Watershed district promises 10-year plan won’t cost county extra

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A regional watershed district has notified Mower County officials that they shouldn’t worry about extra costs as a 10-year plan develops.

The Cedar River Watershed District — which includes parts of Mower, Steele, Dodge and Freeborn counties — sent a letter to the Mower County board Aug. 21 in response to some concerns the board had.

Chief among those were who would pay for potential project costs associated with flood planning and who would assume liability if damage occurred.

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Commissioner Tim Gabrielson and county engineer Mike Hanson both said the concerns were brought to the CRWD to assure that future problems wouldn’t arise.

“(We) don’t want to get painted into a corner helping them with projects,” Hanson said at a July 14 meeting.

Hanson added that he expected the county to work well with the watershed district but it’s good to have these discussions up front.

The CRWD’s response states that the watershed district will be responsible for project costs, save for things that the county would normally be responsible for anyway, such as replacing old infrastructure.

The response also indicates that feasibility studies will be done on individual projects and high-risk work will be avoided.

However, the CRWD does state that Mower County would be subject to rules established by the watershed district.

The 10-year plan being developed by the CRWD is meant to address recent flooding problems in the district, and how to reduce both the magnitude and effects of future floods.

Among its specific goals is the aim to reduce flooding in the area by 20 percent, which would bring flood levels down to around where they were in the 1970s, Bev Nordby, CRWD administrator and district manager, said previously.

The plan would require approval by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and then passage by the CRWD board to be implemented.