NORTHWOOD, Iowa (AP) -- Minnesota farmers complain new culverts installed near here last spring are causing water to back up in fields north of the state line.
Wayne Leidal told Worth County supervisors this week that his grain bins have been flooded and water is backing up in his fields.
"There used to be an open ditch, no culverts, no driveways, no water problems," he said.
The culverts are meant to handle runoff during high-water conditions in the Deer Creek Watershed. The watershed is in both Iowa and Minnesota, and it drains through the disputed area near State Line Road.
"I'm not sure why it was not done right 25 years ago," said Dave Rohlf, an engineer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
"The problem is there is a huge drainage area from the Minnesota side and State Line Road serves as a dam. There is control below the state line but none in Minnesota," Rohlf said.
When drainage ditches and flood control measures were built in the 1960s and 1970s, Minnesota farmers declined to participate, he said. Water management practices stopped at the Minnesota line.
"I know the reason it was designed that way. It was designed to block off Minnesota water. How legal is it to block off water?" Leidal said.
Supervisor Richard Holstad said changes in farming have added to the problem. "There used to be more livestock, pastures, hay and controlled runoff. Now they farm fence row to fence row," he said.
As a result, more water flows quickly off the land when heavy rains occur, Holstad said.
After the meeting ended without compromise, County Engineer Jim Hyde said: "I know where it's going to end up. It's going to end up in court."
"If I can get a lawyer to handle this, that's what I'm going to do," Leidal said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.