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Blue Earth County DrainageBlog

Feb 19

Drainage Knowledge 2

Posted on February 19, 2019 at 5:15 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 2/19/2019

 

Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • No upcoming hearing or meetings for a few weeks. 

Project Updates:

   

  • All projects and repairs are on hold until spring thaw.  Dangerous weather conditions and large amounts 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 quicker they can get put on a list for repair this spring.

Test Your Drainage Knowledge, Round Two:

 

Last week, we had two drainage scenarios, and the answers are below...
Both scenarios from last week's blog are legal repairs.  Scenario 1:  We are legally allowed to use the next available size of pipe.  Newer pipe sizes don’t always match up with the old size tiles.  Scenario 2:  Things can get confusing with moving a line when it sounds like it should be an improvement.  It is perfectly legal if it is to support the structural integrity of the drainage system. Sometimes it’s also in the best interest of a program, or set-aside area, to reroute drain tile.  In the end it is to benefit both parties, drainage system landowners and wildlife habitat groups.

The next couple of scenarios will test your drainage knowledge some more.  The two following scenarios are for fictional purposes only and do not reflect any current or specific landowner or property situation.  I will give two drainage scenarios and the objective is to guess what is the proper procedure to follow: repair, improvement or other, based on the information given in the scenario.

 

Scenario number one:  We have an existing old concrete county tile line.  This concrete line has never really worked great since it was originally installed.  We do repairs to this old tile line as they are needed.  We finally do some investigative work by televising the tile line and find it almost completely full of sediment in large portions of the tile.  Current landowner wants to add more private tile to get better drainage and improve his ROI (return on investment) from farming the land. 

After reviewing the televising and having discussions with the landowner, its decided that we replace the old concrete line with a new HDPE tile line.  Due to the nature of the large expense, we also hold a landowner meeting for all landowners in the watershed.  Between the current landowner and other landowners in the system, it is decided to install the new tile around the same depth and the around the same size, as the original tile,  if possible.  Question is, can we install a new line next to an old line as a repair or improvement?  Bonus question, if done as a repair, what automatically happens to the old concrete line?
new tile line map

Scenario number two:  We have a drainage system that is a mix of tile and open ditch.  We have a repair request come in to the drainage authority from some concerned landowners that have land along the open ditch.  An engineering company is hired and comes up with plans to clean large areas of the open ditch and repair areas of sloughing (ditch banks collapsing).  Part of the engineer’s job is also to review any and all ditch crossings to make sure that they are structurally sound and adequately sized.  Some of these crossings are either from the original construction of the ditch or added sometime after. 

As many of us know, farming practices and farming equipment are much different than they were 40 or 50 years ago.  What happens when we have a narrow and dilapidated field crossing that was clearly made for small tractors and gravity wagon style equipment?  We often get asked if we can make a crossing wider, especially when doing repair or improvement projects.  My question is this, if the original width of the crossing was 20 feet wide, can we make it 40 feet wide and who pays for that?  If there is no current crossing in the drainage ditch, but one is being requested, can one be added?  Who pays for a new field crossing?
crossing map

I asked a few questions with scenario number two.  Give both scenarios some thought and email me with answers if you’d like, I’d love to hear from people their thoughts on these scenarios.   

      

 

   

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of February 11 – February 15:

  • No inspections were made last week.  The winter weather has all of our contractors shut down at the moment, at least for county drainage projects.
  • We have started planning for spraying and mowing for our open ditches along the western and southern parts of the county.  I plan on having a contractor do both herbicide treatment (spring) and mowing in the later summer/early fall.  

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


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. 

Continue Reading...

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