TURTLE CREEK WATERSHED DISTRICT 2020 ANNUAL REPORT
Photo by Cody Crumb Photo by Rena Langowski
Photo by Rachel Dickman
Photo by Isabela Alston
2020 Board of Managers (Pictured left to right)
Pete Van Erkel
Turtle Creek Watershed District 1408 21st Ave NW, Ste. #2
Austin, MN 55912
(507) 434-2603, ext. 5
The following Officers for 2021 were elected: Chairperson Vice Chairman Treasurer Secretary Manager
Michelle O’Connor Dave Vanderploeg Jon Erichson Peter Van Erkel Jeff Ravenhorst
Turtle Creek Watershed District Advisory Committee elected March 2020: Allan Ravenhorst Brad Edwards Dean Reed Mike DenHerder Arlen Schamber
Hollandale, Mn. 56045 Hollandale, Mn 56045 Hollandale, Mn. 56045 Hollandale, Mn 56045 Austin, Mn. 55912
507-383-6893 507-383-9445 507-402-0403 507-383-1078 507-993-3985
Turtle Creek Watershed District Established:
November 14th, 1968
1408 21st Ave NW Suite 2 Austin, Mn. 55912
3rd Tuesday of each month 5:00 PM City of Hollandale and Riceland Township Government Center Hollandale, Mn. 56045
Kurt A. Deter—Rinke-Noonan 1015 W. St .Germain St. Suite 300 PO Box 1497 St. Cloud, Mn. 56302 320-251-6700 email: Kdeter@rnoon.com
Nancy K. Finley 24701 515th Ave Austin, Mn. 55912 email: email@example.com 507-438-4473
28933 872nd Ave Austin, Mn. 55912 507-438-1939 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
82329 290th St. Hollandale, Mn 56045 507-383-6428 email: jeffRaven@hotmail.com
911 18th St. SW Austin, Mn. 55912 507-438-2339 email: email@example.com
28674 810th Ave Hollandale, Mn. 56045 507-383-4981 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter H. VanErkel
27843 825th Ave Hollandale, Mn. 56045 507-383-3079 email: email@example.com
The Turtle Creek Watershed Board of Managers held 11 regular meetings and two Zoom meetings during the year of 2020. The following permit applications were approved by the Managers during this year: 42 tiling, 6 Wetland Restoration, 2 Bridge/culvert, 3 clean ditches, 3 open ditch, and 3 sewer maintenance The budget for 2021 is set as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
Attorney Fees (Rinke Noonan ) Recording Secretary /Expenses Managers Administrative Services (Mower SWCD) Audit and Monthly Financial Services Viewers Association and MAWD Dues Insurance Advertising and Postage Rent Water Monitoring and Water Plan Incentives, Cost Sharing, Projects Tree Removal Beaver Tails Clean Water Legacy
$11,800.00 $ 5700.00 $ 6250.00 $16,500.00 $ 6500.00 $ 3500.00 $ 2200.00 $ 1200.00 $ 650.00 $ 7500.00 $16,500.00 $20,000.00 $ 3000.00 $12,700.00 $114,000.00
In January 2020 the Managers met in the afternoon for an annual work Plan Workshop to discuss the goals for the coming year and discuss the completion and/or on-going items of the previous goals set by the District. Justin Hanson attended the January 2020 meeting to discuss the 1W1P. In December 2019 the BWSR Board approved the 1W1P for the Cedar River Watershed. The next step is for all the cooperating LGUs to individually approve this plan as their own water plan. Justin Hanson attend the meeting to give an overview of the plan and how we can implement for the benefit of Turtle Creek. The Final plan sets priorities, goals and strategies for the next 10 years of managing water and ensure the most significant threats to the Watershed’s resources will be addressed with practices providing the greatest environmental benefits. Justin and Steve both recognized Pete for his time and expertise working on the plan. Also at the January 2020 meeting Steve Penkava gave his report on the annual crop damage report as follows: Freeborn County Crop Damage Rate for 2020 (Standing crop) It is the policy of Freeborn County to set a rate of pay for crop damages that may occur due to repair, improvement, or construction projects. This is done at the beginning of the year for the entire year. The yield is determined by using a three-year average yield for Freeborn County from data received from the USDA. (National Agricultural Statistics Services) The sale price is determined by using an average sale price for corn and beans from four local elevators on December 30, 2019.
Corn damage rate
193.3 bushels @ $3.61 = $698 per acre
Bean damage rate
56.3 bushels @ $8.78 = $494 per acre
Pete made a motion to adopt the Freeborn County rate of pay seconded by Jeff and carried. At the February 2020 meeting Steve Lawler gave a report on the Water Plan Implementation. After discussion Pete made the following motion: Whereas the Turtle Creek Watershed District has been notified by the Minnesota Board of Water and soil Resources that the Cedar-Wapsipinicon Comprehensive Watershed management plan has been approved according to Minnesota Statues #103B.801 and Board Resolution #16-17: Now Therefore, Be it Resolved the Turtle Creek Watershed District hereby adopts and will begin implementation of the approved Cedar-Wapsipinicon Plan. Jon seconded this motion. Dave Vanderploeg signed the Certification which read: I do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution is a true and correct copy of the resolution presented to and adopted by Turtle Creek Watershed District at a duly authorized meeting thereof held on the Eighteenth day of February 2020. Staff and the Board will work on developing a flier for 1W1P to include in the JD24 Redetermination of Benefit mailings. The mailing is anticipated to be sent sometime during the summer of 2020. Also in the February 2020 meeting James Fett Mower SWCD attended the meeting to discuss Water Monitoring Data. Last year the Board requested we determine options to better utilize water quality sampling data collected over the years in the Turtle Creek System. James continued to explain the MPCA water quality data management system called EQuIS (Environmental Quality Information System) This system is used by many entities in the state for data storage and also processes data information for a variety of purposes. Turtle Creek Watershed District currently has data from 2011 to 2018 that has not been stored in the EQuIS database. Storing the water quality in the EQuIS data base helps achieve the bullet points James discussed and ensures that the data gets used the way it should. James also presented a cost estimate for a Watershed Technician and an Intern to compile this information at approximately $ 1,001.10. After discussion Pete made a motion to authorize James and a SWCD Intern to enter the date into EQuIS for the District, seconded by Jon and carried. At the February 2020 meeting the Board held a hearing for the Preliminary hearing on Repair and Improvement of Ditch J12. At the March 2020 meeting Steve Lawler presented the Data Practice and open meeting requirements during a State of Emergency. Minnesota Statutes permit bodies to hold meetings via telephone or other electronic means if the conditions of this section are met Which include 1. All participating members can hear one another. 2. Members of the public at the physical meeting location can hear all discussion “unless attendance at the regular meeting location is not feasible due to the health pandemic”; 3. At least one member of the public body is present at the meeting location “unless unfeasible due to the health pandemic” and 4. All votes are taken by roll call. After discussion Jon made the following motion to abide by the Minnesota Statutes section 13D.021 subdivision 1 permits public bodies to hold meetings via telephone or other electronic means if the conditions of this section are met. Motion seconded by Pete and carried.
Paul Hunter SWCD attended the March 2020 meeting to discuss the post cards they are preparing for mailings regarding the 1W1P which will include information including Conservation practices planning, promoting and facilitating partnership projects between counties etc. Dale Krystosek was planning on attending the meeting in March 2020 for the Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP). Due to the State of Emergency happening around the world Steve Lawler arranged to do the review on the speaker phone with Dave Copeland Mn BWSR. Dave apologized for not being able to have this discussion in person however the phone review was very successful. Dave explained the Draft report that has been prepared for the Turtle Creek Watershed District by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 103B.102 Subd.3. Prepared by Dale Krystosek. Dave explained what PRAP performance review is, why it is done, how often and the background of Turtle Creek Watershed District. In Summary he states Turtle Creek is commended for meeting 11 out of 14 High Performance Standards. TCWD has two action items which are Develop a Data Practices policy which the Board will discuss further with Att’y Deter and Develop a functioning Advisory Committee which is in process at this time.After discussion with the Managers, Mr. Copeland and Mr. Krystosek made the following three recommendations to the District: 1. Continue and expand the use of Prioritized, Targeted and Measurable as criteria for Goals and Objectives in implementing the comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. 2. Develop orientation and continued education plan for both Board and Staff and keep records of training attended. 3. Structure website information to report progress and trends made in achieving resource outcome goals. The Turtle Creek Watershed Board met via remote conference meeting Due to the Governor’s Executive Order 20-20 declaring a state of emergency, The TCWD held the April 21st, 2020 regular meeting at 5:00 p.m. via video/phone conferencing. Dave Copeland joined the meeting via phone regarding the Performance Review and Assistance Program (PRAP). Steve Lawler provided the Managers with a copy of the response letter that will be added to the PRAP report we reviewed with Dave Copeland from BWSR last month. The letter indicates the action items and recommendations we will be working on. The Board has already completed the Advisory committee requirement. The Managers discussed having a Data Practices policy in place. This is the second action item in the PRAP report. Att’y Deter explained the purpose and usefulness of having this policy in place and will draft a copy that other Watersheds have adapted for the Boards review at the next meeting. Jon made a motion to adopt the following resolution seconded by Dave and carried. Dave aye, Jon aye, Jeff aye. Resolution to Host Remote Meeting of Turtle Creek Watershed District Whereas, COVI-19 pandemic is a current and relevant concern to the safety of the Public, which includes stakeholders of the District, Board and Staff.
Whereas, the district is charged with hosting a regular, monthly board meeting to publicly discuss business of the district and take comment from the public in accordance with Public Meeting Law regarding such business. Whereas, the Turtle Creek Watershed District recognizes the health concerns that have become prevalent with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the district and around the world. Whereas, The Governor of Minnesota has issued Executive Order #2020, directing citizens to limit contact for the purpose of slowing the spread of the COVID-19. Whereas, The President of the United States has issued “Stay at Home” guidelines that will be in conflict with district meetings. Whereas, Section 13D.021, Subdivision 1 of MN Open Meeting Law permits public bodies to hold meetings via telephone or other electronic means if specific conditions are met. Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved, the Turtle Creek Watershed District will not meet in person for monthly meetings; but will remotely host and take action on business of the district through online link and telephone until such time as it is no longer a health risk to the public, board and staff. Now, Therefore, Be it Further Resolved, The district will take to following steps to comply with the conditions of OM 13D.021, Subdivision 1 -
Meeting web link and call in phone number will be posted on the district website, 3 days prior to the meeting The district will offer web links or phone link that will provide access to the discussion of the board All votes will be taken by roll call CERTIFICATION
STATE OF MINNESOTA Turtle Creek Watershed District I do hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was approved by unanimous vote, recorded remotely by a quorum of the board. The vote was taken at a duly authorized meeting thereof held on the 21st day of April, 2020. Steve Lawler, District Administrator At the March 2020 meeting James Fett—Mower SWCD discussed uploading the existing water monitoring data into MPCA data base. The Board approved the go ahead with this work which would cost estimated $1000.00. The Board requested cost estimate from James on 2020 monitoring. James presented a proposal of total monitoring cost for TCWD of $6,172.20. The question now is does the Board wish to continue collecting water sampling? Discussion included not collecting this year and summarizing what has been collected or continuing to collect to have current data. After discussion Dave made a motion to continue and have James draft some graphs for the Board to review the Data seconded by Jeff and carried. Jeff aye, Dave aye, Jon Nay. Steve Lawler will talk to James regarding the Boards request.
In May 2020 The Turtle Creek Watershed Board of Managers met at 5 P.M.at the Government Center in Hollandale Minnesota following the guidelines of 10 or less people and following the social distancing guidelines, sanitizing tables and chairs and having masks and hand sanitizer available to anyone in need of Personal Protection items. Also Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for anyone who would like to attend the meeting remotely. Steve Lawler distributed a draft copy Atty Deter provided as a Data Policy to review. A data policy was recommended by the PRAP review process. Atty Deter explained via phone participation, the purpose and the usefulness of having the policy in place. After Board discussion Jon made a motion to eliminate the personal names only using a title; Example: Administrator, and also removing the cost of 25 cents per copy and just using “established rate.” With these two adjustments Jon made a motion to accept this policy seconded by Pete and carried. Atty Deter will make these changes for the June meeting. The Managers discussed the recommendations from PRAP regarding the Advisory Committee and why it is required, their qualifications, agenda and guidelines. Att’y Deter explained this is only an advisory committee NOT a second Board. Steve Lawler stated the TCWD Board will draft an agenda for this committee as guidelines and they will be required to attend some Board meetings. In June 2020 the Managers met at the Government Center following the guidelines of sanitizing, social distancing, masks and hand sanitizer available. Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for those wishing to attend remotely. Pete made a motion to adapt and implement the new Water Plan. The Memorandum of Agreement has been reviewed and approved that determines how we all work together implementing this plan and is critical for receiving implementation grants. Jon seconded this motion, Dave signed the agreement and returned to Steve Lawler, the motion carried. The Managers wished to recognize Pete for his dedication and efforts for the long process on this committee. Thanks Pete. At the June 2020 meeting Jon inquired about the Partnering on a canoe access along the new trail on Turtle Creek. Jon suggested they consider the Bustad Park for access as it is City property, good parking, easy access to the public. Steve Lawler will check out more details and report at the July meeting. Jon suggested if the Managers have interest in this it should come out of the Administrative levy and make a donated dollar figure. More discussion at the July meeting In July 2020 the Managers again met at the Government Center following the guidelines of social distancing, sanitizing tables and chairs and providing masks and sanitizer for Personal Protection. Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for those who wish to attend remotely. At the July 2020 meeting Steve Lawler distributed the 2019 request for resolution from MAWD and informed the managers of the resolution deadline of September 1st. and attached the active resolutions approved by MAWD since 2016. Also in July the 2021 Administrative Levy was reviewed and discussed with a motion for Nancy to publish the budget hearing to be held at the August meeting.
August 2020 meeting was held at the Government Center following the guidelines of social distancing, sanitizing tables and chairs and providing masks and sanitizer for Personal Protection. Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for those who wish to attend remotely. At 5:15 P.M. on August 18th 2020 the Budget hearing was held on the 2021 Proposed Budget. The Budget figures will be found at the beginning of this annual report. Jeanine Vorland –DNR was unable to attend the meeting however sent this report to Steve Lawler who relayed the following report : Geneva Lake will continue to drop lower. Lake levels will be re-evaluated in the winter time but likely the plan will be to bring the lake levels back slowly during June and July of 2021. Submerged vegetation looks good but additional establishment is needed for emergent vegetation. Water clarity is improving A Petition was received requesting partial abandonment of Lateral 1-2 in Judicial Ditch 24. Att’y Dan Donnelly explained the Petition In the Matter of the removal and/or abandonment of a described portion of Lateral 1-2 in Judicial Ditch 24. Att’y Donnelly passed out copies of the petition, the map of the area, and the names of the owners and municipal and other corporations affected to each Manager . Att’y Deter has reviewed the Petition and verifies it meets all the requirements of the statute. Pete made a motion to set the hearing date for this Petition at the next Board meeting on September 15th 2020 at 5:15 PM at the Government Center in Hollandale, Mn seconded by Dave and carried. Steve Lawler will contact Pat Martinson regarding sending out notices to those that may be affected. September 2020 meeting was held at the Government Center following the guidelines of social distancing, sanitizing tables and chairs and providing masks and sanitizer for Personal Protection. Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for those who wish to attend remotely. Jeanine Vorland attended the September 2020 meeting and reports the lake level is maintaining around a foot below normal. Vegetation is improving with exemption to a weaker emergent strata. Plans are to continue to maintain lower than normal lake levels through the winter. Rough fish populations may still be a factor. Steve Penkava reported on the Repair Levy giving the Board a graph with comparisons from 2009 to current. After discussion Dave made a motion to levy $100,000.00 for the coming year seconded by Pete and carried Steve Lawler and Jon Erichson reported on the Canoe Access. The City of Austin has provided some preliminary information on site layout and costs for a Turtle Creek canoe access. The suggested location is the Southeast quadrant of the 12th ST SW bridge. After discussion Jon made a motion for Turtle Creek Watershed to commit up to 50% not to exceed $2750.00 seconded by Pete and carried. October 2020 meeting was held at the Government Center following the guidelines of social distancing, sanitizing tables and chairs and providing masks and sanitizer for Personal Protection. Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for those who wish to attend remotely. At 5:15 P.M. October 20th 2020 Pete made a motion to recess the regular meeting for the public hearing seconded by Jeff and carried. Vice Chairperson Dave call the public hearing to order In the Matter of the removal and/or abandonment of a described portion of Lateral 1-2 in Judicial Ditch 24. Att’y Deter (via remote phone) explained the Purpose of the Hearing and supplied an agenda to all Board members and attendee’s.
Nancy Finley verified the record of Notice requirements in the Austin Daily Herald and the Albert Lea Tribune. At this time Att’y Dan Donnelly gave the presentation of Request for Partial Abandonment for the Petitioners. Determining that part of the drainage system does not serve a substantial useful purpose as part of the drainage system to any property remaining in the system and is not of substantial public benefit and utility. Hearing no public input, Pete made a motion to approve the Partial Abandonment of described portion of Lateral 1-2 in Judicial Ditch 24 then all responsibility of the Drainage Authority for that part of the drainage system ends. The motion was seconded by Jeff and carried. Pete made a motion to close the public hearing and resume the regular meeting seconded by Jeff and carried. The conservation practices in the head slope of CD-8 have been completed. A total of 4 conservation practices have been constructed. Jon reported receiving a letter from Hill, Larson & Walth P.A. regarding the acceptance and understanding of the services they provide for Turtle Creek Watershed District, after discussion Jon made a motion to again sign a three-year contract for the years ending December 31st,2020—December 31st, 2022 seconded by Pete and carried. Nancy will mail the contract signed by Jon to Hill, Larson & Walth P.A. November 2020 meeting was held at the Government Center following the guidelines of social distancing, sanitizing tables and chairs and providing masks and sanitizer for Personal Protection. Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for those who wish to attend remotely. Congratulations go to Pete and Jeff on their Re-appointment as Managers by the Freeborn County Commissioners for another 3-year term. Both Pete and Jeff signed a renewed Oath of Office, Steve Lawler will keep on file. Steve Lawler discussed the public hearings for the redetermination of benefits for JD24 and also for J12 improvement project. Pat Martinson participated via the phone. After discussion, with Corvid concerns and availability of a meeting place large enough to social distance, the Board felt it in the best interest of public safety to hold off on scheduling the hearings due to the Governors restrictions and discuss it again at the January meeting. Steve Lawler distributed handouts including the agenda for the 2020 Virtual Annual conference December 1st – December 4th 2020. Pete made a motion for approval for any Managers able to participate to contact Steve who would assist with their registration seconded by Jeff and carried. December 2020 meeting was held at the Government Center following the guidelines of social distancing, sanitizing tables and chairs and providing masks and sanitizer for Personal Protection. Steve Lawler provided a Conference number and Access Code for those who wish to attend remotely, and Justin and Steve hosted a Zoom meeting at the Government Center using a newly purchased hot-spot device that provides wifi.
Jon reports he still does not have the Audit for 2019 from CliftonLarsonAllen. Initially he was told the delay was due to the election and outstanding requests with the County. Jon will pursue this progress before the January 2021 meeting. Dave made a motion to hold the annual “work shop planning” meeting at 4 O’clock before the regular January meeting in 2021 seconded by Pete and carried. Steve Lawler passed out copies of the 2020 work plan for review of objectives and prioritize 2021 goals before the workshop discussion. The Managers discussed the Zoom meeting equipment. Justin and Steve hosted the Zoom meeting at the Government Center using a newly purchased hot-spot device that provides wifi. The Zoom video and phone link was provided for the meeting for anyone one who wished to participate in the meeting on their laptop or device from their home. They also tried out a camera that captured participants at the Government Center so people on Zoom could see the meeting. This worked very well and will be considered in the future for meetings and public hearings. Att’y Deter reported on the MAWD Convention which was held remotely and states he was very impressed, it worked well and had good discussion. Steve Lawler received a call from Jeanine prior to the meeting with an update for the Managers on Geneva Lake. Jeanine reported that the stop logs at the dam have remained the same. However, approximately 6 inches of stop logs will likely be added during the next several weeks to slightly increase the lake level for the remainder of the winter. Att’y Dan Donnelly, Jeanine Vorland, Pat Martinson, The Viewers, staff from SWCD and several landowners attended several meetings during the year of 2020. Other main topics during the meetings included brush control, tree removal, grass strip maintenance, buffer laws, Geneva Lake incentive grants, tiling issues and permit applications. Along with several questions and/or concerns for project solutions and/or suggestions from area landowners and the Managers. This concludes the annual report for the year of COVID 19 2020. Respectfully Submitted, Nancy K. Finley Recording Secretary Turtle Creek Watershed District