Le Sueur County Ditch No. 54 Drainage Improvements

Le Sueur County, MN | Water


ISG’s water resource experts performed a comprehensive inventory of County Ditch No. 54 in Le Sueur County to support the County’s plans for immediate and future repair work of the failing drainage system.


Le Sueur County Ditch No. 54 (CD 54) is a large 35,950-acre watershed located north of the City of Montgomery. Ditch systems of this size are typically cleaned and repaired every 8-10 years; however, CD 54 had no known improvements or major repairs in over 50 years. With land use in the watershed being predominately agricultural, the ditch was experiencing sloughing and erosion problems causing restrictions within the channels, water back-ups, and crop damage and stress.


ISG engineers performed a comprehensive inventory and topographic survey revealing major repairs needed throughout the open ditch to help prevent erosion, sloughing, and reduce sedimentation. Repair recommendations included bridge and culvert crossing replacements, nearly 50 tile outlets replaced or repaired, 6.73 miles of open ditch cleaning, slough repairs, brush and shrub cleaning, and buffer seeding. A Multi-Purpose Drainage Management (MDM) Plan was included in the report to advise where conservation practices could be incorporated to improve water quality for the system. Major repairs are pending due to a redetermination of benefits for the CD 54 system.

The County expedited one of the repair recommendations due to a heavy rain that caused severe damage to the bridge crossing. With support from FEMA funds, the County enlisted ISG to design and replace an 84” metal culvert with a 10’ x 10’ box culvert. Additionally, ISG reviewed plans from Ducks Unlimited, a nonprofit organization focused on habitat conservation, for a portion of CD 54 that drains into Sanborn Lake. Working to repair the failing lake outlet, ISG ensured that the plan met CD 54 drainage system standards and would not negatively impact the lake or the CD 54 system.

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