Jackson County JD 3

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Location: Sections 20, 21, 22, 25 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36 of West Heron Lake Township; Sections 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34, of Heron Lake Township, including a portion of the City of Lakefield; Section 36 of Alba Township; Section 1 of Ewington Township; Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, and 12 of Rost Township; and Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 17 of Hunter Township, including a portion of the City of Lakefield

Proposal: improve the main line, its branches, and its exising laterals by increasing the drain capacity and outlet

Status: petition was submitted on April 5, 2017. The petition was accepted and engineer appointed on May 16, 2017. A request for a redetermination of benefits was submitted to the Jackson County board. They held a meeting on December 7, 2017 to consider this request. Kurt Deter, Rinke Noonan briefed the county drainage authority that it may want to look into the option of transfering authority for the ditch system to the HLWD according to Minnesota Statutes 103D.625. The transfer of authority would alleviate the confusion that has transpired in the Jackson CD 3 proceedings. The commissioners tabled the request.

Transfer of authority was discussed with Tim Stahl, Dave Macek, Kevin Nordquist, and Jan Voit on May 31. By the time a hearing would be scheduled and held, it would be the end of July. The viewers cannot work during the summer months when crops are in the fields. It was everyone's belief that waiting until fall to have the preliminary hearing and ordering the redetermination of benefits at that time would be the best course to follow. That would save the ditch system additional hearing costs.

Because only a portion of the ditch system is being improved, the HLWD would only be able to order the ROB for a portion of the system. Following the October 16 meeting with Dave Macek, Kevin Nordquist, and Ron Ringquist, Louis Smith, HLWD legal counsel was contacted. He agreed that the best course of action was for Jackson County to turn over authority to the HLWD. That information was relayed to Kevin Nordquist.

Jackson County has received a legal opinion from Rinke Noonan regarding the $2 million cap and watershed district drainage authority. The legal opinion supports the HLWD as drainage authority.

The landowner information meeting was held on February 28 in the Heron Lake Senior Citizens' center. Jan Voit provided an overview of the grants secured for the South Heron Lake subwatershed. Chuck Brandel and Jacob Rischmiller presented the draft preliminary engineering report. Landowners had the opportunity to ask questions. Several landowners are interested in adding tile branches and additional storage. Chuck and Jacob will be revising the PER to reflect the potential changes. Bruce Sellers will be contacted regarding the process for adding tile lines and whether there will be a need for additional petitioners. There were 43 landowners in attendance.

The HLWD was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency Section 319 Grant to reduce phosphorus entering South Heron Lake (SHL). To accomplish this purpose, the HLWD intends to restore and stabilize 1, 995 feet of streambank in the Jackson County JD 3 system that outlets directly into SHL. In addition, two wetland restorations will be completed and nine alternative side inlets will be installed.

The HLWD was also awarded a Clean Water Fund Grant for additional projects within the JD 3 subwatershed. JD3 drains 52 percent of the SHL watershed, highlighting its importance in making meaningful progress towards water pollution reduction. The practices include eleven water and sediment control basins and a 10-acre storage and treatment wetland restoration, which are proven to cost-effectively reduce phosphorus. The project also provides added benefits, such as erosion reduction, improved wildlife habitat, and protection from flooding. The practices provide a total phosphorus load reduction of 2,372 pounds annually.

The joint meeting of the HLWD and Jackson County to discuss drainage management was held on March 12 in Jackson. John Kolb explained Rinke Noonan’s memo to Jackson County addressing questions relating to drainage systems, the HLWD, and statutory authorities. Louis Smith explained drainage system management from the HLWD’s perspective. Discussion topics included the HLWD’s authority and capacity to manage public drainage system within our watershed, HLWD and county roles in drainage system finances, communication, and the need to avoid duplication of efforts.

Harvey Kruger, Wayne Rasche, and Jan Voit attended the March 19 meeting of the Jackson County Commissioners. Following discussion with Kevin Nordquist, Jackson County Auditor-Treasurer and Sherry Haley, Jackson County Attorney, the commissioners approved a motion authorizing Kevin to begin the process for transfer of authority of the JD 3 system to the HLWD. Jan Voit will be in touch with Kevin throughout this process. It is hoped that the order for the redetermination of benefits can be done as soon as possible after the transfer occurs.

On April 12, the Jackson County Commissioners held a hearing regarding the transfer of jurisdiction of the JD 3 system pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 103D.625. The commissioners ordered the transfer of the system in its entirety to the HLWD.

The Board of Managers of the HLWD met on April 23. The Findings and Order Initiating ROB and Appointing Viewers was approved. Bryan Murphy, Larry Murphy, and Shantel Hecht were appointed as viewers.

On October 25, ISG submitted the Preliminary Engineering Report for JD 3. The report was sent to DNR and BWSR for review.

BWSR’s Advisory Report for the JD 3 Improvement was submitted on November 22. The document is available on the website.

Hard copies of the JD 3 PER arrived on November 15. They were distributed to managers at the November meeting.

A memo to landowners was drafted on November 18 and sent to Chuck Brandel for review. Mailing labels were created.

The memo, Order, and agenda were sent to JD 3 landowners on November 26. The PER, landowner information packet, and BWSR comments can be found on the HLWD website at the following link: http://www.hlwdonline.org/php/index.php/jackson-county-jd-3.