“Local Watershed Discusses Drainage Ditch Slope Failures”

At their meeting held on Monday, February 8, 2016, the Board of Managers, Buffalo-Red River
Watershed District (BRRWD), discussed slope failures that are occurring along several of their drainage
systems in Clay County. There are two sites along Clay County Ditch (C.D.) No. 10 in Section 16,
Morken Township and Section 13, Kragnes Township. In 2015, Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI), along
with geotechnical review from Terracon, completed an evaluation of alternatives to fix the slope failures.
An alternative to deal with the slumping is to move either the ditch or paralleling road bed to provide for a
flatter slope. Engineers are recommending a combination of granular fill and cellular concrete to repair
the slumping which would not require road or ditch realignments. The estimated cost for repair of both
sites is $76,340. The information will be reviewed with Morken Township since the slope failures are
along their roadway (130th AVE N).
A second analysis was furnished for Clay C.D. No. 32 where there are three slope failures. Two of the
sites are located in Section 16, Kurtz Township and the third site is located in Section 17, Kurtz
Township. The total cost estimate for the repair is $217,636. The repair survey and proposed design
work will be reviewed with the Clay County Highway Department as 80th AVE S is also County Road
No. 67.
Four slope failure sites along Clay C.D. No. 33 were also discussed. Those sites are located along 90th
AVE S. The estimated repair cost is $390,000 to $465,000. The information will be reviewed with Kurtz
Other business included:
• Noting that the BRRWD’s bank balance totals $823,471.14. Including recent receipts
from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the Hawley Buffalo
River Restoration ($253,376.56) and the closeout of the Georgetown Flood Control
Levee ($200,264.42). The 2016 potential accounts receivables total $9,416,697.

* Issuance of a permit to the Minnesota Department of Transportation for a mill and
overlay project on Trunk Highway No. 59. In addition to the road surface work,
approximately two center line culverts and fifteen driveway/approach culverts will be
either cleaned or replaced. In all cases, existing culvert sizes and elevations will be

• Authorized HEI to conduct a drainage investigation involving Sections 20, 21, 28, and
29, Manston Township, Wilkin County. Work in this area involves a natural watercourse
that drains into the Manston Slough Restoration Project. Affected landowners are
interested in addressing erosion, flooding, and sedimentation concerns. One of the
alternatives will be possibly straightening the channel. The estimated cost of the study is

• Noting that a conference will be held on 02/16/16 regarding scheduling of the hearing
needed for Project No. 77, Clay C.D. No. 51, Proposed–Lateral No. 3 appeal/lawsuit.

• HEI presented an Honor Award to the BRRWD for the Manston Slough Restoration
Project. HEI submitted the project to the American Council of Engineering Companies
of Minnesota.

• Noting that a preconstruction meeting was held on January 29, 2016, with RJ Zavoral and
Sons regarding their work on Phase 4 of the Oakport Flood Mitigation Project. The
contractor intends to start clearing and grubbing in the next several weeks. The projects
substantial completion date is October 31, 2016. The Board also discussed the status of
negotiations with the Fischer family regarding a stock pile of material located on their
property that will be used to finish Phase 4. Recent discussions included the size of the
area being utilized by the storage pile. Initially, the BRRWD obtained a temporary
easement for 5.63 acres. The project’s engineer, Ulteig Engineers, Inc., measured the
current stock pile using 4.24 acres. The Board agreed to use the larger number in attempt
to settle this issue.

• Noting that the office has received the final DNR payment regarding Project No. 39,
Georgetown Flood Control Levee. The current amount in that account is -$89,085.86.
Some of those costs will be offset with a reimbursement from the Federal Emergency
Management Agency. Cleanup work will be expected this spring. Progress has been
made regarding a condemnation issue involving U.S. Bank.

• Interviews continue with several interested ringdike candidates. Farmstead ringdikes
should qualify for Environmental Quality Incentive Program funding through the Natural
Resource Conservation Service. The Red River Watershed Management Board received
a grant through the DNR of $400,000 following the 2015 Legislative session for
ringdikes in the Red River Valley. The BRRWD is currently working with six potential
candidates. Landowners interested in the farmstead ringdike program should contact the
Watershed Office.

• Noting that the next Mediation Project Team meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 7,
2016, at 1:30 PM in the Watershed Office.

• Regarding the Barnesville Township Investigation, teleconferences were held last week
with NuStar and Magellan Pipelines. Both companies have pipelines running through the
project area and seem agreeable to work with the Watershed on project development.
The Watershed Office continues to work on an easement value factsheet that the
Managers can use to set prices that they are willing to pay for flood damage reduction

• Noting that the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) has approved the
boundary petition filed by the BRRWD and the Bois De Sioux Watershed District. The
order changes the Watershed District boundaries to more accurately align the
hydrological and legal boundaries. The Watershed Office will work with the two County
Auditors (Wilkin/Otter Tail) and the State Auditor’s Office to make sure they have the
correct legal descriptions.

• Work continues on the Revised Watershed Management Plan (RWMP). All draft
sections have now been completed and are being reviewed by BRRWD Administrator,
Bruce Albright. The Board should see a complete “draft” of the RWMP at their 03/14/16

• Noting changes to the 2015 Buffer Strip Legislation. Governor Dayton announced last
week that he would retreat on his demand that buffer strips be required on all private
ditches within the benefitting area of a legal ditch system. With the change, the
legislation now requires that all “protected” waters have a 50′ buffer and all legal
drainage systems have the required one-rod (16.5′) buffer. On a county by county basis,
the Soil and Water Conservation Districts will be required to come up with a third level
of mapping regarding additional waterways/ditches that may need buffers and did not
meet the preceding requirements. However, counties only need to develop the map, and it will be up to each county as to whether or not they want to develop an ordinance
requiring that these waterways/ditches also be buffered. Albright will be meeting with
the Clay County Board of Commissioners on 02/23/16, to discuss the ongoing efforts in
Clay County to meet the Legislative requirements.

• Noting that Albright and Erik Jones, Engineer, HEI, will be meeting with representatives
from BWSR on 02/22/16, to discuss the Targeted Watershed Program. The nomination
period will run from February 1 through March 9 with the BWSR Board selecting
watersheds at their 05/25/16 meeting. The BRRWD has been talking about submitting
the Stony Creek Project west of Barnesville and the Wolverton Creek Restoration Project
between Comstock and Wolverton. BWSR will have $8,757,000 available for the
selected projects. Other potential funding sources include the Legislative-Citizen
Commission on Minnesota Resources. That application deadline is March 11, 2016. The
Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council funding is also being considered for Wolverton

• Discussed a tentative date of Friday, April 1, 2016, to meet with the BRRWD’s Advisory
Committee. The Meeting will start at 1:30 PM in the Barnesville Watershed Office.
Advisory committee membership was reviewed. Additional committee members will be
sought from Becker and Clay Counties. Interested individuals should contact the
Watershed Office.

• Discussed reservations for the upcoming 2016 Minnesota Association of Watershed
Districts Legislative Reception and Day at the Capitol which will be held on March 30-
31, 2016 in St. Paul.

• Approved payment of bills totaling $202,374.42.
The next meeting of the Board of Managers, BRRWD, is scheduled for Monday, February 22,
2016, at 7:00 PM in the Barnesville Office located at 1303 4th AVE NE, Barnesville, MN. All
meetings are open to the public. For more information, please visit our website at

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