Heron Lake Watershed District
October 18, 2016
1. Call to Order
Jim Buschena called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Managers present: Harvey Kruger, Bruce Leinen, Jim Buschena, Gary Ewert, and Wayne Rasche
Staff: Erin Nordquist, Catherine Wegehaupt, and Jan Voit
Others: Marv Zylstra, Nobles County; Rod Sankey, City of Worthington; Mona Henkels, Murray SWCD; Rose Schultz, Jackson County; Dave Thiner, Murray County; Kevin Stevens, Cottonwood County; Jerry Christopherson, and Mike LaMaack
Harvey Kruger made a motion to approve the agenda. Gary Ewert seconded this. Motion carried unanimously.
3. Quarterly Meeting with Commissioners
Marv Zylstra mentioned the buffer information he received from the Board of Water and Soil Resources. He asked if the managers had received it. He was informed that they had. He stated that Nobles County is looking at bonding for maintenance projects for the Prairie Justice Center roof, Adrian library remodeling, Adrian shop expansion, court security, and windows and exterior building repairs. Kevin Stevens asked him how campaigning was going. He said that he felt it was going well, but the final decision is up to the voters.
Dave Thiner reported on court security, roof repair, ditch abandonment, and the appropriation to the Soil and Water Conservation District.
Rose Schultz presented information on a bus shed, Waste Management recycling contract, fairgrounds and racing, a proposed land purchase and fairgrounds parking, Sioux Valley Judicial Ditches 9 and 13, and county storage and ditch cleanout adjacent to Crop Mate.
Kevin Stevens said they are dealing with many of the same issues as the other counties as far as Waste Management and judicial ditches. He also reported that the Department of Natural Resources recently purchased 118 land for a new Wildlife Management Area.
Gary Ewert made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 20, 2016 regular meeting and Heron Lake State Dam Visit. Wayne Rasche seconded this. Motion carried unanimously.
5. Treasurer’s Report
Jan Voit presented the treasurer’s report and bills payable. A question was asked regarding the line of credit and Jackson County Judicial Ditch (JD) 30. The loan for JD 30 was repaid. The funds borrowed are for Jackson County JD 19 and County Ditch 3. Bruce Leinen made a motion to approve the treasurer’s report. Harvey Kruger seconded this. Motion carried unanimously.
6. HLWD Cover Crop Research Plots
Jan Voit presented information regarding the proposed Cover Crop Research Plots. The proposal is the culmination of the work done by the Cover Crop Steering Committee (Committee) recommending a five-year cover crop program. The Committee identified the need for further education and local research. Their recommendation is the implementation of side-by-side field trials along with annual field days over a five-year period. The purpose is to provide long-term, local data about cover crop management.
The project includes four farm sites, one in each county – Nobles, Jackson, Murray, and Cottonwood. Soil samples from the four fields will be collected each year and analyzed using the Haney Test. One field day will be held each year, rotating through the four counties. The final results will be presented at the end of the five years at one of the trial sites. The Committee also recommended that project funding would be provided by the HLWD or through a private organization rather than through a state or federal grant. Promotion should focus on water quality improvement. It is important for landowners to know that the information gathered will be used locally for education purposes, not enforcement.
She explained that the managers had gone through a process to identify priorities for 2017. Those priorities are: update the Watershed Management Plan; five-year cover crop program; obtain more information about the buffer program, share with the advisory committee, and get their recommendation; impoundment site study; and staff billing rate.
Next she presented a possible grant opportunity for implementation of the first year of the project through the Laura Jane Musser Fund. Discussion was held regarding the draft budget, soil sample collection, and the time frame for the proposed grant. Funding for the Cover Crop Research Plots would be done through the General Operating Levy or Survey and Data Acquisition Fund if grant funds are not secured.
Gary Ewert made a motion to approve the Cover Crop Research Plots project. Harvey Kruger seconded this. Motion carried unanimously.
Bruce Leinen made a motion to provide a letter of support and authorize the grant application through the Laura Jane Musser Fund. Jim Buschena seconded this. Motion carried unanimously.
Jan Voit reported on the website, Jack and Okabena Creek Sediment Reduction Final Report, State Dam Visit summary, Association of District Administrators meeting, Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts’ Annual Meeting, Major Watershed Project, financial information, Third Crop Phosphorus Reduction Effort, and 2017 Priorities.
She presented information regarding the Sieverding septic system loan application. Wayne Rasche made a motion to approve the application contingent upon providing the required documentation. Harvey Kruger seconded this. Motion carried unanimously.
Catherine Wegehaupt provided information on the Kolander streambank stabilization project, water sampling station removal, cover crop project updates, Seward 29 rock installation, Reinvest In Minnesota property, and the grant application.
Erin Nordquist gave an update on MinnFARMs in Murray, Pipestone, and Martin Counties; stressor ID sampling and data entry, an instructional document outlining remainder of the project, and the public relations handout. Her last day is October 20. She thanked the board and staff for giving her the opportunity to work at the HLWD during the last year. She learned a lot and gained a lot of experience. On behalf of the board of managers, Jim Buschena wished her the best in the future.
The meeting adjourned at 7:33 p.m.