Osakis Voices: Watch for watershed meetings
Wow, it is October and Halloween already, how time flies. So, I said I would follow up on the 1 Watershed 1 Plan. As of now in Todd County, this is the first of possibly five that could happen. As of now, the 1 Watershed 1 Plan pertains to the Sauk River, which involves Douglas, Pope, Stearns and Todd Counties. Meeker County opted out as they had very little land draining into the Sauk River.
The committee includes county commissioners, Water and Soil staff, Water and Soil supervisors, Sauk River Watershed manager, Sauk River Watershed administrator and BWSR staff. All of us are being paid by you, the taxpayer, to attend these meetings. The policy committee hired the firm RESPEC for close to $200,000 to help write the plan and to help facilitate the meetings. We will hold public meetings in December at two locations — Sauk Centre and Waite Park. Watch your local paper for dates, time and locations.
In other news, I attended the JD2 meeting with the Douglas County Commissioners on Oct. 12 and was informed by Douglas County Ditch Inspector Tom Anderson that there is another bog plugging the outlet of JD2/ Sauk River. This is the third time in the last six years that this has happened. JD2 Board has approved the removal of the bog this winter when they can get equipment back there after it freezes. Cost each time for this clean out has been about $5,000, which is assessed to the JD2 ditch. With 11 inlets into Lake Osakis and only one outlet, which is plugged, it really has an effect on water levels. Not only on Lake Osakis, but it affects the performance of the county ditches in both Todd and Douglas counties that flow into Lake Osakis and Little Lake Osakis. Farmers and landowners along these ditches pay big money to make sure those ditches work.
Other news: I missed the September Sauk River Watershed meeting but here is a brief summary of the minutes. On the JD2 Sedimentation Ponds, Manager Willenbring (Stearns County) made a motion to set the assessment for the JD2 Sediment ponds at $650,000 with option to modify and adjust down the amount if there is no culvert replacement. The motion was seconded by Manager Wolf (Douglas County) and passed with all in favor.
New building discussion: Manager Ritter (Stearns County) made a motion to continue to move forward with a new building. The motion was seconded by Manager Barber (Todd County) and passed with all in favor.
What is new in Todd County? Battle Point Park; the Park Board approved a few new items for the park — 1. Installed an information sign. 2. Installed ADA ramp to access playground. 3. Removed all dead trees that were a liability. 4. The board approved a look out platform in Zone 4 that will be installed in 2019.
In other news, the county board is still discussing the Expo building located on the Todd County Fairgrounds. The Long Prairie Hockey Association pays $3,000 from September to April plus utilities to lease the Expo building. This is what I found doing research on area hockey programs. Alexandria School District 206 pays the Runestone Community Center $79,666 for hockey. Sauk Centre District 743 pays the city of Sauk Centre for 125 hours rent at $90 per hour for years one and two, $100 per hour for years three and four and $110 per hour for year five. The Sauk Centre/Melrose Hockey Association pays $39,600 for years one and two, $39,500 for years three and four and $39,500 for year five. Wadena Hockey Association owns the land and building in Wadena.
In other news, did you notice all the trucks in the last two weeks hauling on Todd County Road 10 on the north side of Lake Osakis? All those trucks were hauling gravel out of Todd County down by Midway Gas on State Highway 71 to Douglas County Road 3. I was told by the Douglas County engineer that they were done hauling on Oct. 25.
I also have been contacted in person, phone calls and emails on what is going on with 141st Avenue in Gordon Township between Todd County 37 and 210th Street. This is a township road and a township issue. Please call one of the three Gordon Township supervisors and ask them what the status of the road is. After being told by Gordon Township that the MPCA was fining them for violations I did call the MPCA and found this was not true and had them send me the paperwork.
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Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.