Proposal for Ditch System Improvements Near Mapleton Has Many Groups Calling for Changes

A proposed improvement to a large drainage ditch system near Mapleton has the Department of Natural Resources, conservation groups and downriver communities calling for changes in the project, including restored wetlands to hold water on the landscape.

In 2019, some farmers in the drainage area petitioned Blue Earth County requesting an improvement to the Ditch 35 system southeast of Mapleton, which contains underground tile as well as an open ditch that has been plagued with erosion and sloughing.

A proposed improvement plan was created, but there are dueling engineering reports.  The firm the County hired says the plan will reduce water flow out of the system and a report from an engineering firm cited by opponents says the water outflow will increase and cause more sediment and high water flows in the Minnesota River.

A DNR report slammed the project for not integrating best management practices and holding more water back on the landscape.

More discussion on the project and a possible vote to approve it was tabled until the Board’s March 8th meeting.