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Watershed plans Feb. 27 meeting on Lake Ocheda plan

WORTHINGTON -- After nearly 50 people attended an informational meeting a week ago on the Lake Ocheda Enhancement Project, the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District's board of managers discussed Tuesday the plans for a second public gathering later t...

WORTHINGTON - After nearly 50 people attended an informational meeting a week ago on the Lake Ocheda Enhancement Project, the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District’s board of managers discussed Tuesday the plans for a second public gathering later this month.

OOWD Administrator Dan Livdahl said the format for second meeting will be the same as the first meeting. Staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife, fisheries and shallow lakes divisions will be present to discuss a proposed drawdown for the three-basin lake as early as 2018. Subsequent drawdowns may be required to allow for submergent vegetation to grow and reduce the amount of rough fish currently in the lake.

A date and location has yet to be confirmed for the next meeting.

Livdahl said he has received four written comments thus far about the management plan. Individuals may submit written comments to him at dan.livdahl@okabenaochedawd.org or mail them to Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District, P.O. Box 114, Worthington, MN. 56187. The comments will be provided to the DNR Commissioner as part of a public hearing anticipated to be scheduled later this fall.

In other business, the managers:

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  • Authorized Livdahl to sign the grant agreement with the Board of Water and Soil Resources for the $428,000 Clean Water Fund grant awarded to the watershed district for the Prairie View project. In addition, managers authorized Livdahl to open a new checking account to keep the grant dollars - and the city of Worthington’s contribution - separate from other watershed finances.

  • Learned that engineering work is progressing on the Prairie View project, funded by local dollars already set aside for the project. The construction documents and documents necessary to advertise for bids are nearly complete. Livdahl said he hopes advertisement for bids will take place by late March.

  • Authorized board chairman Les Johnson to sign the memorandum of understanding for the One Watershed, One Plan project.

  • Discussed a draft copy of the watershed district’s 2016 annual report. The document outlines how the district spent its funds last year, from paying $36,882 in filter strip incentives to landowners, paying $2,100 in cost-share to seal seven unused wells, paying $800 in cost-share for landowners to install four alternative tile intakes, paying $1,631 in cost share to rebuild a grassed waterway and contributing $500 to the Nobles Soil and Water Conservation District for the purchase of a drill to plant native grasses and forbs on buffer strips.

Managers were asked to read through the document, and to be prepared to discuss and approve it at the board’s March 7 meeting. Once approved, the document will be available on the district’s website.

  • Discussed the 2017 annual plan, which outlines projects for the year, from the Prairie View and Lake Ocheda Enhancement projects to water monitoring on Okabena and Ocheda lakes and having discussion with the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District about changing the district boundaries in the Herlein-Boote subwatershed, among numerous others. Managers were asked to read through the document and be prepared to discuss it at the next meeting.

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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