocols with virtual options.

A hearing for the Whiskey Creek Restoration Project has been scheduled for April 7, 2021, and a Glyndon East Tributary landowner informational meeting will be held on April 12, 2021.  A ditch system hearing for Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Lateral has been scheduled on March 22, 2021, to consider a landowner petition to add the E½NE¼, Section 35, Deerhorn Township, to the C.D. No. 13 benefit area for subsurface tile drainage.  Notices will be sent to the affected landowners.  All three events will be held in Barnesville at 6:00 PM following Covid-19 protocols with virtual options.

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 2/22/21 financial status. Cash on hand is $2,688,369.40.  Income received since the 2/8/21 meeting totals $31,637.69, and for the year, totals $481,920.93.  Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,355,497.  The Board approved bills totaling $40,346.47.

  • Approved permits to Jesse Stuehrenberg to install an 18″ dia. surface water inlet and pump in the NE¼, Section 5, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, outletting to the Manston Slough Restoration project; Randy Dickhaus to install random tile to drain low spots in the NE¼, Section 27, Spring Prairie Township, Clay County, outletting eventually to Clay C.D. No. 2, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Dallas Miller to install 200 acres of pattern tile, outletting via gravity flow with a control structure to Otter Tail-Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 2, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Authorized signature of the Damage Statements for the acquisition of the required buffer strips for Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 3, and 35.

  • Authorized the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding to work with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources on the development and management of the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project in Wilkin County.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 8, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, meetings are conducted online in accordance with M.S.A Section 13D.021.  The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, masks and social distancing are required.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Signs Diversion Settlement Agreement

At their February 8, 2021, regular meeting in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), authorized President Peter Fjestad and Vice President Cathy Affield to sign the final Settlement Agreement with the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority (FM DA) and the Wilkin-Richland Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to bring an end to the DA permit denial lawsuit and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit contested case.  The DA will sign the Agreement at their upcoming 2/25/21 meeting, and the JPA is also expected to sign the document before the DA’s meeting.

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 2/8/21 monthly financial reports. Cash on hand is $2,842,981.30.  Income received since the 1/11/21 meeting totaled $201,297.63 and for the year, totals $450,283.25.  Year to date Accounts Receivables total $14,355,497.  The Board approved bills totaling $182,681.64.

  • Approved permits to Steve Thompson to install 256 acres of pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 13, Atherton Township, and the SW¼, Section 18, Prairie View Township, Wilkin County, outletting via lift station to Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 42, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Authorized Staff to schedule the petition hearing to add tile drainage from about 20 acres of the farmland in the NE¼, Section 35, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, to Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Main and Lateral.

  • Authorized signature of the Damage Statements for the acquisition of the required buffer strips for Clay C.D. Nos. 5, 10, 59, 39, and 65. The ditch system buffer hearings will be held this spring with limited in-person or virtual attendance options in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.

  • Authorized Staff to schedule a public hearing for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project in Wilkin County. Hearing notices will be sent to the affected landowners.

  • Authorized Erik S. Jones, BRRWD Engineer, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), to work with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the DNR to revise the Wolverton Creek permits and grant agreement to maximize the use of the funding to address Wolverton Creek outlet channel erosion concerns.

  • Authorized staff to move forward with easement acquisition for Phase 1 of the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration project.

  • Authorized signature of the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) watershed-based funding Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) approved by the 1W1P Policy Committee, which will make $400,000 in State funding available for the BRRWD’s stream restoration related projects, as well as additional funding for other conservation practices in the watershed.

  • Authorized Staff to submit prioritization worksheets to the DNR’s 2021 stream restoration funding list to add the South Branch of the Buffalo River-Phase 2 restoration in Wilkin County and the upper Buffalo River restoration in Becker County, including the stretch of river downstream of Becker C.D. No. 21.

  • Authorized Staff to setup an Automated Clearing House (ACH) cash management system to make electronic direct payments online.

  • Approved a motion to hire Noah and Associates, Inc. to work with the BRRWD to facilitate staff transition to BRRWD employees.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their regular meeting on Monday, February 22, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, meetings are conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, masks and social distancing are required.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org

BRRWD Votes to Transition Staff

On January 25, 2021, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held a special meeting at 5:30 PM to discuss transitioning their current Houston Engineering, Inc. office staff to BRRWD employment.  At 7:00 PM, the Board convened their regular meeting and approved a motion to move forward with the staff transition within the next 90 days. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 1/25/21 financial status. Cash on hand is $2,896,273.25.  Income received since the 1/11/21 meeting totaled $242,820.84.  The Board approved bills totaling $260,587.63.

  • Approved permits to Richard Schultz to add a field approach/48″ dia. equivalent culvert to access the NW¼, Section 6, Elkton Township, Clay County, on Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 21-Lateral 1, subject to the referenced pipe size; and Harmon Tande to install 184 acres of pattern tile, outletting via a lift station in the northwest corner of the SW¼, Section 24, Oakport Township, Clay County, draining north in the east ditch of County Road No. 90 to Clay C.D. No. 35, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Accepted the Engineer’s Report for the Glyndon East Tributary Restoration, extending from Trunk Highway (T.H.) No. 9 southeast of Glyndon into Section 21, Riverton Township, Clay County, and outletting to the Buffalo River north of Glyndon in Section 35, Moland Township, Clay County. The project’s estimated cost is approximately $1.1 million to $1.2 million.  Funding sources could be the One Watershed, One Plan Watershed Based Implementation funding, a potential BRRWD district-wide levy contribution, and the creation of a watershed management district to provide for the local share of the costs for the initial project construction and annual maintenance. 

  • Authorized the engineering staff to attend the Wolverton City Council meeting in February to provide them with an update on the details of future flood protection for Wolverton, which was included in the FM Diversion Authority’s Settlement Agreement with the BRRWD.

  • Authorized signature of a joint application form for activities affecting water resources for Phase 1 of the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration project in Wilkin County. The Board also signed the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources 2021 Clean Water Fund grant agreement for Phase 2 of the project, which will include side inlet installations and the implementation of Best Management Practices along the river channel in Wilkin County from T.H. No. 9 downstream to the Clay County line. 

  • Approved a motion to continue to work to develop an agreement with Harvest Hope Farm to graze portions of the Oakport Flood Mitigation non-levee sites with rental rates to be determined pending further investigation. Audubon Dakota plans to assist in preparing a grazing plan that would benefit the Oakport project’s native plantings. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their regular meeting on Monday, February 8, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our meetings are conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that masks and social distancing are required.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org

BRRWD HR Committee 1/25/21 Special Meeting

NOTICE

A special meeting of the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD) Human Resources Committee will be held Monday, January 25, 2021, at 5:30 PM in the BRRWD Barnesville office, followed by a regular Board meeting at 7:00 PM. 

Dated this 13th day of January, 2021.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson                          

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

 

BRRWD Holds 2021 Annual Meeting

On January 11, 2021, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their annual meeting at 7:00 PM in Barnesville.  The Board cast a unanimous ballot to reelect the current officers to serve another term in 2021:  Peter V. Fjestad, President, Otter Tail County; Catherine L. Affield, Vice President, Wilkin County; Troy E. Larson, Treasurer, Wilkin County; and John E. Hanson, Secretary, Becker County.  BRRWD Lobbyist Joel Carlson’s 2-year contract was approved for $850/month ($10,200/year) ending December 31, 2022.  Barnesville Midwest Bank was appointed as the official 2021 BRRWD depository.  The two-year consultant contracts with Houston Engineering, Inc. and Vogel Law Firm will expire next year on 12/31/21. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the 12/31/20 annual financial reports. Cash on hand at the end of the year was $2,866,650.69.  The Board also approved the current 1/11/21 financial reports.  Income since 1/1/21 was $50,657.91.  Cash on hand was $2,917,308.60, and the 2021 Accounts Receivable totals $10,881,269. 

  • Approved permit to Richard Scheffler to install 190 acres of pattern tiling in the SW¼ and SE¼, Section 24, Atherton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via gravity to Deerhorn Creek in the southwest corner of the section, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer, with the condition that the contractor coordinate with the BRRWD during the installation of the tile outlet through the Deerhorn Creek project levee.

  • Voted to deny a request from the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) for the BRRWD to seek an opinion from the Attorney General to determine if the Clay County Board of Commissioners followed the correct process when they removed a former BRRWD Manager.

  • Agreed to continue to act as the fiscal/administrative agent for the 1W1P implementation phase. Manager Paul Krabbenhoft was appointed to serve as the BRRWD One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) Policy Committee alternate. President Peter Fjestad is the primary 1W1P Policy Committee member.

  • Received a plaque from MAWD in recognition of the BRRWD’s 60th Watershed District Anniversary.

  • Noted that a special Board meeting has been scheduled for Monday, January 25, 2021, at 5:30 PM to discuss office staff transition.

  • Approved upgrades for the BRRWD office network server and infrastructure.

  • Noted that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a public waters work permit for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project in Wilkin County. A Conditional Use Permit from the Wilkin County Board of Commissioners should be the last potential permit needed before project construction can start later this year. 

  • Authorized the acquisition of temporary agricultural land easements ($250/acre) for the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration in Wilkin County, upstream (east) of Trunk Highway No. 9.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold a special meeting to consider office staff transition on January 25, 2021, at 5:30 PM prior to their regular meeting at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our meetings are conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line phone number is 1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that masks and social distancing are required.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Wraps Up 2020

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their last meeting of the year on December 14, 2020.  They discussed a number of topics, including a Phase 2 construction update for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration.  Mulching along the channel is nearing completion and final Phase 2 cleanup work will be completed next spring when conditions permit.  According to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) Grant contract, easement options and acquisitions for Phases 1 and 2 will need to be completed by 6/30/21.  Staff will be working with landowners to complete easement negotiations with that deadline in mind.  The Managers also reviewed the Phase 1 and 2 easement option acquisition process for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project.  Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Resource Specialist Craig Lingen is working with landowners on the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) easement acquisitions along the channel corridor.  The Board approved a motion to move forward with the easement option and temporary easement acquisitions with expectations that Phase 1 construction could begin later next summer after the required project hearing is held in early 2021. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 12/14/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $2,913,097.14.  Income received since the 11/09/20 meeting totals $800,942.43, and for the year, totals $5,361,065.26.  The administrative disbursements since the last report totaled $29,694.58, and for the year is $398,130.11.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $358,526.42.

  • Approved permits to Mark Blaufuss to add an additional 18″ dia. pipe or to replace the existing 18″ dia. culvert with a new 24″ dia. pipe in a field approach in the SW¼, Section 25, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Pheasant Forever to restore 17 wetlands in Sections 7 and 8, Callaway Township, Becker County, by filling ditches, sediment removal, and potentially tile removal with the provision that any tile coming into the property from adjacent landowner tile systems should not be altered; Scott Holt to install random 8″ dia. tile in the SE¼NW¼, Section 33, Tansem Township, Clay County, in two low areas in his field, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer with the provision that Holt work with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) regarding the elevation of the inlet pipes; Jeff Mortenson to pattern tile 25 acres in the northwest corner of Section 25, Spring Prairie Township, Clay County, with a gravity outlet to a natural waterway, eventually to County Ditch (C.D.) No. 2, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Thomas Radig to extend the ditch along the south edge of the neighboring property in the NW¼, Section 1, Breckenridge Township, Wilkin County, straight west to the ditch on the east side of County Road (C.R.) No. 10 and to install a new 30″ dia. culvert/field entrance off C.R. No. 10, eventually draining to C.D. No. 3, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W; Troy Larson to install a new culvert approximately 1′ lower than the existing culvert in the S½, Section 22, Akron Township, Wilkin County, on the south side of the section at the half-mile line, to convey existing tile water to C.D. No. 3, and to grade the ditch near the culvert to improve drainage, subject to township approval to work in the road R/W.

  • Approved a motion to work with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to apply for a LSOHC Conservation Partners Legacy grant to remove a low water crossing in the City of Georgetown associated with the levee project, where log jams frequently build up. The grant requires a 10% match, which could come from USFWS federal funds.  The DNR has funding available for the project design.  The FM Diversion Authority has agreed to fund permanent flood protection for Georgetown, which involves closing the openings in the levee project. 

  • Approved the 2019 Annual Report, which is available on the BRRWD’s website.

  • Agreed to move forward with the development of a watershed management district (WMD) to assess an annual levy for a limited term to pay the local costs for a future comprehensive project to address drainage problems along the Glyndon East Tributary and long-term project maintenance. The potential WMD rates would be calculated based on discharge/runoff contribution and land use for agricultural land and properties within the City of Glyndon. 

  • Noted that the BRRWD recently received three grant awards totaling approximately $1 million for three of our current projects: Whiskey Creek Enhancement, Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Channel Restoration, and Otter Tail River Habitat Restoration. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and 2021 annual meeting on Monday, January 11, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our meetings are conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Welcomes New Administrator

At their regular meeting, held on November 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), welcomed Kristine M. Altrichter, who will assume the position of BRRWD Administrator on a full-time basis in the Barnesville office.  She will work directly with the Board of Managers for policy development, constituent services, and general support, as well as manage all District activities and budgets.  Altrichter’s educational background and experience in natural resource management will be a great asset to the BRRWD.

Other Business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 11/23/20 financial status. Cash on hand was $2,471,977.70.  Income received since the 10/13/20 meeting totaled $1,670.53, and for the year, totaled $4,561,793.36.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $358,152.46.

  • Approved permits to Connie Seidler to pattern tile the NE¼ and the east 80 acres of the NW¼, Section 28, Sunnyside Township, Wilkin County, outletting partially into the Bois de Sioux Watershed District (BdSWD), subject to our standard tiling disclaimer and BdSWD permit approval and conditions; and Mike Opatril to install an 18″ dia. culvert/approach crossing in the northwest corner of the SE¼, Section 4, Riverton Township, Clay County.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 2 for Gladen Construction, Inc.’s work to date on Phase 2 of the Wolverton Creek Restoration project in the amount of $276,337.52 and Change Order No. 2 for a $29,410.99 net increase in Gladen’s contract.

  • Approved the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) Findings and Order for Project No. 80, Stony Creek Water Resource Management Project. As a result of the EAW, the BRRWD determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was not needed for the project.

  • Accepted the Engineer’s Report for the Whiskey Creek Enhancement project in Wilkin County. The Report will be forwarded to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for comments prior to a future project hearing.  The Board also authorized signature of an application submittal letter for a potential United States Fish and Wildlife Service Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership grant.

  • Adopted the final One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) for the Buffalo-Red River watershed. All the local government units (LGUs) involved with the 1W1P process will also need to adopt the Plan.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and 2021 annual meeting on Monday, January 11, 2021, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our meetings are conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Welcomes New Staff

At their regular meeting, held on November 9, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), welcomed Zach Anderson to the BRRWD office staff.  Anderson will fill the newly created BRRWD Watershed Specialist position where he will focus on working with landowners to acquire permanent easements for current and future BRRWD projects, including the Wolverton Creek Restoration, Whiskey Creek Restoration, Stony Creek Water Resource Management, and the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration.  Anderson will also lead long-term habitat maintenance for these projects. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 11/9/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $2,692,728.68.  Income received since the 10/13/20 meeting totals $358,398.35, and for the year, totals $4,586,335.12.  The administrative disbursements since the last report totaled $33,754.20, and for the year is $368,718.03.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $196,209.22. 

  • Approved permits to Keene Township to install a new culvert in an existing dry approach in the west ditch of 210th ST N along the east line of Section 34, Clay County; Tom Paulson/Bruce Yaggie to regrade the west township road ditch in the W½, Section 21, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, and lower the diagonal culvert between Sections 21 and 17, according to the Engineer’s plan, and add another culvert in this location to provide an outlet into Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration; Bryan Albertson to reset a culvert and clean the ditch to grade along County Road (C.R.) No. 169 on the west side of the NW¼, Section 29, Akron Township, Wilkin County, to improve drainage, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); and Matthew Hasbargen to add a new approach and 18″ dia. culvert in the northwest corner of the NW¼, Section 16, Sunnyside Township, Wilkin County, off C.R. No. 14 and to remove the existing field crossing in the north-south ditch in the northwest corner of the field, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W.

  • Convened a complaint hearing at 7:30 PM to review drainage violations in Section 13, Audubon Township, Becker County. The Board discussed the drainage activities with the landowner and directed him to unblock his neighbors’ tile outlets by 11/23/20. 

  • Received a draft report presentation from Eide Bailly regarding their cost comparison analysis of transitioning the current HEI office staff to BRRWD employment. The Board will schedule a special meeting with Eide Bailly and the full HR Committee to have an in depth review of the report. 

  • Authorized BRRWD President Fjestad to sign the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Reinvest In Minnesota easement for a tract of land associated with the Wolverton Creek Restoration project.

  • Approved repairs for Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 68 on the west side of Glyndon from Parke AVE to the railroad tracks. The probable cost for materials and labor is $6,000-$7,000. 

  • Approved repairs for Clay C.D. No. 58 for a channel cleanout for a two-mile stretch of C.D. No. 58 from the outlet in Section 4 through C.R. No. 17 in Section 10, Elmwood Township. The cost estimate is approximately $20,000.

  • Noted that the Buffalo-Red River Watershed Comprehensive Watershed Plan was prescribed by the BWSR Board on 10/28/20. The Plan is available for review on the BRRWD’s website. 

  • Appointed BRRWD Managers Van Amburg and Fjestad as delegates to the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts virtual Annual Meeting and Trade Show on December 1-4, 2020. Manager Affield is the alternate delegate.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, November 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the meeting will be conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org

BRRWD Approves Diversion Settlement

At their regular meeting held on October 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed a Binding Settlement Term Sheet (BSTS) with their Attorneys regarding a potential settlement agreement with the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority (FM DA), the Richland/Wilkin Joint Powers Authority, and the Cities of Wolverton and Comstock. The BSTS is an adjunct document to a more comprehensive future Mutual Settlement Agreement and is binding and fully enforceable. The question the Board considered was whether to continue the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Permit Contested Case and the DA permit denial lawsuit, or to consider the proposed settlement and reconsider the permit denial with consideration of the provisions suggested in the settlement agreement. All the parties listed above, with the exception of the BRRWD, had already signed the proposed BSTS, which would only go into effect if the BRRWD agreed to reconsider and grant the DA’s permit and sign the document. BRRWD Attorneys Brent Edison, Vogel Law Firm, and Joel Fremstad, Fremstad Law Firm, provided an in depth review of the BSTS. Attorney Fremstad pointed out the Agreement would protect the BRRWD from future litigation from the other parties regarding these issues and would make sure that the conditions that were placed on the DA’s BRRWD permit application prior to denial and the list of reasons for permit denial were adequately addressed now, justifying an approval. Adequate flood mitigation funding for Georgetown, Wolverton, Christine, Comstock, and Holy Cross Township were included in the Agreement to satisfy concerns raised when the initial DA permit application was denied. The parties to litigation proposed terms to address the BRRWD’s concerns regarding the Contested Case and the reasons for permit denial, and to enhance some of the prior permit conditions. Attorney Edison explained that the DA had addressed the BRRWD concerns in good faith and had made significant concessions. After review, the Board of Managers unanimously approved a motion to issue Permit No. 19-003 for the DA’s Plan B Diversion project and to adopt the BSTS to resolve the permit denial case and the contested case.

Other Business included:

• Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,850,159.33. Income since the 10/13/20 meeting was $50,000. Total income this year is $4,277,936.77. The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $465,819.00.

• Approved permits to Justin Phillips to install a field approach and a 18″ dia. culvert on the south side of the SE¼, Section 27, Tanberg Township, Wilkin County, to gain access to the field from Wilkin County Road No. 26, subject to County approval to work within their road right-of-way; Eric Skolness/Farmers National Company to clean two ditches to their original grade in the SE¼, Section 22, Alliance Township, Clay County, with downstream landowner approval; and Allen Korinek for a ditch repair in the NE¼, Section 14, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, along Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 6A to improve drainage and to slope the land to drain north instead of south with a 24″ dia. inlet pipe into C.D. No. 6A.

• Authorized a letter to a landowner in Section 13, Audubon Township, Becker County, with a list of corrective actions he will need to complete in order to correct the area drainage to comply with BRRWD Rules and to address his neighbors’ concerns. The Board scheduled a hearing on 11/9/20 at 7:30 PM during their regular meeting to discuss issues related to the drainage violations.

• Approved Pay Request No. 1 to Gladen Construction, Inc. for $385,306.31 for work completed on Phase 2 construction on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. The contractor has approximately one-third of the Phase 2 work completed.

• Approved repairs for Wilkin C.D. No. 6A in Nordick and Meadows Townships for approximately $10,000 for materials and labor.

• Authorized signature of a cost-share agreement with the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for the use of excess Otter Tail SWCD Buffer initiative Aid funds for buffer installations on Clay C.D. Nos. 2, 10, 12, and 59.

• Authorized the expansion of the proposed Gruenberg drainage project in Sections 15, 22, 27, and 34, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, to extend the proposed natural waterway cleanout upstream approximately 3 miles in response to upstream landowners’ requests.

• Approved a potential 40% match for additional 319 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency grant funds for sediment reduction work on the Upper Buffalo River to install additional Best Management Practices, including grade stabilizations, water and sediment control basins, and a restoration on the Buffalo River close to Callaway near the Becker C.D. No. 21 outlet.

• Authorized signature of a Delineation Concurrence Request for a wetland determination as part of the permitting process for the South Branch of the Buffalo River Restoration project in Wilkin County.

• Approved a supplement to the current 2020-2021 Houston Engineering, Inc. contract to add two new employees to the Barnesville BRRWD office staff. The new BRRWD Administrator will start work on 11/23/20, and a second person will join the Barnesville staff on 12/14/20 to fill a newly created Watershed Specialist position.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, November 9, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the meeting will be conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated Section 13D.021. The conference line information is: 1-701-404-1699. Conference ID: 365 708 012#. If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect. More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

Notice of Special BRRWD Meeting

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING

A special meeting of the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2020, at 8:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN  56514. The sole item on the agenda will be attorney consultations and discussions regarding (1) the DNR contested case, and (2) the appeal of BRRWD’s denial of the F-M Diversion Board of Authority’s application for a permit; accordingly, it is expected that the attorney consultations portion of the meeting will be closed as permitted by the attorney-client privilege (M.S.A. Section 13D.05, subdivision 3(b)).

 

Dated this 19th day of October, 2020.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson                          

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

Posted 10/19/20

 

One Watershed, One Plan Nearing Completion

At their regular meeting held on October 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed the status of our One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P).  The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Northern Region Committee approved the Buffalo-Red River Watershed (BRRW) 1W1P on 10/7/20.  The full BWSR Board will meet on 10/28/20 to review and consider Plan approval.  Following BWSR’s decision, the BRRW Planning Team will meet to discuss potential watershed-based funding requests for the area.  The 1W1P Policy and Advisory Committees will meet to consider strategies for Plan implementation.  The BRRWD and local government agencies from Becker, Clay, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties collaborated to create a single watershed management plan for the BRRW.  The 1W1P will establish clear implementation timelines, milestones, and cost estimates for restoration and protection activities throughout multiple connected jurisdictions within the watershed area and create a more efficient and cooperative plan for water management. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 10/13/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $2,980,081.82.  Income received since the last meeting totals $2,578.84, and for the year, totals $4,227,936.77.  The administrative disbursements since 9/14/20 totaled $50,635.90, and the total for the year is $334,963.83.  The Board also approved payment of the bills, totaling $179,932.49. 

  • Approved permits to Kirk Watt to replace a 30″ dia. culvert with a larger culvert or an additional culvert in the NW¼, Section 31, Georgetown Township, Clay County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way and to install a 24″ dia. culvert through County Road No. 100 in the northwest corner of the SW¼, Section 31, Georgetown Township; Brian Piekarski to install random tile in low spots on his property, discharging via an existing tile project outlet in the S½, Section 22, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County, and another outlet into the County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 11 road ditch, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer and downstream landowner approval; Shawn Norman to install pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 14, Manston Township, Wilkin County, outletting to Project No. 56, Manston Slough Restoration/Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 13, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association to bore new underground lines from south to north under Clay C.D. No. 69 in the N½, Section 34, Glyndon Township, to replace overhead power lines on the south side of the ditch, subject to our standard utility disclaimer.

  • Discussed a cost-share agreement with Elkton Township regarding repairs/replacement for a Clay C.D. No. 58 crossing through 130th ST S and authorized staff to send a letter to document the agreement for the Township’s review.

  • Held an Executive Session to consult with Attorneys regarding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit contested case and Diversion Authority permit denial lawsuits.

  • Approved Change Order No. 1 from Gladen Construction, Inc. for a net contract increase of $47,446.35 for Phase 2 work on Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, and reviewed the 10/3/20 project status report.

  • Authorized staff to work with the DNR Red River Fisheries to apply for a grant from the Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership program. Grants range from $10,000-$50,000 and could be used as matching grant funds to minimize local project costs. 

  • Approved Wilkin C.D. No. 26 repairs upstream of CSAH No. 3 in Section 8, Mitchell Township, estimated to cost $6,000-$8,000.

  • Authorized staff to address beaver control complaints on an “as needed” basis in response to the high level of beaver activity in the BRRWD this fall.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, October 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the meeting will be conducted online in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is:  1-701-404-1699.  Conference ID: 365 708 012#.  If you wish to visit the BRRWD office in person, be aware that visitor screening and social distancing are in effect.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

NOTICE OF SPECIAL BRRWD MEETING

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING

A special meeting of the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), will be held on Monday, October 5, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD Office, 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN  56514. The sole item on the agenda will be attorney consultations and discussions regarding (1) the DNR contested case, and (2) the appeal of BRRWD’s denial of the F-M Diversion Board of Authority’s application for a permit; accordingly, it is expected that the meeting will be closed as permitted by the attorney-client privilege (Minn. Stat. section 13D.05, subdivision 3(b)).

Dated this 2nd day of October, 2020.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson                          

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

BRRWD Responds to Landowner Concerns

At their regular meeting held on September 28, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed a variety of landowner concerns and requests.  The first issue came from landowners in Audubon Township regarding drainage violations their neighbor has completed over the last several months.  The Board authorized staff to prepare a list of actions for the landowner to return the area drainage back to its original alignment.  The Board approved a request from the Turtle Lake Improvement Association for a cost analysis of converting the Turtle Lake Outlet project’s Long Lake siphon to a gravity outlet, including an analysis of the potential long-term operating cost savings.  In response to a request from a landowner on Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3, the Board authorized a hydraulic analysis of a low water crossing to determine an appropriate culvert replacement alternative.  The Board approved an investigation of road slope problems in Sections 15 and 17, Morken Township, on Clay C.D. No. 10.  They also authorized staff to assist Parke Township officials with a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit application and technical assistance to install a permanent tile outlet for Dewey Lake in Sections 34 and 35 on 280th ST. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $3,092,153.30.  There was no income since the 9/14/20 meeting.  Total income this year is $4,225,357.93.  The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $114,650.32.

  • Accepted the BRRWD’s 2019 Financial Audit, prepared and presented by Harold J. Rotunda, CPA.

  • Approved permits to John Thompson for a ditch improvement project on the west side of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 11 in the NE¼, Section 24, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, subject to the revised plan to stop excavation at the downstream farmstead property line; Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources to develop a wetland banking site in the W½W½, Section 6, Callaway Township, Becker County, subject to providing positive grade for a diversion tile outlet; United States Fish and Wildlife Service to widen an existing approach and culvert extension for the Holland/Braton Northern Tallgrass Prairie Refuge in Section 32, Humboldt Township, Clay County; Wilkin County Highway Department to replace two existing 18″ dia. entrance pipes along the south side of CSAH No. 11 in the N½, Section 12, Mitchell Township, outletting to Wilkin C.D. No. 22-Lateral 3, with 30″ dia. culverts to establish a consistent gradeline and culvert sizing; Shane Thompson to add random tile to an existing tile system in the N½, Section 8, Barnesville Township, Clay County, outletting to the existing lift station, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Emmanuel Jerger & Sons to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 29, Atherton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via an existing main directly into the South Branch of the Buffalo River, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Selected a preferred project plan for the Army Corps of Engineers Federal Section 1135 Ecosystem Restoration feasibility study for the Otter Tail River Corridor Habitat Restoration project.

  • Authorized submittal of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet for the channel restoration phase of the Stony Creek Restoration project.

  • Authorized Acting BRRWD Administrator Erik Jones to sign the DNR grant agreement for the redesign of the Silver Lake Outlet.

  • Approved a cost-share contribution of $12,100 to Pheasants Forever to be applied toward the purchase of a tract in Section 10, Manston Township, Wilkin County, for a 320-acre Wildlife Management Area. The BRRWD will be given access to the tract to complete the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River stream restoration project and for future project maintenance. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will change their next regular meeting date to Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office in observance of the 10/12/20 Columbus Day Holiday.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated 13D.021.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Approves 1W1P

At their regular meeting held on September 14, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), voted to approve the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan for the Buffalo-Red River Watershed (BRRW) area.  The BRRWD is working with local government agencies from Becker, Clay, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties to create a single watershed management plan for the BRRW.  Cooperation throughout multiple connected jurisdictions within the watershed is important because water management in one county can affect the waters of all the other counties.  The 1W1P will establish clear implementation timelines, milestones, and cost estimates for restoration and protection activities within the watershed area.  Combining multiple water planning efforts into one effort will create a more efficient and cooperative plan for water management.  The Plan 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.  An online Public Hearing was held on September 16, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office via Microsoft Teams.  Members of the public were also invited to attend in person following COVID-19 guidelines.  The 1W1P Policy Committee will consider any hearing comments and make a recommendation for bringing the Plan to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources in October for review and final approval. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 9/14/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $3,563,260.06.  The current administrative disbursements since 8/10/20 totaled $32,670.06.  The total for the year is $284,327.93.  Income received since the last meeting totals $828,755.15, and for the year, totals $4,225,357.93.  The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $471,106.76.

  • Approved permits to the Clay County Highway Department to replace and relocate a deteriorating bridge in the W½, Section 15, Elmwood Township, about 100′ west (downstream) on Stony Creek; Peter Aasness to install 120 acres of pattern tile in the NE¼, Section 11, Foxhome Township, Wilkin County, outletting through the township road via a control structure directly into County Ditch (C.D.) No. 4 to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Kirk Watt to install pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 31, Georgetown Township, Clay County, outletting north along County Road No. 100 via a lift station then west and north to the Red River, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Matt Ness to install 150 acres of pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 22, Wolverton Township, Wilkin County, outletting via gravity flow directly into Wolverton Creek, pending plan modifications regarding the addition of an outlet control structure and perforated tile on downstream land, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Matt Hasbargen to install pattern tile on the W½, Section 9, Sunnyside Township, Wilkin County, outletting south via a lift station in the southwest corner of the section through County State Aid Highway No. 14, eventually to Wilkin C.D. No. 2/Otter Tail River, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Tim Thompson to regrade the north ditch of 120th AVE S in the SW¼, Section 32, Elkton Township, Clay County, to lower the two existing 18″ dia. culverts and to add a new approach/18″ dia. culvert, placed on the new ditch grade, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way; and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to restore two wetland sites on the Jed Komrosky and Barry Nelson properties in the N½, Section 20, Lake Park Township, Becker County, by filling in open ditches on the sites.

  • Agreed to accept Eide Bailly’s proposal for an analysis of the costs to transition the current staff employment to the BRRWD. Their fee to conduct the cost comparison was estimated at $15,000-$20,000. 

  • Received an update on the status of the BRRWD’s Contested Case regarding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ permit for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 2-Final for $143,197 to Key Contracting, Inc. and Change Order No. 2 for a $27,551 net increase in the contract for Clay C.D. Nos. 41, 47, and 50 repairs.

  • Approved the Final Pay Request for $25,937 to Sellin Brothers, Inc. for their work on the Wolverton Creek Restoration project. This payment reflects the release of the retainage to close out the Phase 1 contract.  Gladen Construction, Inc., Laporte, MN, started Phase 2 on 9/21/20. 

  • Approved repairs for Becker C.D. No. 21, Branch 2, through Section 3, Riceville Township, estimated to cost $15,000.

  • Manager Mark Anderson has agreed to remain on the BRRWD Board as the Clay County representative until a new person is appointed.  

  • Agreed to contribute $18,634.38 to the costs for the Buffalo River Flood Insurance Study north of Glyndon with Clay County (50/50 split).

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will change their next regular meeting date to Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office in observance of the 10/12/20 Columbus Day Holiday.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated 13D.021.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

 

MCAP Seminar Series

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership is hosting a discussion about the impact climate change has on agriculture in our state.  Please join us Wednesday, September 23 at 12 pm.  Registration and further details, please follow this link.  

BRRWD Sets 2021 Tax Levies

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their regular meeting and 2021 Annual Budget Hearing on Monday, August 24, 2020, at 7:00 PM, in Barnesville. The Board approved the 2021 Administrative levy, which is capped by statute at $250,000, plus an annual administrative fee to be assessed to projects, based on a project’s account expenditures. The 2021 Insurance Levy was set at $22,000. The Survey and Data acquisition levy was set at $150,000 to be collected over the next five years. The Board also set two General Levies to be taxed in accordance with the Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3. The first 2021 general levy, which will be used for a variety of projects/programs, including contributions to the Red River Basin Commission ($25,000) and River Keepers ($55,000), conservation programs and practices, water quality monitoring, Flood Insurance Studies, and flood damage reduction/natural resource enhancement projects, was set at $727,496. The second Special Levy was set at $500,000 to raise funding for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, according to the BRRWD’s commitment to contribute up to $2 million to the project. The total 2021 General Levies total $1,649,496.

The Board also set the following 2021 project/ditch system levies, totaling $1,615,407:

Clay County
Ditch No. 2 – $20,000

Ditch No. 3 – $25,000

Ditch No. 5 – $25,000

Ditch No. 9 – $30,000

Ditch No. 10 – $50,000

Ditch No. 11 – $50,000

Ditch No. 12 – $20,000

Ditch No. 16 – $10,000

Ditch No. 17 – $5,000

Ditch No. 20 – $20,000

Ditch No. 21 – $20,000

Ditch No. 22 – $5,000

Ditch No. 23 – $20,000

Ditch No. 28 – $15,000

Ditch No. 31 – $5,000

Ditch No. 32 – $5,000

Ditch No. 33 – $10,000

Ditch No. 34 – $10,000

Ditch No. 35 – $20,000

Ditch No. 36 – $5,000

Ditch No. 39 – $30,000

Ditch No. 40 – $10,000

Ditch No. 41 – $50,000

Ditch No. 41-1 – $20,000

Ditch No. 41-2 – $10,000

Ditch No. 47 – $20,000

Ditch No. 49 – $10,000

Ditch No. 50 – $50,000

Ditch No. 51 – $15,000

Ditch No. 54 – $10,000

Ditch No. 55 – $20,000

Ditch No. 58 – $20,000

Ditch No. 59 – $10,000

Ditch No. 60 – $5,000

Ditch No. 65 – $20,000

Ditch No. 67 – $5,000

Ditch No. 68 – $5,000

Ditch No. 69 – $10,000

Becker County

Ditch No. 5 – $10,000

Ditch No. 9 – $20,000

Ditch No. 10 – $3,000

Ditch No. 15 – $15,000

Ditch No. 19 – $8,000

Ditch No. 21 – $5,000

Wilkin County

Ditch No. 1A – $10,000

Ditch No. 1B – $10,000

Ditch No. 1C – $10,000

Ditch No. 2 – $10,000

Ditch No. 3 – $40,000

Ditch No. 4 – $20,000

Ditch No. 5A – $10,000

Ditch No. 6A – $30,000

Ditch No. 12 – $10,000

Ditch No. 13 – $10,000

Ditch No. 13 – Lateral – $30,000

Ditch No. 15 – $10,000

Ditch No. 22 – $20,000

Ditch No. 23 – $20,000

Ditch No. 26 – $15,000

Ditch No. 27 – $40,000

Ditch No. 28 – $10,000

Ditch No. 31 – $10,000

Ditch No. 37 – $10,000

Ditch No. 40 – $15,000

Ditch No. 41 – $40,000

Ditch No. 42 – $10,000

Ditch No. 43 – $20,000

Ditch No. 44 – $30,000

Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 – $30,000

Projects/Ditch Systems

No. 32, Hawley Diversion – $5,000

No. 39, Georgetown Levee – $15,000

No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet – $25,000

No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation – $100,000

No. 50, Cromwell Township Outlet – $5,000

No. 54, Whisky Creek – $20,000

No. 56, Manston Slough – $20,000

No. 71, City of Moorhead – $100,000

No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration – $99,407

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,831,394.05.  Income since the 8/10/20 meeting totals $10,894.37.  Total income this year is $4,191,777.15.  The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $85,994.77.  The Board also appointed Manager Troy Larson as the new Treasurer, starting 9/1/20.

  • Approved permits to: Erik Zurn to install one Becker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) designed water and sediment control basin with surface intakes and underground outlet in the SW¼SW¼, Section 4, Hamden Township, Becker County; Kraig Nelson to install 13 Becker SWCD designed water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlets in the N½, Section 10, Audubon Township, Becker County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way; and Gary Myers to add random tile to existing water and sediment control basin tile runs in the N½NW¼, Section 33, Cuba Township, Becker County, to drain low spots via existing tile outlets to natural waterways draining to Hay Creek and eventually Stinking Lake and to clean an open ditch across his Conservation Reserve Program acreage and along two township road ditches (230th ST/130th AVE) to the natural waterway, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved repairs for Project No. 48, Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 59 for a failed field entrance crossing in Section 26, Kragnes Township, Clay County, at the outlet of C.D. No. 59 to the Buffalo River, estimated to cost $8,000 to $10,000.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 4-Final for $37,994.25 from States Borders Construction, Inc., to close out the Wilkin/Otter Tail Judicial Ditch No. 2 repairs, and Change Order No. 2 for a net increase in the contract of $3,851.

  • Authorized a survey investigation of the Nyquist Coulee channel, including culvert elevations and sediment depths in Sections 15, 21, and 22, Roberts Township, from Wilkin C.D. No. 29 to Wolverton Creek. Staff will work with the Wilkin SWCD in regard to the Minnesota Wetlands Conservation Act.

  • Approved a draft joint letter the staff prepared from the BRRWD and the Sand Hill River Watershed District formally requesting that the Red River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Work Group define an associate membership category for non-Red River Watershed Management Board Watershed Districts to allow them to be represented by one delegate and one alternate delegate.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, September 14, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with M.S.A. 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Welcomes New Manager

At their regular meeting held on August 10, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), welcomed Paul J. Krabbenhoft, who was recently appointed by the Clay County Board of Commissioners to fill out the remaining one-year of a former Manager’s three-year term.  The Commissioners reappointed Manager Gerald L. Van Amburg for another three-year term.  Manager Mark T. Anderson’s term ends 8/31/20.  The County will be appointing a new Manager to fill Anderson’s position in the next few weeks. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s 8/10/20 financial reports. Cash on hand is $3,131,794.07.  The current administrative disbursements since 7/13/20 totaled $37,170.62, and the total for the year is $251,657.87.  Income received since the last meeting totals $414,478.11, and for the year, totals $3,396,602.78.  They also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $311,294.34.  The BRRWD’s 2021 Annual Budget Hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM. 

  • Approved permits to Jake Barton to install pattern tile in the SW¼, Section 31, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, outletting via lift stations and control structures to County Ditch (C.D.) No. 1B; BNSF to install a new shallow ditch with a 24″ dia. inlet pipe in the NW¼, Section 12, within the City of Dilworth, outletting to Clay C.D. No. 41; Darcy Brandt to regrade the north ditch of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 2 in the SW¼, Section 23 and the SE¼, Section 22, Holy Cross Township, Clay County, and to lower two driveway culverts along CSAH No. 2 and one in 40th ST by approximately 6″, subject to township and county approval to work within their road right-of-way; and Kevin Hanson for random tile in the NE¼, Section 27, Hamden Township, Becker County, outletting to C.D. No. 15 to continue the tiling project approved under Permit No. 15-009, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved Change Order No. 6 for an increase in the contract of $16,726 and Pay Request No. 13 for $147,119.79 to Sellin Brothers, Inc. for their work on Phase 1 of the Wolverton Creek Restoration project.

  • Authorized Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) to work with the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District to provide technical assistance for three erosion sites along the Buffalo River.

  • Authorized the submission of a Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Fund grant application for work along the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River from Trunk Highway No. 9 to just north of Wilkin County Road (C.R.) No. 30. The $300,000 grant application is for the installation of inlet pipes and stream restoration along the South Branch channel, requiring a local match of 25%, or $75,000, with an 8/17/20 submission deadline. 

  • Authorized a hydraulic review for culvert repairs at three sites on Clay C.D. No. 50 in the City of Dilworth. The work will be a 2021 project and the cost estimate will be available for consideration in the 2021 ditch system budget. 

  • Authorized repair of a field approach/culverts along the Whisky Creek project alignment in Clay County. The work will include submitting a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit application for work in public waters and a hydraulic analysis.

  • Authorized a drainage survey along the west ditch of Wilkin C.R. No. 11, starting at a landowner’s driveway in the N½, Section 24, Deerhorn Township, going north through 130th ST to the Buffalo River.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, August 24, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  As part of that meeting, the annual 2021 budget hearing will begin at 8:00 PM.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

 

Whiskey Creek’s $10M Restoration

Landowners, leveraged funds and partners are the keys to Wilkin SWCD and Buffalo-Red River Watershed District’s $10 million Whiskey Creek restoration project designed to produce clean-water and wildlife habitat benefits, and fix drainage problems. Funding includes an NRCS National Water Quality Initiative award, Clean Water Funds from BWSR, and an MPCA watershed pilot project award.

Read the story here.

BRRWD Discusses Project Funding

At their regular meeting held on July 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed potential funding sources for the proposed Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project in Wilkin County, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Section 319 grant program, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Funds (CWF), the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Stream Habitat funding.  Other funding sources could be the implementation of a watershed management district fee to raise local funding and the BRRWD’s taxing authority through Minnesota Statutes Annotated (M.S.A.) 103D.905, Subd. 3, for a district-wide levy.  Approximately 8-10 landowners along Whiskey Creek have signed up through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for the NWQI program, which provides targeted funding assistance for farmers to implement conservation practices to improve water quality on impaired water bodies in small watersheds.  The Board approved a financial commitment to those landowners with NWQI contracts to cover potential 10% non-performance penalties if the project doesn’t move forward in 2021.  The Board also approved the methodology that the BRRWD’s Engineer, Erik S. Jones, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), has developed to set project easement rates.  The project is located along Whiskey Creek and its tributaries in the Townships of Nilsen, Connelly, Nordick, and McCauleyville in Wilkin County.  Project components include the establishment of expanded permanent vegetated buffers, the installation of sediment control best management practices, stream restoration, and upland conservation practices.  The project is a cooperative undertaking between the BRRWD, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), State, and Federal agencies. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,823,476.26.  Income since the 7/13/20 meeting totals $22,844.84.  Total income this year is $3,004,969.51.  The Board approved a motion to renew the BRRWD’s Midwest Bank line-of-credit.  They also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $83,315.46.  The BRRWD’s 2021 Annual Budget Hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM. 

  • Authorized HEI to work with a landowner to improve drainage in Sections 21 and 28, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, by extending the Wolverton Creek Restoration project one mile further upstream to provide a better outlet.

  • Authorized beaver control on the Glyndon East Tributary to the Buffalo River and then to expand HEI’s survey investigation of the south end of the waterway as a first step to address area drainage concerns.

  • Approved permits to Brian L. Thomas to install pattern tile in the S½, Section 10, Kragnes Township, Clay County, outletting to the Buffalo River; Brady Olson to install a 24″ dia. x 40′ long driveway culvert/approach for a new house along County Road (C.R.) No. 95 in the NW¼, Section 11, Oakport Township, Clay County, subject to receiving a County permit for the culvert; Jesse Stuehrenberg to lower a County Ditch (C.D.) No. 23 spoilbank culvert approximately 1′ in the E½NW¼, Section 30, Meadows Township, Wilkin County; four permits to Whitt Case for pattern tiling projects in Spring Prairie, Moland, and Flowing Townships, Clay County; Matthew Bjerke to install water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in the S½, Section 16, Lake Park Township, Becker County; two permits to Terry Kohler for water and sediment control basins with surface intake and underground outlet in Audubon and Hamden Townships, Becker County; Barry Nelson to install water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in the NE¼, Section 9, Lake Park Township, Becker County, subject to Township approval to work within their road right-of-way; Robert Olson to install three water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in Section 8, Parke Township, Clay County; Albin Warling to install a grassed waterway and one water and sediment control basin with surface intakes and underground outlet in Section 25, Cuba Township, Becker County, eventually outletting to Becker C.D. No. 9; and James Klein to install pattern tiling including control structures in Section 23, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County, with two outlets into Wilkin C.D. No. 31 to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved repair of a culvert crossing in C.D. No. 4 through 310th AVE between Sections 9 and 10, Foxhome Township, Wilkin County. The two existing 42″ corrugated metal pipes have failed and should be replaced with two lines of 57″ x 38″ corrugated metal arch pipe due to the height limitations on the road and the elevation of the field.  Approximately 500′-1000′ of the ditch downstream of the crossing should also be cleaned.  The opinion of probable cost is $10,000 for materials and labor.  The Wilkin County Highway Department will do the work.

  • Approved a contract extension for States Borders Construction, Inc. on Wilkin/Otter Tail Judicial Ditch No. 2 due to wet weather until 8/5/20 to complete the seeding and to clean up the punch list items.

  • Approved a channel repair of about two miles of Project No. 2, Wilkin C.D. No. 13-Lateral in Sections 7 and 18, Manston Township. The engineer’s estimate is approximately $15,000. 

  • Authorized HEI to work with the SWCD to provide technical assistance for erosion sites along the Buffalo River in Sections 28 and 34, Moland Township, Clay County.

  • Approved a request from the Clay SWCD to support the Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist position by contributing one-third of the local share ($2,166).

  • Approved a cost-share request from a landowner who is working with the Clay SWCD to install three NRCS designed water and sediment control basins with surface intakes and underground outlet in Section 8, Parke Township, Clay County. The total project cost is $18,714.30.  The SWCD contributed $5,000, and the BRRWD share will total $6,857.15. 

  • Authorized HEI to submit a CWF application for work along the Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River from Trunk Highway No. 9 to just north of C.R. No. 30.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, August 10, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with M.S.A. 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD Signs Whiskey Creek EAW

At their regular meeting held on July 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), authorized signature of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), required for the proposed Whiskey Creek Enhancement Project.  The Board distributed the EAW for a 60-day review period, which ended 6/24/20.  We received four comment letters that were incorporated into the EAW Record of Decision.  Essentially, the EAW Findings were that an Environmental Impact Statement won’t be required for the proposed project.  The project is located along Whiskey Creek and its tributaries in the Townships of Nilsen, Connelly, Nordick, and McCauleyville in Wilkin County.  Project components include the establishment of expanded permanent vegetated buffers, the installation of sediment control best management practices, stream restoration, and upland conservation practices.  The project is a cooperative undertaking between the BRRWD, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), State, and Federal agencies. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 7/13/20 monthly financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $3,289,164.06.  The current administrative disbursements since 6/8/20 totaled $29,067.92, and the total for the year is $214,487.25.  Income received since the last meeting totals $2,027,266.91 and for the year, totals $2,982,124.67.  We received $1.4 million from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) FY16 Targeted Watershed Grant for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, and 2020 property/ditch tax payments from Clay County ($503,839.67-property only), Becker County ($64,401.20), and Otter Tail County ($330.11).  The Board also approved payment of the bills in the amount of $488,532.64.  The BRRWD’s 2021 Annual Budget Hearing is scheduled for August 24, 2020, at 8:00 PM. 

  • Entered into Executive Session to discuss the permit appeal lawsuit and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Contested Case. When the Board reconvened the regular meeting, they approved a motion to authorize BRRWD Attorney Brent Edison to hire an expert witness hydrologist for deposition and trial testimony regarding the Diversion Authority’s new property rights acquisition mitigation information, modeling, and impact maps. 

  • Appointed Manager Van Amburg to serve on the Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Authority land acquisition committee, associated with the FM Diversion project.

  • Approved permits to Matt Halverson for a wetland restoration in the SW¼, Section 14, Elkton Township, Clay County, using scrapes and ditch plugs, as part of a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) conservation easement project; Jerry Butenhoff for a wetland restoration in the W½, Section 12, Elkton Township, Clay County, using minor scrapes and embankments, as part of a CREP conservation easement project; Gerald Zimmerman to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 4, Moland Township, Clay County, running south to north, outletting via a lift station and/or control structure in the middle of the quarter into Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 65 on the north side of the property, to which the land is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Shawn Norman to add the east 80 acres in the NW¼, Section 15, Manston Township, Wilkin County, to Norman’s existing tile main project (Permit No. 18-003), draining to the existing project outlet, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Pheasants Forever for 13 wetland restorations by means of sediment removal, ditch plugs, and potential tile removal, plus crossings with culverts in the NW¼NW¼, Section 8, and the E½SW¼, Section 5, Parke Township, Clay County; David Simmer to lower an 18″ dia. culvert by approximately 6″ that the township plans to replace at the intersection of 300th AVE and 260th ST in the SE¼, Section 20, Akron Township, Wilkin County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way; Kraig Nelson for the installation of random drain tile and culvert installations for field crossings in various locations in Sections 9, 11, and 12, Audubon Township, Becker County, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; Ed Askegaard to pattern tile 156 acres in the NE¼, Section 10, Mitchell Township, Wilkin County, via a lift station to C.D. No. 22-Lateral No. 3, to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer; and Michael Yaggie to install pattern tiling with 60′ spacings in the E½, Section 28, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County, outletting to C.D. No. 3-Branch 3, to which the property is assessed, subject to our standard tiling disclaimer.

  • Approved Change Order No. 5 (-$18,790.65) and Pay Request No. 12 in the amount of $265,001.36 to Sellin Brothers, Inc. for their work on Phase 1 of Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration. The contractor is working on seeding and expects to complete Phase 1 in the next few weeks. 

  • Authorized two culvert repairs on Clay C.D. No. 21. The first repair site is in the northwest corner of Section 1, Elmwood Township, where a band on a 36″ dia. corrugated metal pipe field inlet failed and needs to be replaced along with any damaged or deteriorated pipe ($2,000-$3,500).  The other repair is for a 60″ dia. reinforced concrete pipe culvert through 130th ST S between Sections 5 and 6, Elkton Township, that has minor joint separation, causing some settling along the road ditch slope adjacent to the road surface.  The pipe will be excavated, and the joints wrapped with geotextile fabric to prevent water from washing soil through the joints ($2,000-$3,000 for materials and labor).

  • Authorized replacement for two culverts in Clay C.D. No. 58 through 130th ST S between Sections 17 and 18, Elkton Township, with a single line of 73″ x 55″ arch pipe for approximately $20,000 for materials and labor, subject to a 50/50 cost-share agreement with Elkton Township.

  • Authorized BRRWD Engineer Erik S. Jones to work with the Wilkin SWCD to investigate a possible repair of slope failures next to a farmstead where C.D. No. 12 enters the Red River north of Breckenridge. The BRRWD has agreed to conduct a preliminary survey investigation, provide a concept plan, and potentially submit a BWSR Clean Water Fund grant application for erosion control. 

  • Approved hiring LM Road Services, Ulen, MN, to conduct the 2020 ditch spraying for cattails, trees, and noxious weeds on the Clay and Wilkin County ditch systems and projects.

  • Authorized Jones to work with a Becker C.D. No. 5 landowner regarding a pipe installation and advice about a potential ditch improvement process.

  • Authorized signature of cost-share agreement with the Wilkin SWCD for the repair of the C.D. No. 27 east/west branches and the installation of side inlets. The SWCD will provide $159,395.99 in grant funds and the ditch system will provide 25% matching funds. 

  • Approved a Pete Lake homeowner’s request for reimbursement of the gravel costs to raise his driveway near the outlet of Project No. 67, HRBP Lakes Outlet. Since 2010 when the BRRWD completed an outlet project for Helgeson, Randkler, Businger, and Pete Lakes, the runout elevation of the Pete Lake outlet has been modified higher a couple of times in response to Pete Lake landowner requests.  Due to the spring runoff, Pete Lake was at elevation 1356.1 in June, which affected the private driveway near the outlet. 

  • Approved a Turtle Lake homeowner’s request for the BRRWD to cost-share 25% of his shoreland restoration and protection project. The Clay County Planning and Zoning and SWCD has agreed to provide the design and contribute 50% of the costs for the project from their shoreline restoration grant funds. 

  • Received the HR Committee report regarding the possible transition of the current HEI contracted staff to BRRWD in-house employees.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, July 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD Discusses Diversion Lawsuits

At their regular meeting held on June 22, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), received an update from Attorney Brent Edison, Vogel Law Firm, regarding the two lawsuits the BRRWD is currently engaged in regarding the F-M Diversion project.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Diversion Authority (DA) Permit Contested Case hearing concluded on 6/17/20 after 8 days of video testimony.  The Judge would like to render a decision by 7/29/20.  The Judge for the DA permit denial appeal might delay his decision until after the Contested Case has been settled.

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $1,523,434.09.  Income since the 6/8/20 meeting totals $121,091.08.  Total income this year is $1,075,948.84.  The Board approved payment of the bills totaling $139,445.86.

  • Approved permits to Michael Steiner to install a new tile line in the NW¼, Section 3, Andrea Township, Wilkin County, outletting via a lift station on the south end of his field to a natural waterway, subject to the BRRWD’s standard tiling disclaimer; Pheasants Forever (PF) to restore 15 wetlands in the S½, Section 22, Highland Grove Township, Clay County, using scrapers to remove sediment and removing or crushing existing tile; PF to restore one wetland in the NW¼, Section 28, Tansem Township, Clay County, on United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) property by constructing a ditch plug with a rock spillway; Archie Tanner to widen an existing field approach in the SW¼NE¼, Section 17, Riverton Township, Clay County, and to extend the existing 30″ dia. approach culvert to reach a 40′ total length; and Donovan Marquardt to install a new field approach and 18″ dia. culvert in the SE¼, Section 16, Akron Township, Wilkin County, along County Road (C.R.) No. 20.

  • Authorized BRRWD Engineer Erik S. Jones, Houston Engineering, Inc., to assist landowners in Section 28, Spring Prairie Township, Clay County, to obtain a Minnesota Department of Transportation permit to work in their road right-of-way to clean a stretch of the east Trunk Highway No. 9 road ditch along the west section line to improve drainage to the Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 2 system outlet.

  • Approved Change Order No. 1 in the amount of $56,982 for Key Contracting, Inc. for the 2020 channel liner repair on Clay C.D. No. 41 at 28th ST and 2nd AVE N for additional concrete between the ramps and the existing channel walls as well as repair of a slope failure along 28th The Cities of Moorhead and Dilworth ultimately pay for the repairs as ditch system expenses. 

  • Approved repairs for the failing outlet structure on Jay Lake Dam on Becker C.D. No. 5 in Section 28, Audubon Township, estimated to cost $10,000 to $12,000.

  • Approved a replacement of the bridge crossing on Clay C.D. No. 11N along C.R. No. 8 in the N½, Section 33, Kurtz Township. The crossing replacement is estimated to cost $15,000 to $20,000. 

  • Authorized Jones to work with the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District regarding landowner concerns about erosion along the Buffalo River in Section 28, Moland Township, and Section 33, Highland Grove Township, east of Hawley.

  • Authorized Kathleen K. Fenger, BRRWD Interim Administrator, to sign contracts with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) for their purchase of 20 BRRWD wetland mitigation banking credits for a road replacement project in Otter Tail County. The BRRWD will receive $784,280 for the sale and still retains about 30 credits in our wetland bank. 

  • Authorized the removal of old beaver dams along Becker C.D. No. 15 in Section 3, Audubon Township, on USFWS property.

  • Approved the replacement of a damaged inlet culvert in the northeast corner of Section 23, Morken Township, Clay County, and a damaged 24″ dia. inlet/flapgate along C.D. No. 10 in Section 21, Flowing Township. The opinion of probable cost for these repairs is $5,000-$6,000 for materials, equipment, and labor.

  • Approved a resolution requesting BWSR to extend the expiration date (6/23/20) of our current Revised Watershed Management Plan until March 2021 when the BRRWD’s One Watershed, One Plan should be completed.

  • Noted that the Becker C.D. No. 15/Hamden Slough Restoration structure repairs hearing is scheduled for July 16, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office with teleconference options in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols. Alternative contact options will also be available to landowners who wish to submit comments but are not comfortable with attending in person or online: email, telephone, or a mail-in comment form provided in the hearing notice packet.  Landowner notices were sent this week.  The hearing notice includes a request for an RSVP if landowners plan to attend the meeting in person. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, July 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we will hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD Elects New Board Officers

At their regular meeting held on June 8, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), elected Vice President Peter V. Fjestad as Acting BRRWD President and Manager Catherine L. Affield as Acting Vice President.  The officer reorganization was in response to the removal of former BRRWD President Jay A. Leitch by the Clay County Board of Commissioners on 5/26/20.  The Managers agreed to designate the positions as “Acting” officers until Clay County makes new Board appointments.  The terms for the two remaining Clay County Managers, Gerald L. Van Amburg and Mark T. Anderson, will expire on 8/31/20.  The County is currently advertising for the positions for two Managers for three-year terms and one Manager for a one-year term.  Interviews will take place at the 7/21/20 Board of Commissioners meeting with appointments/reappointments to be made at their 7/28/20 meeting. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the 6/8/20 financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand was $1,978,790.72.  Income received since the 5/11/20 meeting totaled $625,936.70 and for the year, was $954,857.76.  The current administrative disbursements since 5/11/20 totaled $34,810.30, and the total for the year is $185,419.33.  They approved payment of the bills totaling $576,447.71.

  • Appointed Manager Anderson to fill the BRRWD’s position on the Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement Committee.

  • Approved permits to Dennis Aksamit to install 158 acres of pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 27, Akron Township, Wilkin County, outletting to Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3 to which the property is assessed, subject to the standard tiling disclaimer; Wilkin County Highway Department to replace an existing wooden bridge in the NE¼, Section 35, Akron Township, with a 12′ x 6′ reinforced concrete box culvert (RCB); Don Yaggie to tile the NE¼, Section 22, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, in conjunction with tiling Permit No. 20-022, subject to the standard tiling disclaimer; Todd Andresen/Becker Soil and Water Conservation District to install Natural Resources Conservation Service designed water and sediment control basins in the NE¼, Section 23, and the NW¼, Section 24, Hamden Township, Becker County, with surface intakes and underground outlet, including a culvert change in the township road, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Wilkin County Highway Department to replace an existing bridge on C.D. No. 3 in the NE¼, Section 31, Akron Township, with a 12′ x 6′ RCB; Tyson Trosvik to install a perforated 12″ dia. main tile line in the NE¼, Section 1, Tanberg Township, Wilkin County, to provide an improved outlet for existing tile in Section 6, Trondhjem Township, Otter Tail County; Bill Riestenberg to replace a deteriorated culvert in the NE¼, Section 33, Oscar Township, Otter Tail County, sized to match the new 15″ dia. upstream culvert the Township recently installed, plus the addition of random tile lines to existing tile in Sections 29, 33, and 34, Oscar Township; and Luther Blilie to install a field entrance off County Road No. 30 in the NE¼, Section 34, Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, with an 18″ dia. corrugated metal pipe sized to match the adjacent culverts, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 1 in the amount of $91,836 from Key Contracting, Inc. for their work on the Clay C.D. Nos. 41, 47, and 50 channel liner repairs.

  • Authorized a DNR Permit amendment to remove the fish barrier on a waterbody on private property in Deerhorn Township, Wilkin County, associated with the Manston Slough project. The Board also authorized a survey to develop a plan for the Project Management Team’s review to find options to improve connections to various wetland basins on DNR property associated with the project and to improve water level management. 

  • Approved Final Pay Request No. 6 and Change Order No. 2 from Dennis Drewes, Inc. in the amount of $25,457.88 to close out the Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch (J.D.) No. 1 construction contract.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 11 from Sellin Brothers, Inc. for Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, Phase 1, construction in the amount of $191,956.81 and authorized signature of the Phase 2 construction contract with Gladen Construction, Inc., LaPorte, MN.

  • Authorized signature of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Targeted Watershed grant extension for the Wolverton Creek Restoration project to 12/31/2021.

  • Authorized Interim Administrator Kathleen K. Fenger to sign the BWSR Reinvest In Minnesota easement documents on behalf of the BRRWD for a parcel in Section 10 of Wolverton Township.

  • Approved an extension of States Borders Construction, Inc. contract deadline for the Wilkin/Otter Tail J.D. No. 2 repairs until 7/15/20.

  • Approved the 2020-2021 Barnesville High School River Watch water quality monitoring budget in the amount of $5,553.80.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we plan to hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Considers Reorganization

At their regular meeting held on May 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed the Clay County Board of Commissioners’ action to remove BRRWD President Jay Leitch for cause from the BRRWD Board of Managers, effective immediately.  The Board discussed their options for reorganization and agreed to revisit the issue at their 6/8/20 meeting. 

Other Business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status: Cash on hand is $1,631,272.50.  Income received since the 5/11/20 meeting totaled $121,289, and total income this year is $450,210.06.  The Board also approved the payment of bills, totaling $157,129.48. 

  • Approved permits to Bob Leiseth to replace damaged and undersized culverts in the SE¼, Section 17, Alliance Township, Clay County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W); Myron Ehlert to add a new field approach with an 18″ dia. culvert in the NE¼, Section 19, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, off County Road No. 18, subject to County approval to work within their road R/W; Jeff Lavigne to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 25, Elkton Township, Clay County, outletting to Spring Creek and the township road ditch, plus the installation of two approach culverts off the township road, which he also plans to clean; Pheasants Forever to restore one drained wetland basin in the NE¼, Section 14, Eglon Township, Clay County, by removing sediment and constructing a ditch plug with a rock armored spillway; Brian Piekarski to install a single line of 6″ dia. tile, 0.25 miles long, to connect low areas in his field to an existing tile project in the NW¼, Section 27, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County, outletting via the existing outlet; Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Public Schools for school building additions and remodeling in Dilworth and Glyndon; and Michael Hasbargen to install pattern tile in the SE¼, Section 22, Nilsen Township, Wilkin County, outletting south into County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3-Branch 3 to which it is assessed.

  • Approved a cost share agreement for $1,006.12 with the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for two shoreland restoration projects on Turtle Lake, as a project expense.

  • Approved an amendment to the Audubon Dakota/Oakport Flood Mitigation project Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to add two habitat restoration sites and to extend the enhancement period.

  • Approved the finalized Change Order No. 4 in the amount of $180,773.33 to extend the Wolverton Creek Restoration Phase 1 work downstream approximately 0.5 miles through Section 22, Holy Cross Township, Clay County.

  • Authorized BRRWD Engineer Erik Jones, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), to submit the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) funding application for a proposed project to establish a corridor for a future river restoration project on the Otter Tail River. The BRRWD is partnering with the Wilkin SWCD and Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to secure voluntary conservation easements along the Otter Tail River by using LSOHC funding.  The total funding request is for $4.5 million.

  • Authorized beaver control for Whiskey Creek in Wilkin County and the Buffalo River in Becker County.

  • Approved repairs for two field inlet culverts with damaged flapgates in Sections 14 and 16, Kurtz Township, Clay County, estimated to cost $2,000-$2,500, as a Clay C.D. No. 33 ditch system expense.

  • Approved a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research internship request for Kerria Burns to work with the BRRWD’s water quality monitoring program to analyze existing data and also participate in field data collection. The internship is fully funded by NSF funds.  The Board approved an MOU from the University of Vermont, and agreed to provide an offer letter for Burns, as her sponsoring organization.  Manager Van Amburg will be her onsite supervisor. 

  • Approved Clay County request to award a contract with Dennis Drewes, Inc. for their low bid of $209,710 for culvert replacements along Clay C.D. Nos. 9 and 11. The Engineer’s estimate was $504,126.  The BRRWD has entered into a MOU with the Highway Department to complete these repairs.

  • Authorized HEI to conduct a survey related to a drainage violation in Section 16, Riverton Township, Clay County.

  • Authorized the HR Committee to hire a consultant to analyze the potential cost savings of transitioning the three current HEI office staff members to BRRWD employees and to obtain a legal opinion evaluating whether the current office staffing structure creates a conflict of interest.

  • Approved providing a letter of support for Audubon Dakota’s LSOHC grant application to purchase and restore approximately 70 acres of habitat in the Bluestem area in South Moorhead north of the BRRWD’s 50th AVE project and to act as fiscal agent/land purchaser for the grant application.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, June 22, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we plan to hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 1-701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  The public is welcome to dial in to the meeting.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Awards Construction Contract

At their regular meeting held on May 11, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), awarded the Wolverton Creek Restoration Phase 2 construction contract to Gladen Construction, Laporte, MN, with their bid of $864,833.  The Engineer’s estimate was $1,227,599.  The Phase 2 earthwork is to be completed by 6/30/21 with the seeding to be completed by 7/20/21.  Sellin Brothers, Inc. is working on Phase 1 construction.  The Board extended their contract deadline last fall until 6/22/20. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 5/11/20 financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $1,719,012.53.  Administrative disbursements since the 4/13/20 meeting equal $33,800.02, and for the year, total $150,609.03.  Total income this year is $328,921.06.  Income received since the 4/13/20 meeting totaled $38,990.78.  The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $209,029.03.  The Board also approved a motion to remove former Administrator Bruce E. Albright as a Midwest Bank signatory. 

  • Approved a permit to Shaun Thomssen to clean the south township road ditch in the NW¼NW¼, Section 26, Elkton Township, Clay County, to the original elevation to improve drainage, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W).

  • Authorized signature and distribution of the Whiskey Creek Restoration project Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and to publish the EAW availability notice with a 30 day comment period.

  • Approved repairs for Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 3, estimated to cost approximately $3,000 to $4,000.

  • Approved repairs for Clay C.D. Nos. 9, 11, and 40. The estimated cost for C.D. No. 9 is $4,500-$5,500; C.D. No. 11 is $1,500-$2,500; and C.D. No. 40 is $2,500-$3,500.  The work will consist of cleaning sediment away from the outlet ends of field side inlets. 

  • Approved a request from the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) for up to $8,000 in BRRWD Engineer Erik Jones’ time to provide technical assistance for a streambank erosion problem property in Section 36, Moland Township. The BRRWD has technical assistance funding set aside in their 2020 budget, and last year, during the application process for the CWF grant, the Board approved up to $41,400 in technical assistance and design funding.

  • Approved repairs for Project No. 16, Stinking Lake, for a field crossing washout over Hay Creek downstream of Stinking Lake. There is also a washout on an access trail adjacent to the Lake that was installed as part of the project where the culverts have failed and washed out.  This repair will require a new culvert and clay fill.  The estimated cost for both repairs is $4,500-$5,500.

  • Received a report from the HR Committee regarding the potential transition of the three current HEI office staff members to BRRWD employees. The Committee plans to meet with representatives from the BRRWD Advisory Committee and County Commissioners to solicit input before making recommendations to the Board at the 5/26/20 meeting. 

  • Approved a motion to remove easement option payments from the bill list for two landowners impacted by the Stony Creek Water Resource Comprehensive Management Project and to slow down project development.

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, will hold their next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we are going to hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Approves Wilkin Ditch Repairs

At their regular meeting held on April 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed an alternative repair proposal to clean both branches of Wilkin County Ditch (C.D.) No. 27 (310th AVE and 320th AVE), to establish the buffers, as mandated by the 2015 State Buffer Rule, and to work with the landowners to install field inlets where needed.  After two informational meetings, it became apparent the ditch system landowners were not in favor of a more extensive ditch retrofit for the east branch along Wilkin County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 19.  A traditional ditch repair with installation of side inlet pipes will be completed instead.  This alternative will allow the use of some Wilkin and Otter Tail County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) grant funding to reduce the local share.  The right-of-way is staked, and the County plans to start the work in July. 

Other Business included: 

  • Approved the BRRWD’s 4/13/20 financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,172,724.47.  Administrative disbursements since the 3/09/20 meeting equal $41,601.18, and for the year, total $116,809.01.  Total income this year is $289,930.28.  Income received since the 3/09/20 meeting totaled $12,303.18, including a payment from the Red River Watershed Management Board for Mediation Project Team expenses ($8,542.75).  The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for March interest ($3,535.43), and Houston Engineering, Inc. for their monthly office rent ($225).  They also received an update of the BRRWD’s financial status as of 4/27/20.  Cash on hand is $2,154,663.62.  Total income is $290,039.19.  Income since the 4/13/20 meeting totals $108.91 from Otter Tail County for delinquent property taxes.  The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $484,532.97.

  • Harold Rotunda, CPA, is working on the 2019 audit and plans to forward the draft for review at the 5/11/20 meeting.  The Board also approved a motion acknowledging the financial records are all up to date, and former BRRWD Administrator Albright’s responsibility for the financials ends as of the 4/27/20 meeting. 

  • Approved permits to the City of Moorhead for the excavation and stabilization for a regional storm water pond in the NE¼, Section 16, Moorhead Township, Clay County; Bruce Yaggie to install 149 acres of pattern tile in Section 12, Nordick Township, Wilkin County, plus an additional 153 acres of future tile in Section 1, Nordick Township, with a main crossing 230th ST; Aron Kassenborg to install 103 acres of pattern tile in the E½, Section 6, Moland Township, Clay County, outletting to the Buffalo River; Lowell Seidler to install pattern tile in parts of Sections 8 and 9, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, to gravity flow south to Wilkin C.D. No. 6A; Thomas Friederichs to install an approach and 30″ dia. culvert off County Road (C.R.) No. 25 in the W½NW¼, Section 21, Humboldt Township, Clay County; Tom Jennen to install side water inlets where open ditches now enter Wilkin/Otter Tail County Judicial Ditch No. 2 in the W½, Section 19, Carlisle Township, Otter Tail County; Thomas Radig to install pattern tile in the NW¼, Section 22, Nordick Township, Wilkin County; Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley to install 20 acres of pattern tile with a lift station outletting to the east C.R. No. 95 road ditch in the SW¼, Section 11, Oakport Township, Clay County; Brent Halverson to move the dry approach in the southeast corner of their property to the west about 50′-100′ in the E½, Section 26, Barnesville Township, off C.R. No. 51, to provide access to a new home construction site; and the Wilkin County Highway Department to remove the existing 30″ dia. centerline corrugated metal pipe culvert/flapgate into Wilkin C.D. No. 1B in the NW¼, Section 4, Nilsen Township, in CSAH No. 18 and to replace it with a same sized reinforced concrete pipe with a gate on the north end.

  • Approved Change Order No. 4 in the amount of $180,494.19 to extend the Project No. 79, Wolverton Creek Restoration, Phase 1 work for one mile downstream through Section 22, Holy Cross Township, subject to the acquisition of a temporary easement from the landowner. The Board also approved making up the difference between the Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) payments and the agreed upon easement payments for two Phase 2 landowners who don’t qualify for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program because their land is already enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. 

  • Authorized Staff to send a formal letter to the RIM easement department requesting to partner with them on the use of the RIM reserve outside request easement policy regarding a proposal for the BRRWD to work with the Wilkin SWCD and Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to obtain conservation easements along the Otter Tail River. The easements will be used to establish a corridor for a future river restoration project on the Otter Tail River using Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council funding.  The Board also approved adding a possible incentive payment up to 20% to match actual land values for the conservation easement acquisitions, subject to future adjustment based on actual funding allocation with the local cost share source yet to be identified. 

  • Accepted an estimate of $22,000 from the Minnesota State University-Moorhead Archaeological Department to conduct a Whiskey Creek channel cultural review in association with the Whiskey Creek Restoration project.

  • Approved a purchase offer to sell up to 20 wetland mitigation banking credits to BWSR for their Local Government Road Wetland Replacement Program.

  • Approved the 2020 International Water Institute water quality monitoring contract for their work at various monitoring sites within the BRRWD, as designated in our current Revised Watershed Management Plan and also for the BRRWD’s Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Surface Water Assessment Grant.

  • Recognized Kathleen Fenger as the Interim BRRWD Administrator, starting 5/1/20.

The BRRWD Board of Managers will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, May 11, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we are going to hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org

 

BRRWD Administrator Albright Retires

At their regular meeting held on March 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), received news that long-time BRRWD Administrator Bruce E. Albright will retire on 5/1/20.  On March 10, 1980, the BRRWD approved a proposal from then District Engineer Robert Muscha, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), for HEI to provide staff for the watershed office.  Albright assumed the Administrator position on May 12, 1980.  Over his 40-year career, Albright was known locally and state-wide for his skilled leadership and water management expertise.  The Board has assigned Assistant Administrator Kathleen Fenger to the position of Interim BRRWD Administrator until they have determined HEI’s future role in staffing the BRRWD Barnesville office.

Business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,206,610.70.  Total income this year is $286,169.85.  Income since the 3/09/20 meeting totals $8,542.75 from the Red River Watershed Management Board for Mediation Project Team expenses.  The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $37,646.66.

  • Discussed the response from the Minnesota Data Practices Office regarding Clay County’s Open Meeting Law violation concerns, which was that “there would not be an Open Meeting Law violation when a Board goes into closed session even though it did not include a closed session on its meeting agenda.”

  • Approved a request from the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District for a $25,000 contribution to their Cover Crop Incentive Program.

  • Discussed the BRRWD’s COVID-19 Action Plan. The Board agreed to cancel the 4/13/20 meeting and postpone the recently scheduled project and ditch system meetings and hearings until further notice.

  • Approved permits to the City of Moorhead to decommission a sanitary lift station in the Regal Estates mobile home park and relocate a new lift station to the north in the SE¼, Section 4, Moorhead Township, Clay County, and Four Hills Farm to install a Natural Resources Conservation Service designed grade stabilization project in the SW¼, Section 2, Humboldt Township, Clay County.

  • Approved signature of a $1.5 million Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant agreement for the stream restoration component of the Stony Creek Restoration Project and to authorize HEI to move forward with the project’s Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and permitting process.

  • Discussed an application for grant funding for a potential project to establish a corridor for a future habitat restoration project on the Otter Tail River using Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) funding. LSOHC funding would be used to acquire voluntary conservation easements along the river channel corridor for a future project. Easements would be acquired through the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and its Reinvest In Minnesota easement program.

  • Discussed repair options and cost estimates for proposed repair of Wilkin County Ditch No. 27. The new information will be forwarded to the ditch system landowners for their review and comment.

  • Requested a formal proposal from Moorhead State University-Moorhead Archaeological Department for a cultural review of the Whiskey Creek channel, which will be required for the EAW and the DNR permit application for the proposed channel restoration project.

  • Authorized HEI to contact the landowners on several Wilkin County ditch systems regarding the staking and seeding of approximately 40-50 acres of buffers that are out of compliance with the 2015 State Buffer Law. The letter will include an advisory that if the buffers are disturbed again, the landowners will be held responsible for reseeding costs.

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, April 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office.  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, we are going to hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Annotated, Section 13D.021.  The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 701-499-9476.  Access Code 2503.  Conference PIN 1401.  More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Awards Contract

At their regular meeting held on March 9, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), awarded the contract to repair the Clay County Ditch (C.D.) Nos. 41, 47, and 50 concrete liners to Key Contracting, Inc., West Fargo, for their bid of $159,100. The Engineer’s estimated project cost was $190,000. The concrete ditch liners were constructed in the 1990s in Moorhead and Dilworth with the assistance of the Economic Development Administration.

Business included:

• Approved the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,403,892.07. Administrative disbursements this month equal $21,457.70 and for the year, total $75,207.83. 2020 Accounts Receivable total $6,738,798. Total income this year is $277,627.10. Income received since the 2/10/20 meeting totaled $12,915.69, including a Upper South Branch of the Buffalo River-Phase 1 grant payment from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council ($5,333.25), a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Upper Buffalo River 319 Grant Payment ($579.80), and a contribution from Hamden Township for the Becker C.D. No. 15-Branch 7 repair ($2,500). The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for February interest ($4,228.85), a refund from Premium Waters, Inc. ($48.79), and Houston Engineering, Inc. for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board approved the payment of bills totaling $205,824.12.

• Discussed the Clay County Board of Commissioners’ concerns about the process used to hire an expert witness for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) contested case proceeding. County Commissioners Jenny Mongeau and Kevin Campbell voiced the County’s concern about the Board’s lack of transparency regarding the expert witness hiring and payment. They also discussed potential BRRWD Open Meeting Law violations.

• Appointed BRRWD President Jay Leitch to be the designated signee for the DNR contested case legal documents.

• Approved a motion to enter into a 50-year monitoring easement agreement with the Minnesota Land Committee for a parcel of BRRWD buyout property associated with the Georgetown Levee project to conduct their biotic and geomorphic survey for the Diversion project. This initial monitoring will establish a baseline for biotic and geomorphic conditions for comparison to mid-construction and post-construction conditions to determine if the project caused any changes to the biotic or soil conditions. If there are changes attributable to the project, then there would be opportunities for the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) to use an adaptive management program in conjunction with a number of participating agencies. The COE plans to start the first round of monitoring in May. The Board also approved a motion to send a letter encouraging the Wilkin County landowners within the BRRWD’s jurisdiction to sign voluntary rights-of-entry easement agreements with the Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement to obtain 2-year monitoring easements for the biotic and geomorphic survey.

• Approved permits to Larry Wiertzema to lower an existing driveway culvert to grade along 280th AVE in the S½SE¼, Section 24, Meadows Township, Wilkin County, subject to township approval to work within their road right-of-way (R/W).

• Received an update regarding the status of the Stony Creek Restoration project easement option acquisitions. All but two options have now been forwarded to the landowners for signature.

• Received an update regarding the status of the Wolverton Creek Restoration project Phase 2 easement acquisitions. About two-thirds of the easements are in place with only three landowners left to finalize their easements. Plans are to open bids in late April or May.

• Noted that the Wilkin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) held a landowner informational meeting on 3/6/20 to discuss the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) grant program. In order to access the potential NWQI funding (estimated $2.9 million) to defray local project costs, landowners can work with Craig Lingen, SWCD, and John Quast, NRCS to implement conservation practices on their private land through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

• Accepted the Wilkin C.D. No. 6A Viewers’ Report for the Redetermination of Benefits proceeding. The Viewers based their benefit rates on a percentage of the county’s Estimated Market Value for the land with benefits, totaling approximately $6 million, which also includes the City of Rothsay. Following the Board’s acceptance of the Report, a redetermination of benefits hearing notice will be published in the Wahpeton Daily News. The redetermination hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office. An informational meeting/open house is also tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 2, 2020, for the landowners to meet with the Viewers to ask questions.

• Approved an Order to move forward with the acquisition of R/W for Clay C.D. Nos. 20, 22, 23, 28, and 51 buffer installation in accordance with the 2015 State Buffer Rule. A second Order was also approved to remove approximately 150 acres from the benefit area of C.D. No. 28.

• Approved signing a revised cost-share agreement for the COE Section 1135 Study for the Lower Otter Tail River Revised Project Management Plan. The original 2017 estimate was $340,000 with the COE paying the first $100,000 and the COE and the BRRWD splitting the remainder 50/50. The new cost estimate has risen to $753,749 with the BRRWD’s share now at $326,912.50.
• Approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Clay County Highway Department to replace culverts on Clay C.D. Nos. 11N and 9, south of Moorhead.

• Authorized Jeff Nichol, William Nichol Excavating, Inc., to remove a logjam along the South Branch of the Buffalo River just west of the City of Glyndon for his quote of $3,938.

• Approved a new technical service contract with Marco Technologies for our M-Files data management program.

The Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 23, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville office. Due to the Coronavirus or COVID-19, we are going to hold an electronic meeting in accordance with Minnesota Statute, Section 13D.021. The conference line information is: Toll Free 1-833-403-3948 or Local 701-499-9476. Access Code 2503. Conference PIN 1401. We thank you for your understanding during these difficult times and look forward to returning to our regular meeting format as soon as conditions allow. More information will be posted on the BRRWD’s website prior to the meeting at www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Covers Light Agenda in Record Time

At their regular meeting held on February 24, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), covered their agenda items in about 50 minutes and then watched two Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP) training videos on soil health/cover crops to fill out their hour-long meeting. These videos provide training to meet BWSR’s Level II PRAP performance standards for Watershed District Managers.

Business included:

  • The Board reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,451,098.43. Total income this year is $267,840.00. Income since the 2/10/20 meeting totals $3,128.59, including a payment from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for our Upper Buffalo River 319 Grant ($579.80), a refund from Premium Waters, Inc. ($48.79), and a payment from Hamden Township for their share of the Becker County Ditch (C.D.) No. 15 repairs ($2,500). The Board approved a motion to hire Harold J. Rotunda, Certified Public Accountant, to complete the BRRWD’s 2019 audit. They approved payment of the bills in the amount of $56,933.46.

  • Approved permits to the Clay County Highway Department to replace an existing bridge over C.D. No. 10 between Sections 22 and 23, Morken Township, with two lines of 9′ x 6′ precast concrete box culverts with end sections and minor grading; and the City of Barnesville for the development of the Del Acres Gilbertson 3rd Addition, a 57-lot residential single family home subdivision in the W½, Section 29, Humboldt Township, Clay County, including the installation of sewer, water, storm sewer, paving and grading, and a bituminous bike path along 13th AVE from 4th ST N to 9th ST S. 

  • Received an update on the status of the Stony Creek Water Resource Project. The office staff has revised the easement options and started forwarding them to the affected landowners. The Stony Creek project has been added to the Red River Basin’s proposed $75 million 2020 Legislative bonding bill. 

  • Received an update on the status of the Fargo Moorhead Diversion lawsuits regarding the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permit contested case and the Diversion project permit denial appeal. 

  • Noted that the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District has scheduled a meeting on 3/6/20 at the Environmental Office in Breckenridge at 9:00 AM for landowners involved with the Whiskey Creek Restoration project near Kent to discuss the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) grant program. In order to access the potential NWQI funding, local landowners will have to work with NRCS staff to implement conservation practices on their private land. The funding could be used for the implementation of best management practices: side inlets, sediment control basins, and even some of the channel restoration work. The use of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to acquire the necessary permanent right-of-way will also be reviewed. 

  • Approved the transfer of 1.09 acres of wetland mitigation credits from the BRRWD’s wetland bank to be used for the Oakport project. 

  • Noted that the draft Total Maximum Daily Load and the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies Reports for the Otter Tail River are being circulated for comments. Once the review period is over and the Reports are adopted, the next step could be to move forward with the One Watershed, One Plan process for the Otter Tail River watershed.

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 9, 2020, 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 www.brrwd.org

 

BRRWD Approves Draft 1W1P

At their regular meeting held on February 10, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), reviewed a Power Point presentation regarding the draft status of the One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P). After discussion about how the Plan will be implemented, the Board voted to approve the draft. Once the 1W1P Policy Committee reviews and approves the Plan, it will be distributed for a 60-day notification period to local governments and agencies, followed by a public hearing. The Plan will then be submitted to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Northern Planning Committee, who will make a recommendation to the full BWSR Board. After BWSR’s formal adoption, a new local committee will be formed to implement the Plan. As one of BWSR’s approved 1W1P efforts, the BRRWD is working with local government agencies from Becker, Clay, Wilkin, and Otter Tail Counties, local government officials, and regular citizens to create a single plan for the three watersheds within the BRRWD: the Red River, Otter Tail River, and the Buffalo River. Cooperation throughout multiple, connected jurisdictions is important because water management in one county can affect the waters of all the other counties. Combining multiple water planning efforts will create a more efficient and cooperative plan for water management. The Plan 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.

Other business included:

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, accounts receivable, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,581,048.51. Administrative disbursements this month equal $53,725.13, and for the year, total the same. 2020 Accounts Receivable total $5,571,184. Total income this year is $264,711.41. Income received since the 1/13/20 meeting totaled $59,328.59, including delinquent county property/ditch tax payments from Clay ($14,989.45), Becker ($6,450.56), Otter Tail ($1,734.26), and Wilkin ($12,547.74); Becker County for a Buffer Initiative Aid payment ($15,007); Audubon Township for their share of a culvert repair ($2,500), and $1,000 from the North Dakota State University for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant program. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for January interest ($4,874.58) and Houston Engineering, Inc. for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board approved payment of the bills totaling $133,078.67. 

  • Signed an agreement with three other parties to split the estimated $6,156 to repair the former Galaxie Supper Club driveway/culvert. 

  • Received an update on the status of the Stony Creek Water Resource Project. The office staff is updating the easement options and will be sending them out to the affected landowners in the next few days. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plans to forward the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council Grant paperwork for the Board’s signature in the near future. Once the landowner easement options are acquired and the Engineer’s Report is filed, the Board will schedule the Final Hearing where funding options will be finalized. 

  • Approved a motion to proceed with the hearing process for the Hamden Slough Refuge wetland modification project. As part of their project, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) plans to raise the Homstad wetland 1 foot above the “as-built” elevation, which involves Becker County Ditch (C.D.) No. 15. The USFWS will forward a petition for the impoundment of water on the county ditch system to the BRRWD. The Board set a tentative hearing date of March 24, 2020. 

  • Approved the preliminary budget and project development steps for the Whiskey Creek Restoration project near Kent, subject to the Final Hearing. 

  • Scheduled ditch buffer hearings for Clay C.D. Nos. 20, 22, 23, 28, and 51 on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville. This is just the first in a series of ditch hearings to be held in accordance with the 2015 State Buffer Law. 

  • Discussed changes to the cost estimate of the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) Section 1135 Study for the Lower Otter Tail River Revised Project Management Plan. The original 2017 estimate was $340,000 with the COE paying the first $100,000 and the COE and the BRRWD splitting the remainder 50/50. The new cost estimate has risen to $753,749 with the BRRWD’s share now at $326,912.50. The Board decided to delay signing the agreement until more Managers were present to discuss the revisions. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, February 24, 2020, 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 www.brrwd.org.

BRRWD Advances Whiskey Creek Project

At their regular meeting held on January 27, 2020, at 7:00 PM in Barnesville, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), approved a proposal to advance the development of the Whiskey Creek Restoration Project near Kent, MN, following Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.605, Project Constructed with Government Aid or as Part of Plan. According to this statute, if the project is paid for in whole or in part by the state or federal government, the BRRWD doesn’t need to hold a preliminary resolution hearing, which will speed up the development process. Last year, the Wilkin Soil and Water Conservation District received a $320,000 Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Fund grant for field inlet installations along the Whiskey Creek channel. The proposed project was also awarded a 319 Small Watershed Grant last year from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which could provide approximately $250,000 every four years for up to four funding cycles. The Natural Resources Conservation Service also is considering a National Water Quality Initiative grant program for the Whiskey Creek watershed ($2 million). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also has the project on their stream restoration list ($5.3 million). The next steps for project development could include submitting the DNR permit application, completing the Environmental Assessment Worksheet process, establishing a watershed management district to provide a local funding source, complete easement drawings/exhibits, developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the agencies involved in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, scheduling a final hearing, starting the landowner easement acquisition process, and finally, advertising for phased construction bids with work potentially beginning in August 2020. 

Other business included: 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s financial status. Cash on hand is $2,592,279.77. Total income this year is $238,383.91. Income since the 1/13/20 meeting totals $33,001.09, including delinquent county property/ditch tax payments from Becker ($2,712.09), Otter Tail ($1,734.26), and Wilkin ($9,401.72); Buffer Initiative Aid payment from Becker County ($15,007); and $1,000 from the North Dakota State University Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant program. The Board approved payment of the bills, totaling $40,347.20. 

  • Approved permits to Scott Anderson to lower culverts and clean the north ditch of 200th ST S along the Clay/Wilkin County line in Section 32, Humboldt Township, subject to conditions set by the downstream landowner and the Township’s permission to work within their road right-of-way; the Clay County Highway Department to remove existing bituminous pavement on County Road (C.R.) No.  1, grade the road to new elevations and specifications, and install a gravel surface in Sections 6 and 7, Oakport Township; City of Moorhead to mill and overlay 12th AVE S from 4th ST S to 20th ST S in Section 16, Moorhead Township, replace existing drainage structures as needed, and reconstruct 12th AVE S from 20th ST S to Main AVE SE with catch basins and storm pipes; Shawn Norman to pattern tile 310 acres in the SE¼ and the SW¼, Section 15, Manston Township, Wilkin County, outletting via an existing tile system to Project No. 56, Manston Slough; and the Clay County Highway Department to replace an existing bridge in the NE¼, Section 19, Barnesville Township, in C.R. No. 21 over County Ditch (C.D.) No. 34 with two lines of 14′ x 8′ reinforced box culvert with end sections and minor grading. 

  • Approved a 50/50 cost share proposal from Clay County for County State Aid Highway (CSAH) No. 18 drainage improvements in the SE¼, Section 27, Oakport Township, estimated to cost between $70,000-$80,000. The Highway Department expects to handle most of the ditch work and conduct the bidding process. 

  • Approved a proposal to clear brush and small trees on Whiskey Creek from the west line of Section 14, Connelly Township, Wilkin County, east to the C.D. Nos. 1C/34 outlet. JBX LLC submitted a quote of $6,075 for the maintenance work. The costs will be split between the two ditch systems. 

  • Approved a proposal from William Nichol Excavating, Inc. to remove dead fall and debris from Whisky Creek in Section 23, Barnesville Township, west of the City of Barnesville downstream of CSAH No. 2 along the Barnesville Rod and Gun Club property. Staff will work with the affected landowners to gain access to the work site. 

  • Discussed the details of the Houston Engineering, Inc. 2020-2022 engineering consultant contract the Board recently awarded and signed at the 1/13/20 annual meeting. 

  • Approved a $12,500 contribution to the Army Corps of Engineers for an update of the Red River Basin Feasibility Study.

  •  Noted that the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Legislative Breakfast and Day At The Capitol event is scheduled for March 18-19, 2020, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Downtown, St. Paul. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, February 10, 2020, 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 www.brrwd.org.

 

 

Executive Session Notice

A special meeting including an executive session between the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), and their Attorneys regarding the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit contested case, and the BRRWD permit denial will be held on Friday, January 24, 2020, at 2:00 PM in the Vogel Law Firm office, located at 218 NP AVE, Fargo, ND 58102.

Dated this 20th day of January, 2020.

                                                                      /s/ John E. Hanson   

                                                                      John E. Hanson, Secretary

                                                                      Buffalo-Red River Watershed District

 

BRRWD Holds Annual Meeting

On January 13, 2020, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), held their annual meeting at 7:00 PM in Barnesville. The Board cast a unanimous ballot to reelect the current officers to serve another term in 2020: Jay A. Leitch, President, Clay County; Peter V. Fjestad, Vice President, Otter Tail County; Mark T. Anderson, Treasurer, Clay County; John E. Hanson, Secretary, Becker County. Vogel Law Firm was appointed as the 2020 BRRWD legal consultant, and Barnesville Midwest Bank was designated as the official 2020 BRRWD depository, subject to the use of any other depositories within the District as needed throughout the year, provided they are FDIC insured. BRRWD Lobbyist Joel Carlson’s existing two-year contract expires at the end of 2020. The BRRWD published Requests For Proposals for all services in area newspapers. Two engineering companies responded: Moore Engineering, Inc. and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI). Both proposals were forwarded to the Managers prior to the meeting for review. The Board appointed HEI as the BRRWD’s engineering consultant for a two-year contract (2020-2022), including the current Barnesville administrative office staff: Bruce Albright (Administrator), Kathy Fenger (Assistant Administrator), Julie Jerger (Senior Administrative Assistant), and RaeAnn Berg (Administrative Assistant).

The Board heard from two landowners associated with Project No. 80, Stony Creek Water Resources Management Plan, regarding the status of the project and the easement option acquisitions. Both felt that the project has been delayed long enough by studies for nearly 5 years, and they asked the Board to make a decision to either move forward with the project development or drop it. After an extended discussion regarding the various design alternatives and concerns about the project’s benefit/cost ratio, the Board approved a motion on a 5 to 2 vote to move forward with the development of the Alternative 1 project design, to work with the landowners to complete the easement option acquisitions, and to start the funding search.

A landowner expressed concerns about the 12/11/19 Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement informational meeting pertaining to the Fargo-Moorhead (FM) Diversion. There was a miscommunication regarding who was invited to the meeting and what topics would be discussed. BRRWD President Jay Leitch explained that there are two separate groups of landowners with different issues. The recent meeting was held for those landowners affected by the environmental/biometric monitoring right-of-entry easement. The landowners involved with the soil boring right-of-entry eminent domain issue also attended the meeting expecting their issue to be discussed but were disappointed when their concerns were not addressed.

Other business included:

  • The Board reviewed the 12/31/19 annual financial reports, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, summary of income, and the accounts receivable report. Total 2019 income was $5,770,437.16, and administrative expenses totaled $343,507.69. The 2019 Accounts Receivable still totals $4,468,064, including delinquent taxes and ongoing grant agreements. Cash on hand at the end of the year was $2,712,837.18. The office also prepared a worksheet showing the individual account financial activities for 2019 and allocated a 1% administrative fee ($50,572.94) based on the amount of the expenses for each account over the year. After average account balances for the year are calculated, accounts with a negative average are charged interest at the rate of the Midwest Bank loan, and accounts with positive balances were allocated interest, including the 2019 bank account interest income ($58,600.68). The 2019 year-end account transfers from the Minnesota Statutes Annotated 103D.905, Subd. 3, account ($543,832.15) were completed for several programs/projects, some which do not have assessment areas. A final 12/31/19 balance sheet was prepared, showing the project/ditch system account balances reflecting the interest allocation/account transfers. The Board then reviewed the current 1/13/20 financial reports. Income since 1/1/20 was $205,382.82, including $171,921.32 from Clay County for 2019 ditch tax proceeds, $33,136.50 from Wilkin County for Buffer Initiative Aid, $225 from HEI for office rent, and $100 from Agassiz Valley Co-op for meeting room rental. Cash on hand is $2,918,220, and 2020 Accounts Receivable totals $5,573,684. The Board also approved payment of the bills totaling $549,515.82. 

  • Entered into Executive Session to discuss the status of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources contested case and the FM Diversion Authority’s (DA) permit denial. The Board scheduled a Special Executive Session meeting with both BRRWD Attorneys to continue discussion regarding the lawsuits on Friday, January 24, 2020, at 2:00 PM in the Vogel Law Firm office in Fargo. A motion was made and seconded to approve the FM DA’s BRRWD permit application (Permit No. 19-003). After discussion, the motion was withdrawn with the understanding that the issue will be revisited at a future Board meeting, following the upcoming special meeting. 

  • Approved permits to Otter Tail County to replace an existing bridge on County State Aid Highway No. 15 between Sections 26 and 27, Orwell Township, downstream of the Orwell Dam; Pheasants Forever to install 12 wetland restorations in Sections 11, 13, and 14, Eglon Township, Clay County, including ditch plug construction, sediment removal, and tile removal; and the Minnesota Department of Transportation for culvert improvements including pipe lining, culvert modifications, and the removal of one cattle-crossing in various state roads in Clay, Otter Tail, and Becker Counties. All permits are subject to our standard conditions and disclaimers. 

  • Approved Pay Request No. 3 in the amount of $76,988 for States Borders Construction, Inc. for their work on Wilkin/Otter Tail Judicial Ditch No. 2 outlet improvement. 

  • Approved a resolution to seek an increase of the Watershed Districts’ general administrative fund levy from $250,000 to $500,000 and authorized staff to forward the document to the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD).

  •  Noted that the MAWD Legislative Breakfast and Day At The Capitol event is scheduled for March 18-19, 2020, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Downtown, St. Paul. Staff will handle reservations and registrations. Managers Hanson, Fjestad, Anderson, and Van Amburg plan to attend. 

  • Noted that the Red River Watershed Management Board Drainage Conference will be held on Monday, January 27, 2020, at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, Moorhead, and the 32nd Annual Conference of the Erosion Control Association will be held in Plymouth, MN, on January 22-23, 2020. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, January 27, 2020, 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 www.brrwd.org.

 

BRRWD Receives “Project of the Year” Award

 At their regular 12/09/19 meeting, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River Watershed District (BRRWD), announced that they received the “2019 Project of the Year” award for Project No. 49, Oakport Flood Mitigation, from the Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts during their Annual Meeting and Trade Show on December 4-7, 2019, in Alexandria. Following the devastating 1997 and 2001 spring floods, Oakport Township approached the BRRWD to consider a flood mitigation project to provide permanent flood protection for their residents along the Red River of the North, Oakport Coulee, and associated floodplains. In response, the BRRWD started project development in 2002, with project construction commencing in 2007. Completed in 2016, this $36 million, seven-phase project resulted in two Federal Emergency Management Agency-certified levee systems, totaling approximately five miles in length. The “East” levee was completed and certified in 2015, and the “West” levee was certified in 2018. The levee project provides flood protection to 750 acres and over 300 homes with the potential to protect approximately 200 future homes. Working cooperatively with Audubon Dakota, more than 110 acres of buyout property has been planted to native prairie on which North Dakota State University is now doing pollinator studies. Project funding sources include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ($31 million), the BRRWD ($1 million), local benefitting area ($3 million), buyout property sales ($0.75 million), and Audubon Society seeding ($0.25 million).

Other business included:

  • Met with Joel Paulsen, the new Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s (FM DA) Executive Director, to discuss the DA’s desire to establish better relations with the area landowners who will be impacted by the FM Diversion Project. The Minnesota-Clay County Joint Powers Agreement held an informational meeting on 12/11/19 to discuss the environmental investigation easements with landowners who will be impacted by the soil boring and monitoring easements. The DA has agreed to pay $250/soil boring, plus any crop or property damages that occurs during the sampling/testing. 

  • Reviewed the BRRWD’s monthly financial statements, including the project account balance sheet, administrative disbursements, and summary of income. Cash on hand is $2,940,400.33. Administrative disbursements this month equal $30,956.18, and for the year, total $318,431.85. Total income this year is $5,435,902.91. Income received since the 11/12/19 meeting totaled $789,245.01, including property/ditch tax proceeds from Becker County ($87,641.43), Otter Tail County ($16,641.88), and Wilkin County ($268,573.76), and property taxes only from Clay County ($403,685.36). Other income came from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Upper Buffalo River 319 Grant ($4,926) and $2,742.90 from a Wilkin County landowner for the purchase of wetland mitigation credits from the BRRWD. The remainder of the income came from Midwest Bank for November interest ($4,808.68) and Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) for their monthly office rent ($225). The Board also approved the payment of bills totaling $371,522.90 and authorized staff to pay incoming bills that might incur late fees before the next 1/13/20 Board meeting. 

  • Discussed possible changes to the 2020 BRRWD administrative/engineering contract with HEI. 

  • Appointed HEI as the engineer to review a petition from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for wetland modification associated with Hamden Slough/Becker County Ditch No. 15. 

  • Authorized the purchase of a new vacuum pump for the Project No. 46, Turtle Lake Outlet system. 

  • Accepted William Nichol Excavating’s quote to remove a log jam on a 12th AVE S bridge on the South Branch of the Buffalo River in Glyndon Township.

  • Approved Pay Request No. 5 for Dennis Drewes, Inc. in the amount of $134,386.57 and Change Order No. 1 for a net contract change of $28,704 for Project No. 78, Clay/Wilkin Judicial Ditch No. 1-Improvement. 

  • Noted that the next Mediation Project Team meeting will be held on 12/19/19 at 1:30 PM in Barnesville. 

The Board of Managers, BRRWD, will hold their next regular meeting and 2020 annual meeting on Monday, January 13, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the BRRWD office, located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. The second December meeting (December 23) will not be held due to the Holidays. All meetings are open to the public. For more information about the BRRWD, please visit our website at www.brrwd.org.

 

December 4-7, 2019 MAWD Meeting

The Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD) has scheduled their annual meeting and trade show for December 4-7, 2019, at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, Alexandria. BRRWD Managers and staff plan to attend.