In the late 1990's, Becker County Commissioners transferred the drainage authority responsibilities of Becker County Ditch 11/12 (Campbell Lake/Creek area), 13 (Floyd Lake, Rice Lake, City of Detroit Lakes area), and 14 (St. Clair Lake, City of Detroit Lakes area) to the Pelican River Watershed District.
These drainage systems were constructed from 1913 to 1918 for agricultural improvements. The management of these systems follows MN Statute 103E and the costs associated with the drainage systems are paid for by the benefiting properties.
The District annually inspects the ditch systems condition, noting vegetative buffers, erosion, blockages, tree snags, or beaver activity. The District is required by MN Statute 103E to maintain the integrity and functionality of the drainage system. Most maintenance expenses are related to trapping beaver, removing tree snags, blockages, and beaver dams.
The District contracts with local trappers to remove the beaver and remove small dams. It is sometimes necessary to hire contractors who operate excavators or use explosives to remove larger blockages, sediment, or tree snags.
In 2017, the District adopted a policy for drainage systems including tree removal, beaver control and dam removal which outlines policies, procedures and payment for contractors hired to perform work within the ditch systems.
There were 36 beaver trapped out of the drainage systems in 2019, and one dam was removed using explosives. The total maintenance expenses on all systems was $3,980.27.
Ditch 11: Dam removed with explosives in Campbell Creek area. Expense: $180.27
Ditch 13: 4 beaver trapped at PR2 site, 12 beaver trapped at PR2a site, and 3 beaver trapped at the 8th St. trailer park. Expenses: $1,900.
Ditch 14: 19 beaver trapped at Dunton Trail crossing. Expense: $1,900.
In 2000, The Becker County Board of Commissioners transferred authority for management of Becker County Ditches 11,12,13,& 14. Any maintenance, repairs, improvements, or new construction on these drainage systems must be in accordance with Minnesota Drainage Law (M.S. Chapter 103E). The cost of routine maintenance and repairs of the District’s Drainage projects (M.S.103D.631, 103D.635 and 103D.641), including the cost of removing obstructions and accumulations of foreign substances from drainage systems, must be paid from the District’s drainage system maintenance fund. The landowners who derive drainage benefits from these system are assessed to pay into the maintenance fund. If the cost of maintenance or repair, including all fees and costs relating to it, is less than $25,000, the District may have the work done by contract without advertising for bids (M.S.103D.641).
In 2014 the Becker Soil and Water Conservation District and Pelican River Watershed District were successful in securing Clean Water Legacy funds from the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). The project aim was to develop a GIS based inventory of the current ditch conditions, including culvert elevations and locations, buffer width, areas of erosion, and adjacent land use.
During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the District conducted an extensive inventory of the four public drainage ditches within its jurisdiction -- Becker County Ditches 11, 12, 13, and 14. The inventory results helped the District and the Becker Soil and Water Conservation District target and prioritize areas for future best management practices.
Ditches 11 & 12 (also known as Campbell Creek), located north of Floyd lake, had a few areas along the ditch system with "improvement potential" for sediment and phosphorous reductions, mainly along Ditch 12, in the downstream wooded area where severe streambank erosion was noted in multiple areas. There was only one potential location in the cultivated area for improvements as this area had extensive installations of best management practices completed in 2011 and 2012. The report also noted various beaver activity that had caused localized flooding and vegetation loss in certain areas.
Ditch 13 & 14, there were no "improvement potential" areas identified, only beaver dams or debris were noted which are addressed through the drainage system maintenance. Most of Ditches 13 & 14 run through wetland areas or through the City of Detroit Lakes urban area.
The inventory results were sent to landowners with "improvement potential". The District received positive landowner feedback indicating a high interest in working together to implement improvements on their property.