Location: The JD 19 watershed is primarily located in Heron Lake, Hunter, and Des Moines Townships. The ditch lies directly east of and adjacent to the City of Lakefield. The JD 19 mainline tile begins in Section 12 of Hunter Township and spans across Sections 2, 3, 11, and 12 of Hunter Township and Section 34 of Heron Lake Township where it outlets into an intermittent stream which leads into Jackson County JD 3. Other tile branches drain land from Section 34, 35, and 36 of Heron Lake Township; Sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, and 12 of Hunter Township; and Section 6 of Des Moines Township.
Size: The JD 19 watershed provides drainage to approximately 3,179 acres.
Project: The goal is to abandon and replace the entire JD 19 main tile along with 26 branches. The improvement will achieve a drainage coefficient of at least 0.50 inches per day for the underground tile main and branches. A pond will be constructed at the main outlet on land owned by the City of Lakefield. The pond will encompass a total of 5.9 acres, including 16.5 foot buffer strips and will provide 39.26 acre feet of storage to keep the flows from larger rain events in check.
Portions of the JD 19 system drain into a wetland within the Toe Wildlife Management Area (WMA). A Conservation Partners Legacy Grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for $21,661 was secured to complete a 62-acre wetland enhancement project on the Toe WMA on the JD 19 system.
Estimated cost: $3.8 million, financed by general obligation bonding through Jackson County.
Status: The bid was awarded to Svoboda Excavating, Inc. on February 13, 2018. Construction began in 2018 and continued through 2020.
JD 19 Construction Update-February 2020.
• Eighty six percent of the project is complete. A substantial amount of the work was done in 2019. The northeast part of the watershed remains to be completed. These are small branches with shallower tile installation. There is one transmission line that still needs to be crossed. The contractor stopped work on January 13. Svoboda Excavating plans to start in early spring and finish the project. ISG will start televising the week of February 24. The completion date for this project is May 30, 2020.
• The county is going to do some work on the outlet of the small pond.
• The wetland outlet structure is in place. The contractor also hit some poor soils in this project. They are getting close to using the amount of rock estimated.
• There was one issue boring under County Road 14. A dip in the road was discovered. There was a void under the road. The contractor fixed this at no cost to the project.
On April 28, Chuck Brandel and Jacob Rischmiller provided an update on JD 19. Svoboda Excavating is installing tile on Branch L. They are doing a good job cleaning up after themselves. The wetland cannot be completed until the tile line has been done on the Buresch property. Once that is done, the berms can be built and the wetland can be completed. If the weather stays good, they should meet their completion deadline.
On May 13, Chris Adams informed Jan Voit that ISG inspectors report construction on JD 19 is going very smoothly.
Chuck Brandel reported near the end of May that the soil conditions are rather wet near the wetland. The berms may need to wait until later in the year to be constructed. If the tile system is in and functioning ISG’s recommendation is to allow for a short extension, until August, for the berm work.
At the HLWD meeting on June 17, Chuck Brandel reported that on June 16 Svoboda Excavating finished all of the work on JD 19 except the final seeding. Berms in the wetland are in place. Dave Macek, Jackson County Ditch Inspector looked at berm along the county highway. Televising can now be done. There are some areas where intakes will be lowered after harvest. There may be some minor work for fall cleanup. ISG is developing a punch list of final items. The project is substantially complete. The farmers should be able to get all their fields planted.
On June 9, Jan Voit met with Fred Henning regarding his concerns about the JD 19 project and his assessment. Following the conversation, she contacted ISG and Ron Ringquist. Correspondence was sent to Mr. Henning on June 22.
The map below shows construction progress through June 2020.
In mid-August, Kevin Nordquist contacted Jan Voit regarding the assessments for JD 19. The assessment notices need to be sent to landowners in October. She contacted ISG regarding updated cost information.
On August 31, Jan Voit contacted Kevin regarding any possible property splits or address changes. Those were provided and the assessment worksheet was revised.
Updated financial information was sent to Kevin on September 8. After speaking with him, he recommended an assessment of $4.5 million. The county bonded for $4,140,000. Chuck Brandel was contacted regarding how the assessment would be split – either all to improvement or split between separable maintenance and improvement based on original percentages. His recommendation was to use the same percentage from the final report for separable maintenance versus improvements. That percentage is 74.3 percent separable maintenance and 25.7 percent improvement. The revised figures were used to update the assessment worksheet.
Louis Smith will draft a resolution for the board to act on at the October meeting. Assessment statements will be sent following the October 21 board meeting. Work was done on the assessment notices on September 10, 13, 15, and 16.
On October 8, Jan Voit spoke with Shane Titterington regarding damages payments.
Assessment notices for JD 19 were mailed on October 20. The resolution authorizing the assessments was filed with Jackson County.
On October 23, Kelly Rasche provided an amortization schedule template. On October 25, Jan Voit provided John Nauerth, Chris Bauer, and Laurel Prem with requested information regarding JD 19 assessments.
On October 26, Jan Voit spoke with Larry Miller, Delores Kolander, and Ryan Timko regarding their assessments. She left a message for David Holt. She sent project maps to Mr. Timko. She also informed Dan Ruby that he may be contacted regarding the process used to determine benefits. Kayle Koep and Dave Macek contacted me regarding the assessments on the Westergard properties. Mr. Koep questioned the number of benefited acres. Jan Voit forwarded his question to Ron Ringquist and ISG. Dan Ruby contacted her regarding the Timko property. He provided parcel data which she forwarded to Mr. Timko.
Gary Bailey contacted Jan Voit on October 27 regarding his assessment notice. Steve Voss called on October 28 to discuss his assessment notice. Jan Voit met with Gary Bailey. The information he provided was forwarded to Ron Ringquist and ISG. She also spoke with David Holt regarding his assessment notice.
The map below shows construction progress through June 2020.
The draft final report for the Toe WMA grant was sent to DNR staff for review. Additional information was requested. The final report for the Toe WMA Wetland Restoration was approved on November 20. Grant funds were advanced on November 24. On November 24 the flyer that ISG created was sent to the HLWD Advisory Committee, counties, and agency personnel.
John Jaschke, BWSR Executive Director sent the following email correspondence and the Toe WMA Wetland Restoration grant flyer to Sarah Strommen, DNR Commissioner; Leann Buck, Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Executive Director; Mark Johnson, Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council Executive Director; and Emily Javens, Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts Executive Director.
Commissioner Strommen: FYI – attached is a summary from the Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD), of a multi-benefit land/water project accomplished in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) and the Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) involving the restoration of a 62-acre wetland in the Toe Wildlife Management Area. This project was made possible through an Expedited Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant. This project was a partnership with local governments, landowners, agencies, and other stakeholders to accomplish key goals identified in the HLWD Watershed Management Plan.
Good habitat is dependent on good water quality, and water quality is improved by public hunting lands, especially noteworthy in a part of MN that needs more of both. Sharing just for awareness as one of many examples that result from local experts working together with state agencies to solve problems and get the public benefits as envisioned by Minnesotans via the Legacy Amendment.
P.S. Thanks to Jan Voit, HLWD Administrator, for preparing and sharing this summary.