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Monitoring Program Questioned For Drainage Project

October 10, 2013
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

Requirements for monitoring of the recently completed Drainage District 15 North project are giving the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors some additional thoughts to consider. Drainage Engineer Kent Rode of I&S Group explained just what some of that monitoring will entail during the weekly meeting of the Supervisors on Tuesday.

"As part of the mitigation agreement reached with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers, the district is going to have to perform certain monitoring on DD15 North for five years,"?Rode explained.

The monitoring will require the drainage district to inspect the project regularly over five years, taking note on any erosion that takes place, as well as the growth of seeding work and maintenance of the seeding, including mowing and weed control. Also included in the monitoring requirement will be watching the level of water in the wetland area, and maintenance and oversight of the water control structure and stop logs to maintain water levels in the wetland pool.

"I?thought the state was doing monitoring on this," commented Supervisor Linus Solberg.

"The state, or IDALS (Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship) is only monitoring the water quality, to see how much nitrates are being removed,"?Rode answered.

"What will this monitoring cost, and who has to pay for it?" Solberg asked.

"In our original response to the EPA and Corps, we estimated $40,000 over five years," Rode answered. "And, the landowners in the district would have to pay for it."

"I think that IDALS should be involved in this monitoring and maybe paying towards it," Board Chair Ron Graettinger observed.

"I agree with that,"?Solberg said. "They're the ones that wanted us to do this whole thing to start with."

"I think we should get IDALS up here to have a discussion on this monitoring with Kent," agreed Supervisor Ed Noonan.

After a few more minutes of discussion, the board asked Auditor Carmen Moser to contact IDALS to set up a meeting on the subject.

In other drainage action, the Board was presented with the final commissioners' report on a voluntary annexation of lands into Drainage District 21 West. The annexation of lands in Section 34 of Freedom Township was first petitioned to the board back in September of 2010 by Soper Farms.

Rode presented the report, noting that the costs of the reclassification report was to be borne by the petitioners.

In other business, the board heard a presentation by Ron Jacobson regarding the removal of trees from county right-of-way near Depew. A week earlier, the board had voted to pay one-half of a bill submitted by Jacobson for the removal of several trees, at a cost of $700.

Tuesday morning, Jacobson presented the board with several photographs of the area in question, pointing out that the trees that had been removed had actually grown in the county right-of-way, rather than adjacent as had been shown in a right-of-way map from the late 1950's.

"I'd move we pay the other half of the bill, $700, for tree removal," Solberg moved. The motion was passed unanimously.

County Mental Health Coordinator Maureen Sandberg met with the board to discuss and issue regarding one of the county's service providers.

"I need to visit with you to see how you as a group feel about granting an exemption to Kathleen's Care for the requirement of an audit as part of the Consortium negotiations,"?Sandberg said.

The Northwest Iowa Mental Health Consortium negotiates for services from mental health providers for its member counties. Providers must submit cost reports to the consortium, which are based on audits.

"Kathleen's is really financially pressed to pay for a full audit for the cost report at this time," Sandberg said. "They have had several clients transferred out and it's a tough time for them right now."

Noting that an audit would cost around $7,500, and that Kathleens had not been included in the Consortium process before, Sandberg explained the board, as the host county of Kathleens, could agree to an exemption for the audit requirement under the Consortium's rules.

"I'd say we give them the exemption this year, but I think that they'll will need to have an audit,"?Graettinger said.

"I think that's pretty much what the Consortium members think, also,"?Sandberg replied, bringing the discussion to a close.

The board also approved a Liquor License and Sunday Sales Permit for the Lakeland E-Z Stoppe in Ruthven, and approved the Recorders' and Veterans' Affairs monthly reports.



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