Lyon Co. holds hearing on proposed ditch repair

Photo by Deb Gau A hearing on a proposed repair project on Lyon County Ditch 14 drew a large audience on Tuesday. However, there weren’t many public comments made at the hearing.

MARSHALL — A hearing on a proposed ditch repair project in southern Lyon County drew an audience, but not many public comments, on Tuesday. Lyon County commissioners heard, and then approved, the report for repairs on County Ditch 14.

The CD 14 repair project would replace some drainage tile lines, and build structures to help retain water, said Shaun Luker of engineering firm Bolton & Menk.

“This area was originally petitioned for an improvement, and that was changed from an improvement to a repair project,” he said.

The CD 14 watershed was in portions of seven sections of Custer Township, and portions of four sections of Rock Lake Township. The ditch watershed is about 2,874 acres, Luker said.

“The tile system consists of a main tile about 2.8 miles long, and then three smaller branches on that tile system,” he said. CD 14 was built in 1914, and is mostly made up of clay and concrete tile lines.

“The tile system is in need of repair. It’s in a state of disrepair,” he said. There were offset joints or collapsed portions of the tile, which disrupted water flow through the system.

Luker said there were four parts to the ditch repair project. One would be replacing the drainage tile in the project. The tile lines couldn’t be expanded, but the old line could be replaced with commercially-available sizes, he said.

The project would also include construction of an earthen dam downstream of the drainage system, to help retain and slow down the flow of water; a smaller berm that will also temporarily hold back water; and an outlet control structure in the Dayland Wildlife Management Area north of Balaton. Luker said a stretch of a gravel county road would also be raised about two feet.

The estimated cost of the total project was about $1.53 million, Luker said.

The county sought stormwater grant funding for the project, said Lyon County Planning and Zoning Administrator John Biren.

Although members of the public were present at the CD 14 repair hearing, there weren’t many public comments received.

Wendy Krueger, Marshall area wildlife supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, read a letter of support for the ditch repair. Part of the project the DNR was supporting was the abandonment of part of the CD 14 tile system under the Dayland Marsh WMA, and the construction of a water control system.

“We see this project as a win-win for both wildlife habitat and the county drainage system,” she said. “The water control structure will allow periodic drawdown capability to improve water quality and wetland conditions on Dayland Marsh WMA, while at the same time removing tile from the CD 14 system and providing water retention and water quality benefits for the rest of the downstream CD 14 system.”

In separate roll-call votes, commissioners determined that the ditch project was a repair, that it did not create a risk of significant environmental harm, that it was a benefit for public utility, and that it was necessary for the best interest of affected property owners. Then, they acted to approve the report and findings.

Commissioner Rick Anderson abstained from the votes.


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