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Drainage District Spraying Discussed By Supervisors

By Staff | Sep 17, 2015

The cost of spraying drainage ditches for 2015 and some problems that have arisen were discussed at the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 15.

Donald H. Reefer of B & W Control Specialists, Inc. was on hand to provide information on some of the issues that have arisen as well as submitting a cost estimate for each Drainage District in the county.

“Most of the ditches have been done once and some of them twice making some of them not bad when spraying for tree and brush control,” Reefer explained. “However, we have just a couple of problems that have arisen when doing out survey.”

Reefer continued, “One of the worst areas is in Drainage District 80. The upper main was cleaned out about two years ago and the stem density is worse now than it was then. There is a short section that is considered a natural stream that is not part of the drainage district and there are many trees that are actually too big for us to spray.”

“Who do we have to get a hold of to get rid of the trees?” Supervisor Linus Solberg asked.

“You need to get a hold of a contractor, but I don’t think you can remove those trees since they are on what is considered a natural stream and it does not look like part of the district,” Reefer replied.

“Do we need to get a hold of the Engineer and have him go out and count the trees?” ask Solberg.

“First you need to make sure it is part of the district or you can’t touch them,” said Carmen Moser, Palo Alto County Auditor.

“Who is in charge of where those trees are located, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Natural Resources, who?” questioned Solberg.

“Don Etler, Drainage Engineer of Bolton & Menk, is the one who did the original proposal for DD 80, so you need to talk to him,” Moser said.

“Let me call him,” Solberg said.

Solberg then placed a call to Etler, posing the questions on the trees to the engineer.

“That small area is considered a natural creek. What I believe needs to happen is that DD 80 needs to make an agreement with the landowner for an easement. Then the trees can be taken out,” Etler informed the board, adding, “Drainage Attorney James Hudson of Hudson Law Firm will need to approve this.”

“The trees are a seed source for the district,” Reefer said.

‘I will get a hold of Hudson and see what we need to do,” Solberg said.

Reefer continued his report. “Another issue that has been encountered is in Drainage District 116. Landowner Don Bruch has told my guys to get off his land and will not let us spray.”

“I got a call about this and tried to explain it to him but he said not to take care of his trees,” Supervisor Ed Noonan explained. “We need to send a letter letting people know that these ditches belong to the district and not to a specific landowner.”

Once again, Solberg took to the telephone, this time to contact Bruch in regards to the matter. After a few minutes of conversation, Solberg reported back to the board. “I just got off the phone with Lance Bruch explaining the cost is assessed to the district and then divided out. Lance said go ahead and remove the trees.”

“The other district I wanted to point out is Drainage District 48,” Reefer noted. “It was put on an accelerator program two years ago and it looks a lot better this year. We have a schedule set with the majority of the spraying happening this Fall and what remains will be done in the Spring,” Reefer noted.

The Board unanimously voted to accept the quotes and schedule for 2015 spraying from B&?W Control Specialists as proposed by Reefer.