Public Ditch Management

About the County's Drainage Ditches

Public ditches were constructed to drain land and to collect water quickly and efficiently to provide better soil conditions and increase land available for the production of crops. Chisago County has eleven (11) public ditches extending over 55 miles in length. In addition to these public ditches, countless private drainage tile, private lateral ditches as well as public waters are connect to the county's eleven public ditches.

Drainage Authority

Determining the Correct Drainage Authority

County Drainage Authority

In the case of a drainage project or repair for one of the Chisago Counties eleven public ditch systems that are physically located within a single county, benefits a watershed within a single county, and where no watershed district has been organized, the drainage authority for the drainage project or repair is the county board of commissioners. (Minnesota Statutes 103E.202, subd. 4). The county board has authority to conduct drainage work and to levy assessments, charges or other taxes only within the geographic limits of the county.

Joint County Drainage Authority

In the case of a drainage project  located in two or more counties, or which benefits a watershed in two or more counties, the drainage authority is a joint county drainage authority, consisting of representatives from each of the county boards. (Minnesota Statutes 103E.235). When a petition for a proposed joint county drainage project is filed, the board organizing the petition shall notify the board of each county where the property is affected by the drainage system to request a meeting to consider the petition. Each board shall select five of their members at the joint meeting to serve as the joint county drainage authority. (Minnesota Statutes 103E.235, subd. 2).

Chisago County Drainage Authority

The purpose of the Chisago County Drainage Authority is to discuss, analyze and approve situations related to public ditches and drainage. Chisago County's Drainage Authority is made up of five (5) Chisago County Commissioners. Others involved with ditch proceedings include:

  • Public Ditch Inspector
  • County Attorney
  • County Engineer & Public Works Department
  • Interested landowners & their representatives
  • State and federal agencies