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Sep 01

Earthquake in Northern Minnesota?

Posted on September 1, 2021 at 7:49 AM by Ryan Hiniker


Drainage update 8/31/2021



Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:


Blue Earth County Board Meetings are now back in-person.  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.

  • 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.


A Once in a Lifetime Phenomenon in Northwestern Minnesota:


What started out as a small crack in the ground on a fourth-generation farm in northern Minnesota, gave way to an almost earthquake type event.  Fourth-generation farmers Wayne and Erllene Erickson stated that their small crack in the dirt turned into a large portion of their ground collapsing and creating a 25 foot plus high wall.  

This new landscape feature is now a quarter mile long ravine in their bean field.  Geologist and experts are calling it the “perfect storm” of a series of events.  The strange combination of drought, springs, dried-up riverbeds and recent rains, all contributed to strange earthquake type geologic abrupt change.

As crevasses are still actively forming on the landscape, soil experts and others are expected to visit the sight to get a firsthand glance at this phenomenon called a “rotational slump”.  There are probably many news sources that have covered the story but the two provided give more reading on this subject, one link has the actual video interview of landowner Wayne Erickson.



Project Updates:   

  • JD17 (Garden City Twp.)  The recent rains in the last week have slowed things up a little bit but crews are still working.  Almost all new construction is complete on the south side of County Road 38 in Garden City Township.  The contractor is hoping for an early September completion date.   
  • JD14 (Judson Twp.)  The general contractor on this project is just past the half-way point.  Crews have been doing well at keeping a rhythm of almost 200 /- linear feet per day installed on the days they are on site working.  We are confident that this project will be completed this year.  
  • CD50 (Lincoln Twp.)  Things have been completed for almost two weeks on this repair.  All new hdpe tile has been installed and things seem to be running smoothing.  We still need do a final televising of the newly installed tile, but things went really smoothly with this repair.  Site is cleaned up and grasses are growing.



Recent Drainage Inspections:

  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  Revisiting repairs completed recently, things look good and seem to be flowing better.  Grass is growing back in on the areas of ditch that were disturbed.
  • CD95 (Mapleton Twp.)  Our beaver issues still persist on a portion of the open ditch.
  • JD48 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  Crews came back out and finished cleaning portions of the open ditch.  Leveling of spoil piles and some seeding is still needed.
  • JD48 (Butternut Valley Twp.)  We had a contractor make a repair to a small portion of the outlet tile that was collapsing.
  • 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 here 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 listed 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