Supervisors Accept Drainage Work
A drainage repair project in Vernon Township was given final approval by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during its session on Aug.28. The board also met with landowners in another district to discuss some upcoming work as well.
Drainage Engineer Rick Hopper of Jacobson Westergard and Associates of Estherville presented the board with his final report on the repair work completed in DD17 earlier this year. Work to improve an outlet was completed during the project, and the board was asked to set damages for crop loss to lands owned by William Voigt of Graettinger during the course of the work.
“In talking with Bill, we’ve figured there was right at one acre of crop lost during the work,”?Hopper noted. “Driving down here this morning, I?noted the cash price of corn was $7.98 a bushel, if that helps you figure a level of damages.”
Hopper went on to note that the actual construction costs for the project came in at $21,521, less than the original estimate of $24,550. “That would break down to an average cost of $40 to $45 per acre for the repair,”?Hopper added.
Board members then discussed an acceptable amount of damages, and settled on an average yield of 150 bushels to the acre at a rate of $8 per bushel. On a motion by Supervisor Ron Graettinger with a second from Supervisor Ed Noonan, the board approved damages in the amount of $1,200 to William Voigt for the work, and then approved the completion report and payment to the contractor, Schany Construction of Graettinger, for the work.
The board, along with County Engineer Joel Fantz, also met with landowners of DD80, includ Glenn Moser, Mary and Jim Moser and Fred Wirtz regarding a request for a long-stick excavator clean out on a portion of the ditch.
Glenn Moser had expressed reservations over the proposed work and wanted to learn more about what was going to be done.
“I was never notified about any of this,”?Moser told the board. “Don’t you give notice on this? “
“We had a request earlier this year for a long-stick cleanout,” Board Chair Keith Wirtz explained. “The Board is bound by law to responde to requests for repairs on drainage ditches.”
“Well, there’s no outlet there where you want to do the digging, so there’s no use to do anything,”?Moser replied.
“This is the first time in three years that we’ve gotten a crop down in that area,”?Mary Moser replied. “We’d like to continue to be able to farm there.”
It was noted that 44,000 acres of farmlands drain into Drainage District 80.
“It would be my recommendation that the spoil pile go on the north side of the ditch when the excavation is done,” noted Joel Fantz. “But it is my understanding that the land there is in the CRP program. Is that correct Fred?”
“My land is in a 30-year easement, and that could be a problem,”?Wirtz answered. “I?don’t know if that will work.”
Wirtz noted that when he purchased the land back in 1990, he had found a drainage line that extended out from the ditch bank and was above the water level. After the floods of 1993, Wirtz went back to find the pipe was completely submerged in mud.
“It seems like the creek bed continues to rise,”?Wirtz observed, “so I?think this would work.”
Wirtz noted he had no problem with the spoil being placed on his land, if the Natural Resource Conservation Service would approve it.
“I visited with Jeremy Thilges at the NRCS, and he felt it should work,”?Fantz noted.
With the questions of the various parties addressed, the discussion wound down, with Fantz pointing out that it would be at least a week and a half to two weeks before the long-stick contractor would be able to move in to start work on the project.
“It’s just pretty well cut and dried that when we get a drainage request, we have to respond and take some kind of action on it, where drainage is concerned,” Keith Wirtz said, bringing the session to a close.