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Commissioners Report: Board approves agreement to study water quality


Fri, May 25th, 2007
Posted in Government

At the May 22 Fillmore County Commissioners meeting, Donna Rasmussen, Soil and Water Conservation reviewed a work plan from SE MN Water Resource Center, Winona State University, to study which management practices are most effective for improving water quality. Agricultural pollution including fecal matter and pesticides contributes to the impaired watersheds.

The work will include segments of the streams "which lose water to the subsurface due to the presence of karst in much of the watershed." The Water Resource Center has the equipment and expertise to complete the work. Dr. Toby Dogwiler, director of the SE MN Water Resources Center, is a stream geomorphologist and an expert in working with karst settings.

The county will contribute $20,050 from 319 Grant Implementation funding for the South Branch Root River Watershed Fecal Coliform Reduction Project which is sponsored by Fillmore County. The work will be completed between June 1, 2007 to August 31, 2008 and be coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

County Attorney Brett Corson asked who will own the data compiled. He felt the agreement needs clarification on that point. Commissioner Randy Dahl agreed that there should be a clause in the agreement that allows the county full access to the data. The other commissioners agreed and approved the agreement with Winona State University contingent on the county attorney's approval of the language.

Highway

John Grindeland, County Engineer, asked for and received approval for a payment of $7,125, 75% of the total cost, to Cloud Cartographers for County maps.

Commissioner Duane Bakke started a discussion of the state legislature's inability to override Governor Pawlenty's veto on the Transportation Bill. Grindeland agreed that there are just enough funds now to keep MnDot's 'lights on.' He opined that the gas tax is probably dead for the next two years. He suggested that state aid to the county is about $190,000 less over the last two years even as costs for construction and maintenance continue to go higher. He insisted that now the five year plan for the county will have to be "shaved down."

Other Business

• Snowmobile contracts and sponsorships were approved for Tri-County Trail Blazers, Hiawatha Sno-Seekers, Bluff Valley Riders and Trail Busters.

• An Unpaid Leave Policy amendment was approved as recommended by Department Heads. The unpaid leave time is only available to full time employees who are eligible for family and medical leave.

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