Stalemate on CD 14

Mark Mercie spoke about his personal situation concerning Lyon County Ditch 14 at a special meeting March 2. Photo / Tara Brandl

Request for improvement on controversial ditch withdrawn

By Tara Brandl

Despite several of the 30-plus people in attendance at the public hearing for Lyon County Ditch 14 speaking out in favor of a proposed improvement project, the project hit another standstill at a public hearing on March 2.

The county’s drainage authority, which is made up of Lyon County Commissioners, accepted a viewer’s report during the redetermination of benefits final hearing. However, when the final hearing on the petition for improvement was called to order, the original petitioners who first filed the request for improvement withdrew their petition after a petition for an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) was filed by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy on Feb. 23, 2022.

In 2018, Charles and Gloria Timmerman petitioned Lyon County for an improvement of County Ditch 14 and the county appointed Bolton & Menk, Inc. as the engineer to make a preliminary survey. On May 19, 2020, a preliminary hearing was held on the petition for improvement of Lyon County Ditch 14. The drainage authority reconvened on Aug. 18, 2020, for the purpose of considering findings and a preliminary order in the proceedings.

During that hearing, the petitioners’ attorney presented reasons for the petition for improvement, including that the system was constructed in 1915 and 1916 and anticipated using practices from that period, including a shallow system; efficiency as constructed is not sufficient for today’s rainfall amounts, so there are inadequate hydraulic capacities; there have been land damages due to a large amount of overland flows; and age and condition of the existing tile.

The preliminary engineer’s report was read during that meeting. The engineer addressed the current condition of the existing clay tile. Based on age and condition, as well as the frequency of the required maintenance, the engineer’s opinion is that the tile system has exceeded its service life and is in need of repair.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.