We don't want your water
Murky water became a point of contention between members of the Ida Lake Association and Douglas County officials during the county board meeting on June 11.
County Drainage and Ag Inspector Tom Anderson explained a tile repair is needed in County Ditch 23 off County Road 82 to south of Blue Jay Way in Garfield. The blocked ditch is retaining water that is not able to pass through the 12-inch tile currently in place.
"We have a beautiful lake that is part of our county and it should remain beautiful."
Dian Lopez, Ida Lake Association
However, not everyone wants the water to flow because it passes through more than 40 acres of wetlands where it accumulates tannins and drains into Lake Ida. Anderson said the tile that is being repaired is three miles upstream.
"The more you improve, the more water runs into Lake Ida. The water that runs in is green and brown and dirty," said Dian Lopez, Ida Lake Association president. "We have a beautiful lake that is part of our county and it should remain beautiful."
Anderson acknowledged that wetlands tend to accumulate organic material, and water draining through picks up that material.
Lopez said while the association agrees the repair is something that needs to be done, it is affecting the water quality in Lake Ida. Bud Nielsen with the Ida Lake Association said the quality of the water in Lake Ida correlates to property values, which affect property taxes.
Lopez noted that there is a sedimentation pond that is now full. The pond was dug more than 10 years ago as a partnership between the county and lake association.
Anderson had checked the pond on Monday, June 10 and at that time it did have standing water. The county will continue to monitor the ditch, pond and water flow. The tile system was installed in 1923, and the county is only obligated to maintain the system.
"This is strictly a repair," Anderson said. "It's not adding any new water."
The tile in Ditch 23 will be repaired as planned with a larger 14-inch pipe.Two bids were submitted for the tile repair. Ag Tech Drainage bid $23,842; Lee Tiling and Excavating was awarded the contract for a low bid of $17,251.
"Twenty percent of legacy funding is spent outside of the metro."
Al Lieffort, Douglas County Parks Superintendent
PARKS AND TRAILS PLANS
A governor-appointed entity dubbed the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Coalition (GMRPATC) grew out of a plan to ensure funds from the parks and trails fund are distributed to areas outside the metro.
"Twenty percent of legacy funding is spent outside of the metro," said Douglas County Parks Superintendent Al Lieffort.
Commissioners approved Lieffort's request to formally apply to be a member of GMRPATC. Lieffort is included on the GMRPATC's project oversight committee. County commissioner Jim Stratton will also be submitting an application.
"I think you could do us a lot of good there," said commissioner Charlie Meyer before motioning to approve Lieffort's request.
Douglas County is included in District 3, along with Clay, Becker, Wilkin, Otter Tail, Wadena, Traverse, Grant, Todd, Stevens, Pope, Big Stone, Swift, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine and Renville counties. The combined population of GMRPATC District 3 is 363,585. Six districts are planned outside of the metro area.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.