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Blue Earth County DrainageBlog

Feb 12

Drainage Knowledge?

Posted on February 12, 2019 at 9:07 AM by Ryan Hiniker

jd09 pond
Despite the extreme frigid temperatures lately, tiles are still running.  This photo is from our newly installed retention pond along JD09 system in LeRay Township. 

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Feb 04

Extreme Cold = Water Quality?

Posted on February 4, 2019 at 5:07 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 2/4/2019

 

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • JD15 LES (Jamestown Twp.)  We will be hosting an informational landowner meeting on February 7, 2019, to discuss multiple items about this public drainage system.  Landowners should have received notice via mail.  The details of time, location and discussion items are included in the landowner letters.  Those with questions or concerns before the meeting can contact us. 
  • JD15 LES (Jamestown Twp.)  We will be hosting a Redetermination of Benefits Hearing.  This meeting will be held in the Historic Blue Earth County Courthouse in the Board of Commissioners meeting room on the second floor.  Landowners affected by this should have received notice via mail.  Landowner letters will have specific time, date and location details.  Please call or email with additional questions.

Project Updates:

   

  • All projects and repairs are on hold until Spring thaw.  Dangerous weather conditions and the large amount of frost have things shut down.  Please don’t be afraid to keep reporting issues with our public drainage systems.  The sooner issues are reported, the sooner they can get put on a list for repair this Spring.

   

Arctic Temps, Good for Water Quality:

While the extreme cold temps recently aren’t the most fun to deal with, are they beneficial to our Minnesota lakes?  An article that I read recently suggest that they could be.  Extreme cold temps do have positive impacts on water quality and native fish species in our northern lakes.

The colder and more extreme the temps, the thicker the lake ice gets.  Subzero temps can add 3 plus inches of ice thicknesses to a lake daily.  The thicker ice has multiple benefits.  Some of the native fish species of northern Minnesota prefer colder water temps.  Brook Trout, Lake Trout and Herring are just a few of the native species that prefer the cooler water temps.  It’s also said that the cooler water will help keep the invasive fish species population down.  Other invasive aquatic species like Zebra Mussels might find it tougher in the very cold winters, where at some of our lakes, the ice will freeze to the bottom in the shallow areas.  Although with most invasive species, they learn to adapt to our climate and adapt to changing weather and water conditions.

Algae and warmer water temps also seem to go hand-in-hand.  It can be reasoned the thicker the ice, the longer the lake stays colder, and hopefully the less issues with weeds and algae growth.  To truly do any sort of real damage to our algae and weed populations, the ice would have to freeze deep enough to reach the bottom in the shallower parts of a lake. 

Another advantage, researchers say, to colder temps and thicker ice is, they are finding less evaporation so lakes maintain a more even water elevation.  The theory is that the longer the thick ice can stay covering the lake, the less chance of evaporation because the ice seals moisture in.

We as humans might not enjoy the benefits of subzero temps and arctic blasts, but it does have its hidden benefits in our Minnesota ecosystem.
LOTW
Twenty (plus or minus) miles out on Lake of The Woods ice fishing this year. 

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/01/30/subzero-weather-is-great-for-mn-lakes

   

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of January 28 – February 1:

  • CD86 (Decoria Twp.)  Crews are trying to make repairs to an area of tile.  The extreme cold has halted work until it warms up again.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Monitoring open ditch.

We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.

 


 

 

Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist

ryan.hiniker@blueearthcountymn.gov

507-304-4264


Jan 28

Drainage Update 1/28/2019

Posted on January 28, 2019 at 5:47 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 1/28/2019

 

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • JD15 LES (Jamestown Twp.)  We will be hosting an informational landowner meeting on February 7, to discuss multiple items about this public drainage system.  Landowners should have received notice via mail.  The details of time, location and discussion items are included in the landowner letters.  Those with questions or concerns before the meeting can contact us. 

Project Updates:

   

  • All projects and repairs are on hold until spring thaw.  Dangerous weather conditions and the significant amount of frost will have things shut down.

   

Drainage Minutes:

Now that winter is here with its extreme cold and snow, I’ve been spending most of my time indoors.  Much of my time spent inside is preparing for the next year.  Our drainage department plays a role in figuring out and planning for levies and assessments on our drainage systems.  We usually start this process in October.  We try to do our best in estimating costs for the next year and also understanding where some of our drainage systems ran short on funding in the previous year.  

Projects and improvements for the upcoming year also start to get going this time of year with planning.  We still have a lot of smaller repairs to finish from 2018, on top of the major projects and repairs for 2019.  2019 will actually be a much quieter year as far as major projects.  As of now we only have one major project planned.  There are multiple potential projects in the works, but more than likely they won’t happen in 2019.

I have been busy trying to schedule more televising for multiple systems this spring.  Usually with televising, we discover additional issues with systems.   We are starting to think about weed spraying and mowing for our open ditch systems for the 2019 season.  We are trying something different this year: we are going to be spraying our open ditches for noxious weeds and also mowing.  The goal behind that is to have better control for weeds, especially in some areas where we have major issues with Giant Ragweed.

We will still be doing ditch cleaning projects and tree and brush removal on some of our open ditch systems.  I am going to work closely with our local SWCD to try to find funds to help with doing some more ASI’s (alternative side intakes).  These are the side intakes that will slowly meter water out through a tile instead of just going through a pipe right into the open ditch.  These ASI intakes are not only water quality friendly, but in the long run they save money on maintenance.  The less sediment being sent to the open ditch, the more the system saves in maintenance costs from ditch cleanings. 

We are still actively working on getting multiple phosphorus filters installed along CD56, which is in the Lake Crystal area.
  I will be working with our SWCD and some landowners to decide where to install some of these filters.  I will keep folks posted of our progress on these.  I think we could potentially be installing these on a lot of systems all across the county.

Hope everyone stays warm out there, as temps are going to be record breaking cold.  

 
   

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of December 24 – December 28:

  • JD24 (Shelby Twp.)  In field inspection to investigate ongoing issues with collapsed tile and sink hole.  Issue with slough along open ditch.  If anyone has driven by any open ditch lately, you know how much snow has drifted into them.  This time of year, open ditch inspections are difficult, if not impossible.
  • CD86 (Beauford Twp.)  We had a contractor start to make some repairs to a damaged line.  Not pleasant to work in this cold weather, but yes it can be done.  See photo below.
cd86 dmi

We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.

 


 

 

Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist

ryan.hiniker@blueearthcountymn.gov

507-304-4264