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S.F. No. 3410 - First Engrossment, Drainage Work Group Recommendations
Author: Senator Bill Weber
Prepared By: Greg Knopff, Senate Analyst (651/296-9399)
Date: March 26, 2018




Article 1 is a Drainage Work Group bill that is in response to a request by the Legislature in Laws 2017, chapter 93, article 1, section 4, paragraph (h), to evaluate and make recommendations to accelerate drainage system acquisition and establishment of ditch buffer strips.

Section 1 [Agriculture Best Management Practices loan program] amends the purposes of the agriculture best management practices (AgBMP) loan program to include all environmental service providers.

Section 2 [AgBMP loan program definitions] modifies AgBMP loan program definitions to clearly allow eligibility for all environmental service providers that may include drainage authorities on behalf of the benefited landowners.

Section 3 [AgBMP loans issued to borrowers] allows environmental service providers to request loans up to $200,000 multiplied by the number of landowners involved in the project.

Section 4 [Incremental establishment of vegetated ditch buffer strips and side inlet controls] clarifies that drainage authorities findings that the establishment of vegetated ditch buffer strips and side inlet controls is necessary to control erosion and sedimentation, improve water quality, or maintain efficiency is sufficient to confer jurisdiction by the drainage authority.

Section 5 [Drainage authority attorney] clarifies that a drainage authority may use an outside attorney, as provided for county boards under current law.

Section 6 [Conditions for redetermination of benefits and damages] allows more than 26 percent of the owners of property or owners of 26 percent of the property benefited or damaged by a drainage system to petition for a redetermination of benefits and damages.  The drainage authority will retain their discretion in conducting the redetermination of benefits and damages.  Current law only allows for a petition by over 50 percent of the landowners to petition for corrections for errors made at the time of drainage system establishment.  Note that a petition for drainage system improvement requires greater than 26 percent.

Section 7 [Drainage buffer strip planting without acquisition and compensation] allows a drainage authority to install buffer strips, with the consent of the landowner, along a drainage ditch without acquiring rights and compensating the landowner. This section sunsets on June 30, 2019.



Article 2 provides an option for drainage authorities to charge landowners for repair of a drainage system based on the landowner’s share of relative runoff and sediment delivery to the system.  This option could be used by a drainage authority to pay for a repairs to the drainage system in lieu of assessments that are based on benefits.  In other words, the cost of a drainage system repair would be treated similar to a storm water utility.

Sections 1 and 2 [Definitions] define “relative runoff” and “relative sediment delivery” for the purpose of the runoff and sediment delivery option.

Sections 3 to 15 [Technical] provide for technical changes to the Drainage Law that are related to the use of the runoff and sediment delivery option.

Section 16 [Apportioning repair costs; options] establishes that drainage authorities have the option of assessing based on benefits or charges using the runoff and sediment delivery option for the repair of a drainage system.

Section 17 [Runoff and sediment delivery] establishes the procedures and process for a drainage authority to apportion drainage system costs by relative runoff and relative sediment delivery.  The process starts by the drainage authority appointing one or more persons who are qualified in GIS systems to use digital information on the landscape and land uses in a model to prepare a cost apportionment report.  The drainage authority must hold a hearing on the cost apportionment report where affected landowners may testify on the report.  After the testimony, the drainage authority may modify the report.  Any person may appeal the cost apportionment report to district court.

Sections 18 to 22 [Technical] provide for technical changes to the Drainage Law that are related to the use of the runoff and sediment delivery option.


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