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Lincoln County still trying to get old ditch cleaned

August 22, 2012
By Steve Browne , Marshall Independent

IVANHOE?- Lincoln County Environmental Administrator Robert Olsen reported to the county board at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still hadn't responded to requests to access land owned by the agency.

The outlet for County Ditch 2 is on the land the U.S. Fish and Wildlife purchased, and now the county would like to do routine maintenance on the ditch.

"Fish and Wildlife purchased the land three or four years ago," Olsen said. "Now it's time for cleaning and we've been denied access."

County Ditch 2 runs just north of Tyler and is the oldest ditch in Lincoln County, having been authorized in 1904. The federal agency wants the original documentation, according to Olsen, and he can't find it in county records.

And, Olsen said, since the federal agency acquired the land which the lower part of the ditch runs through, it claims exemption from paying assessments for ditch maintenance and repair, which will mean the benefits will be reassessed with the remaining landowners taking up the lost revenue.

According to Olsen, maintenance involves cleaning a few inches of silt on the bottom of the ditch.

On the recommendation of County Engineer Lee Amundson, the board approved a township bridge replacement policy.

The policy provides that replacement of county bridges will be prioritized based on: sufficiency rating of a given bridge, submittal date of "request to replace" by townships, ability of townships to pay local share of costs and sequencing of replacements focusing on a geographic area to achieve the best economy in construction.

The board also approved the appointment of Lincoln County farmer Tim Dritz to replace long-serving Don Oerter as one of Lincoln County's two delegates to the five-member board of the Yellow Medicine Watershed District.

Appointments are for three years, renewable.

"Through my experience on the corn and soybean growers boards I've realized that water issues are important to industry and tourism," Dritz said.



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