Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Culverts win County praise

 

February 6, 2020



Members of the County and Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) earned recognition for 2019 through their efforts on culverts over the past several years.

Starting with the County, the Carlton Department of Transportation (DOT) team received the County Conservation Award from the Association of Minnesota Counties for their efforts in right-sized culvert replacement practices. This approach, which focuses on sizing pipes to site-specific stream characteristics to avoid high energy flows and stream disruption, significantly reduces the likelihood of road washouts from heavy storms or floods and minimizes fragmentation of aquatic habitat, often the case with poorly sized culverts. The installs have proven successful through the storms of this past year, even in spots of frequent trouble, suggesting ample funding and time to be saved down the road. Another benefit of these flow preserving pipes will likely show greater trout presence through stream channels in the coming future.

Culverts in the county also served up another award, this one on behalf of Melanie Bomier (SWCD) and Will Bomier (County DOT). The Minnesota Erosion Control Association (MECA) recognized the two for innovation in minimizing erosion through their culvert inventory efforts. The robust program serves as a significant efficiency improvement to cataloguing information on the culverts by providing a tailored overview of each pipe that can readily be accessed and updated by staff. This in turn provides a means to adequately chart trends and keep up to speed with needed improvements across the 2,000 plus culverts.

The significance of this inventory is emphasized all the more when considering the remote portions of the county where road damage or washouts can be crippling to the travel of residents or emergency personnel given the minimal road network. In turn, the ability to better determine culvert needs and prioritize properly sized replacements aligns with the success of disaster relief alongside water quality preservation, especially in the face of more prevalent flood events.

MECA additionally awarded contracting outfit Veit & Company Inc. in Duluth for their environmental excellence in their project with the SWCD at County Road 103 by Skunk Creek. The company earned praise for their commitment to preserving the wellbeing of the project site and minimizing water pollution during the restoration project on the creek this past summer. Their willingness to work with weather conditions and change timelines to minimize soil loss earned them praise from the SWCD as did their dedication to improving future wildlife habitat through the resulting restored stream section.

 

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