Monday morning the Marshall County Drainage Board heard the request of County Surveyor Craig Cultice to reconstruct the Emma Kuntz Ditch at Lake of the Woods.

Cultice reminded the Drainage Board that last December they denied a request for maintenance of the ditch due to the high cost.  He said, “The typical cost to dredge a ditch can range from $1.00 to $2.00 a foot.  Restrictions pace on this project by the Armey Corps have increased the cost to approximately $36.00 a foot.”  The restrictions placed on this project are that all sediment removed from the ditch shall be hauled offsite to an approved upland location.” 

This ditch consists of 2,750 feet of tile drain, and 11,900 feet of open ditch, which outlets into the Lake of the Woods.

The last time this portion of the ditch was cleaned between West Shore Drive and the shoreline of the lake was in 1990.  Cultice said this section of the ditch has become sediment-laden and restricts water flow to the lake.  Cleaning this portion of the ditch should be a benefit to the entire watershed.   

The estimated cost of reconstruction is $25,000.  The project will consist of dredging between 12 to 18 inches of accumulated sediment from the Emma Kuntz Ditch.  All material removed from the ditch will be hauled offsite to an approved location and leveled.  The project will begin at the shoreline of Lake of the Woods and terminate on the east side of West Shore Drive.  The length of the project is 560 feet.

The Drainage Board approved the reconstruction project for the Emma Kuntz Ditch with a public hearing to be held on May 20th.

The Marshall County Drainage Board also considered an increase in the assessment due to the low amount of funds the ditch currently brings in annually, $2,400. The surveyor said the ditch maintenance assessment currently has $6,084 in it. There are 66 parcels in the watershed and 48 of them are over the minimum with only 18 parcels at minimum. 

The current assessment is $2 an acre with a minimum of $7.50, which was set in 1989.  Maintenance in the last 10 years has totaled $30,381. The estimated average yearly maintenance cost is $7,500. 

Reconstruction will be pro-rated over the entire watershed, and property owners will have 5 years to pay their portions although there is interest added if not paid in full.

The drainage board set the proposed assessment at $6 an acre which would bring in $6,990 annually. The minimum assessment was set at $15.00. 

A public hearing on the ditch assessment will be held at the same time the public hearing on the reconstruction is conducted, May 20th.