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Aug 18

Soil Health Plus Potential New Income For Producers = Win Win

Posted on August 18, 2021 at 10:09 AM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 8/18/2021



Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


Blue Earth County board meetings are now back in person.  No live streaming of board meetings will be held, unless there is a hearing involved with the board meeting.  Live streams will be broadcast on our YouTube channel, which can be found on our Blue Earth County Website.  We ask those individuals wishing to attend in person board meetings to abide by current Covid-19 guidelines.  Masks are no longer required, and all county buildings are fully open to the public.  Public drainage meetings will also be held in person starting immediately, with the same Covid-19 restrictions as our in-person board meetings.

  • CD56 (Garden City & Lincoln Twp.)  An upcoming landowner meeting will be held to discuss ongoing issues with sediment deposits.  Affected landowners will receive notice via U.S. Mail.


Pilot Program may lead to Future Income Source for Producers who implement Soil Health Practices:


As happens from time to time, the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) forwards articles regarding interesting programs from other areas of the state. This month’s interesting program comes out of Stearns County. 

The Sauk River Watershed was selected as one of about a dozen pilot sites across the U.S. to sell carbon credit on a national market based on implemented soil health practices by producers. The Nature Conservancy developed the program to help producers generate additional revenue for practices that improve soil health, sequester carbon and reduce pollutant carrying runoff. One of the practices used to generate carbon credits is the planting of cover crop. The idea of the program is that the carbon credit generated from the planting of cover crops will be marketed by the producer independently to the company needing to purchase carbon credits once the marketplace has been launched. The generated credits from this program are projected to begin being sold in 2022.

Currently Stearns County has around 500 acres enrolled, but the pilot program aims to enroll around 50,000 acres in the Sauk River watershed, which drains to the Mississippi River, before the program’s completion. SWCD staff members contact landowners, offer technical assistance and help producers apply for reimbursements to implement the soil health practices. SWCD staff also provide help with soil sampling, which will be repeated in 5-year cycles to determine carbon levels in the soil.

Producers that are interested in learning more about the pilot program and one producers firsthand experience with the program, can check out the article.  

BWSR Snapshots hyper link: click  




Project Updates:   

  • JD17 (Garden City Twp.)  With the exceptionally dry weather this year, our construction projects have been moving along at neck breaking speeds.   Our general contractor for this project will probably be done in the next month, which is amazing seeing as the deadline is not until the end of the year.  Crews are averaging over 500 linear feet installed per day lately. 
  • JD14 (Judson Twp.)  The general contractor on this project is finally finding their rhythm.  After a few areas of tough going with soils, the crew is doing much better and getting in around 200 linear feet of pipe installed per day.  Hope that the weather stays nice to get this project done early as well.
  • CD50 (Lincoln Twp.)  Crews are probably on their last week this week for installation.  There will be some clean-up work and final checklist items, but all new tile should be installed yet this week. It is a great feeling to have three major projects going good and ahead of schedule.CD50 lat p driveway



Recent Drainage Inspections:

  • JD15 (Lincoln Twp.)  We will have crews digging and televising along CSAH 32 to explore conditions of the existing old county tile lines.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  We are doing some investigative digging and jetting of some old tile under County Road 29.  Very little to almost no flow was discovered, and we are looking to resolve issues quickly.
  • CD57 (Mapleton Twp.)  Still dealing with more issues with beavers.  This year has been exceptional for beaver issues.
  • JD48 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  An area of sloughing has occurred, and we are working with a contractor to get it cleaned, reshaped and reseeded as soon as possible.  Much of the cleaning and reshaping has been done, except for the center of channel which requires the bigger excavator.  Hope to have this work done this week.  We also have another area that needs a new outlet pipe installed near the open ditch.CD50 lat p
  • Mowing and spraying of open ditches has started.  Crews are working the eastern part of the county this year.
  • Please remember that repairs to county drainage systems must be repaired by qualified contractors.   All repairs need to be inspected by drainage staff before authorizing work.  Unauthorized work will be denied payment.  Call with questions on this matter.  

Special note, as I am making some annual inspections along areas of open ditches, I am noticing an increasing number of buffer violation areas.  Please remember that all 103E drainage systems are required to have a 16.5-foot buffer along the open ditch areas.  Wondering if your ditch falls into the 103E category, give me a call or email.


Do you have questions or topics about drainage that you would like to hear more about? If you would like me to incorporate those concerns or topics in one of my future blogs, please feel free to email me at the email address below.  


We have multiple contractors making repairs across the county currently.  Please report repair issues to our drainage staff as soon as you notice them, as this will expedite the time in getting those repairs made.



We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or Ryan, before any repairs are made.  We also do not allow any permanent or seasonal items to be placed in our open ditches or buffer areas.  These types of items would include rocks, fence posts, trailers or other agricultural equipment, just to mention a few items.  If you have questions or concerns with open ditches or buffers, please call.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist