Repairs scheduled for southern Wilkin County ditches

Twenty-nine miles of the ditch system in the south end of Wilkin County, Minn., are expected to be repaired in the summer of 2020.

Water Resource Engineer James Guler from Moore Engineering spoke to the Wilkin County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to provide an update for ditch repairs in southern Wilkin County, Minnesota.

The Bois de Sioux Watershed District serves a ditch authority for drainage systems in Grant, Wilkin, and Traverse counties, Minnesota. The Bois de Sioux had Moore Engineering prepare a survey detailing the current systems’ status.

The report shows judicial ditches nine, 10 and 11 suffer from uncontrolled flows into the drainage system, improper culvert sizing, excessive spoil bank heights and high-velocity areas.

These conditions cause excessive erosion and sediment transport, unnecessary flooding and downstream impacts, flooding over major highways and channel erosion.

“This area does experience frequent flooding. Springtime and summertime along with the rest of the valley. A lot of maintenance work has been done, especially to the laterals in the last few years,” Guler said. “The landowners expressed that they really want to something more substantial to the main portion, that is beyond a simple clean out.”

“We have the support of the landowners,” Bois de Sioux Watershed District Administrator Jamie Beyer said. “We work with the landowners, we work with the landowners, we want them to know exactly what’s going on. We want them to be the first to know not the last to know.”

The upcoming project is to make repairs to judicial ditch No. 11. This ditch is located in the south end of Wilkin County near the intersection of Highway 75 and Highway 55.

The proposed repair would start at the Bois de Sioux River, head east on Highway 55 and south along Highway 75. The project total would be 29 miles of the ditch system.

“We are going to be flattening the road slope, excavating the channel body down to its original grade, laying back the field slope, and using that excavated material to build that burn adjacent and parallel with the channel and then all that drainage from the field swells will be directed to the culverts,” Guler said. “The purpose of culverts is to reduce the sediment that runs off the field and into the channels which would reduce future maintenance costs and help to prevent erosion right where the field swells.”

The construction of judicial ditch 11 is anticipated to begin in summer 2020 once project approvals are made.

A joint committee between Wilkin County and Traverse County is expected to form, due to a portion of the ditch being in Traverse County, to determine the shared cost.

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