Jackson County JD 36


Location: The JD 36 watershed is located in Sections 4, 5, and 6 of West Heron Lake Township and Section 32 of Weimer Township.

Size: The JD 36 watershed provides drainage to approximately 673 acres.

Project: The goal is to abandon and replace a portion of the main tile from west of County State Aid Highway 9 to the outlet into Jack Creek. The improvement will achieve a drainage coefficient of at least 0.50 inches per day for public tile.

Estimated cost: $500,000.00

Status: On July 15, 2019, a petition for the improvement of Jackson County JD 36 was received. The petition and supporting information were forwarded to Louis Smith for review. The information was also sent to Kevin Nordquist so that he could certify that the petitioners are the owners of record for the tracts of land passed over by the proposed improvement project. Kevin Nordquist submitted the certification of petitioners on July 15.

Legal review of the petition was completed on August 13, 2019.  The petition was accepted and the Order Appointing Engineer were approved by the Board on August 20. The information was sent to Chuck Brandel on August 21. He submitted the bond and oath on August 22.

The Preliminary Engineer’s Report (PER) for JD 36 was submitted on March 30. The report was sent to the Department of Natural Resources and Board of Water and Soil Resources for comment. A landowner information meeting will be held in May. The preliminary hearing date cannot be set more than 30 days after the date of the order. The Order Setting Preliminary Hearing will be included on the agenda for the May meeting. The hearing will be held on June 2 at 10:00 a.m.

The BWSR advisory comments on the PER were submitted on April 27. Chuck Brandel, Jacob Rischmiller, and Jan Voit discussed this document on April 28. There is a typographic error in the basin elevations. This will be corrected. The bedding detail is not specific because the contractor has the choice of the type of trench and bedding that will be used. ISG has modeled Jack Creek and will provide more information. They will also incorporate energy dissipation at the JD 36 outlet. A memo will be drafted in response to these comments.

The conduct and order for the hearing was drafted on May 5. It was sent to Louis Smith for review. Time was spent reviewing the response letter to BWSR comments.

The handout and presentation for the landowner information meeting were uploaded to the HLWD website on May 19. The Skype link was included in the presentation. That information was provided to several landowners.
The landowner meeting was held on May 21. In attendance were Don Stenzel, Gary Madsen, Tony Thompson, Bob Hartman, Chuck Dewanz, Roger Hartman, Mark Thompson, Dave Macek, Jackson County; Chuck Brandel and Jacob Rischmiller, ISG; and Jan Voit.

Chuck Brandel and Jacob Rischmiller gave a presentation summarizing the engineer’s preliminary report. Questions were asked regarding the pond and DNR recommendations, tile that is in disrepair, separable maintenance, road authority, and the flow modeling video. Landowners were informed that the board did not set a date for the preliminary hearing.

On June 22, Jan Voit drafted a memorandum and completed a mailing to JD 36 landowners. The hearing notice was sent to the Tri County News for publication. The information was provided to ISG, legal counsels, and Jackson County staff on June 23.

The preliminary hearing for JD 36 was held on July 9. Based upon the evidence, the Board found that the proposal as stated in the petition, is feasible, and there is a necessity for it. Additionally, the Board finds that the public benefit and promotion of public health is greater than the environmental impact of the drainage project, and that the outlet is adequate; therefore, it is appropriate for the Board to direct the engineer to proceed with a detailed survey and to issue its order appointing viewers.
Following the hearing, Jan Voit contacted Bryan Murphy regarding H2Over Viewers interest in viewing for this project. He indicated that they were interested. She provided him with a link to the preliminary engineering report. He will provide a cost estimate for viewing before the August monthly meeting.

Draft minutes were sent to Chuck Brandel for review on July 14. On July 27, he contacted Jan Voit regarding the draft document. Draft minutes were sent to Louis Smith and Harvey Kruger on July 29.

The Findings and Order for Continued Proceedings, Order Authorizing Engineer’s Final Report, and Order Appointing Viewers were approved at the August 19 HLWD meeting. The hearing minutes were also approved. The orders were submitted to Jackson County, HLWD legal counsel, petitioners’ legal counsel, and ISG on August 25.

Oaths were drafted and sent to the viewers, along with the above-mentioned orders. The oaths were submitted to the HLWD on August 26. They were filed and submitted to legal counsels, ISG, and Jackson County on August 31.

Bryan Murphy contacted Jan Voit on October 21 regarding viewing for JD 36. He was under the impression that they were appointed as viewers for a ROB, not an improvement. He sent the following email correspondence. Normally when we do an ROB only our rates are $12,500 as a minimum, but when we do an improvement there are additional reports that need to be created and we normally charge time and a half for those projects. Just like JD 3 was $4 per acre but once it became an improvement it was changed to $6 per acre. In the case of JD 36 we did not know it was an improvement when we first sent you a proposal, but now that we do know this we need to change the rate from $12,500 to $18,750.

The JD 36 viewing contract was sent to managers. After speaking with Wayne Rasche, Bruce Sellers and ISG were contacted regarding the viewing costs for this project.

On November 18, Jan Voit spoke with Bryan Murphy regarding the viewing costs for JD 36. He explained that they have a lot of buried costs that could not be recovered if they would do the viewing for less than $18,750. There wasn’t anything he could do to change the price. He did say that they are ready to go and could have this done in time to have the hearing in conjunction with the JD 3 final hearing. He understood the Board’s concern about costs and assured me there would be no hard feelings or strain on our working relationship if another avenue was taken.

The JD 36 viewing contract was sent to managers. Louis Smith was contacted regarding the viewing situation. He informed Jan Voit that since the viewing work has not begun and no contract has been signed, he saw no reason why the Board could not withdraw the H2Over Viewers appointments and substitute other viewers, especially given the confusion over the improvement that was stated on their oaths. A quote was requested from Dan Ruby. The quote was submitted on November 10 and sent to managers in the meeting packet.

On November 24, Dan Ruby confirmed that the quote for JD 36 viewing included both the improvement and the redetermination of benefits. He did inform Jan Voit that they would not do the field work until spring and that their timeline would be dependent upon COVID restrictions.

At the December meeting, the Board rescinded the appointment of H2Over Viewers and appointed the Ruby Viewing Team. A letter was sent to H2Over Viewers informing them of the decision. The Order Appointing Viewers and oaths were sent to Dan Ruby, Gary Ewert, Tom Peterson, and Chuck Bowers.