Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District continues work with District 518 on easement

The school district’s initial request, which dates back two years, was that the watershed have no more than 20 acres of the property for a retention pond.

Lake Okabena
Lake Okabena
Julie Buntjer / The Globe

WORTHINGTON — Managers of the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District on Tuesday, Jan. 31, signed a grant agreement with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources Clean Water Fund for the $978,312 grant that will be used to fund a water retention pond on District 518 property along Crailsheim Road.

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While the watershed district’s easement on the school property — which contains the Intermediate School, Learning Center and Community Education buildings — is not yet official, OOWD Administrator Dan Livdahl told managers that Superintendent John Landgaard is negotiating on some of the land the easement encompasses.

“The pond goes into about two acres of agricultural land,” Livdahl explained. “Landgaard thinks that land is valuable. If it’s not within the easement area, we would have to get that volume somewhere else.”

What it could mean is that the pond would be dug deeper to support the water volume, rather than wider, as the current map is drawn.

“At this point, we’re still talking,” Livdahl said.


Board president Rolf Mahlberg said the watershed district wants a mutually symbiotic project, and Manager Casey Ingenthron said, “Whatever it costs to do it right, I think we ought to do.”

The school district’s initial request, which dates back two years, was that the watershed have no more than 20 acres of the property for a retention pond. The proposed pond, as currently designed, encompasses 15 acres.

Mahlberg said the watershed district will continue to work with the school district to refine the easement lines, and once that is completed, the managers will act on the easement.

In other action, the board:

  • Authorized the district administrator to transfer $350,000 from reserves into a 13-month CD through First State Bank Southwest at an interest rate of 3.5%.
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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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