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Watershed to petition state to change boundary

WORTHINGTON — The Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District board of managers on Tuesday adopted a resolution to petition the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources for a boundary change.

Discussed for more than a year, the change — if approved — will result in approximately 6.4 square miles of land currently within the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed to be transferred to the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed.

The request for the change comes nearly five years after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources permanently closed a diversion ditch that was initially constructed to carry water from a wetland in the Herlein-Boote Wildlife Management Area into the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District. Closing the diversion in 2014 restored the original flow direction from the wetland’s drainage basin toward the Little Rock River in the K-LR watershed district.

By changing the boundary, landowners within the 6.4-mile area will be taxed more fairly as they will only pay for flood reduction, water quality incentive programs and projects providing benefits downstream in their watershed district, the petition states.

The K-LR Watershed District’s board of managers is anticipated to take similar action on the petition at its meeting later this month.

In other action, the board:

  • Learned that repairs were completed in December on the spillway at the Prairie View site, and that Administrator Dan Livdahl continues to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on possible reimbursement for damages caused by late June flooding.

Managers authorized payment of $3,591.03 to Wenck Engineering for additional work on the project, including the installation of a 10-inch pipe that wasn’t part of the original design specifications.

Livdahl said that with the addition of the pipe, the goal is to keep water from flowing over the spillway as vegetation gets established in the spring.

  • Approved a 2019 budget of $615,828.41. Among the planned expenses is $344,000 for the Ocheda dam, fish barrier and related costs; $63,000 for the Prairie View project; $40,000 in filter strip incentive payments. The remainder of the budget includes personnel and office expenses, cost-share, property maintenance and operational costs.
  • Appointed Les Johnson, John Shea and Matt Widboom to the OOWD Advisory Committee.
Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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