River creeping closer to Shag Road resident

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners will discuss funding options Tuesday that may be available for a Shag Road resident plagued by riverbank erosion issues.

In a June 18, 2014 letter to commissioners, Nancy Reseland wrote that she bought the property in June 2007, never thinking she would have an issue with the nearby Minnesota River, but has lost more than an acre of land to erosion caused by spring flooding. She added that her next door neighbors are in the same situation, losing their property at the same rate she is.

Reseland further explained that she found a funding source through the Flood Hazard Mitigation Grant program that provides 50-50 cost share assistance to local government units to perform a variety of flood risk reduction measures. “I’m hoping to discuss what there may be available to help (pay) for the other 50 percent,” Reseland wrote.

In a June 17, 2014 memo to commissioners, the Brown County Emergency Management and Water Planning Office wrote it has been involved with Reseland and her property since the spring of 2013 regarding the loss of land by Minnesota River erosion.

“Since about 1991, the property has lost about 100 feet as the river moves towards her home located on an outside river bend that absorbs the brunt of the river’s force,” the memo read. “Although the process has been exacerbated by heavy rain and added field tile installed, it is a natural occurrence.”

Reseland said Saturday that she believes a wing dam structure could be built to protect her property and those nearby from riverbank erosion. “I understand wing dams have been built in many other places and they work,” she added.

A wing dam extends only part way across a river to deflect water flow away from the shore.

The memo added that Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hydrologists, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist, Board of Soil & Water Resources and South Central Technical Service Area engineers estimated it would cost more than $500,000 to protect Reseland’s property with erosion control.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) was contacted about using Hazard Mitigation funds to buy out property but that office recently determined Reseland is not eligible to use the funds since her home is not located in the flood plain. The elevation of her home is about 812 feet above sea level and the one percent (old 100 year) flood elevation is 805.5 feet, according to the memo.

John Knisely of the county emergency management office found an NRCS program that could possibly fund up to 75 percent of the cost of moving the home on the same property. The county office will work with the NRCS State Engineer to see it if is feasible and contacted movers for cost quotes, according to the memo.

Commissioners will also consider:

An Avera McKennan 72-Hour Hold Contract to purchase serve from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 with a rate increase of $870 to $896 a day. A year ago, the current contract was negotiated after several months of debate over contract language, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

Contract wording was changed to clarify that Brown County would not be responsible for transportation or discharge planning for clients who are the financial responsibility of another county. The contract has been used a number of times with overflow from New Ulm Medical Center’s in-patient mental health unit. All but one of these was covered by private insurance, according to the RBA.

Adjusting the Auditor/Treasurer’s (A-T) office counter employee position from 30 hours to full-time as of July 2014. The request is made due to the accrual of comp time and overtime hours, according to the RBA. In addition, it is anticipated that primary election voter turnout will be at an all-time high due to the ISD 88 referendum and the office will experience transition as the A-T has opted not to seek another term in office, requiring job responsibility changes plus conversion to a new tax system in the next few years and many training opportunities to be added to the work schedule, according to the RBA.

A County Board of Appeal & Equalization meeting continuation begins at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, June 24. The regular county board meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the courthouse commissioner’s room.

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