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No, a public ditch is an easement for drainage only. The lawn remains private property. Like all private property, you need to get the landowner's permission before entering the property.
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A public ditch is a drainage system managed by County Drainage Authority or Joint County Drainage Authority. The county does not own the ditch. The landowners who benefit from the ditch own the drainage system. A public ditch can be an open ditch system, an underground tile system or a combination of open ditch and underground tile.
Road ditches are not public ditches. Road ditches are the responsibility of the road authority.
The first step to solve the problem is to notify the Public Ditch Inspector. After the Public Ditch Inspector has reviewed the problem, his/her findings will be provided to the County Engineer/Public Works Department for project consideration and response. Please contact Jeff Fertig, Wetland Specialist/Public Ditch Inspector by calling 651-213-8378 or Email Jeff Fertig to report a problem with a public ditch and seek a referral to Public Works for project consideration.
The first step is to notify the County Engineer/Public Works Department by calling 651-213-8708 or via Email Joe Triplett. Department staff will assist you to ensure proper policies and the state’s drainage laws are followed.
Property owners who are benefited by the ditch are the ones who pay for ditch improvements and repairs. For public ditches, the county pays the contractor and assesses all costs back to the benefited property owners through a special assessment. Benefiting property owners are not simply those who own property adjacent to the public ditch. In many cases the benefiting property owners include numerous land owners within the watershed area of the entire ditch. To view Public Ditch Watershed area maps, please consult the 2016 Inventory Chisago County Public Ditch System Report.
Under the new state buffer law (effective November 1, 2017) all public ditches are required to have a "one rod" / 16.5' buffer from the top of the bank. State Buffer Law Webpage.
Repairs are not intended to significantly increase hydraulic efficiency or capacity of the ditch. The term "repair", means to restore all or a part of a drainage system as nearly as practicable to the same condition as originally constructed and subsequently improved.
Open ditch repairs include minor work such as spraying for weeds and brush, removal of isolated silt deposits, bridge or culvert cleaning, removal of vegetation, debris or other obstructions, fixing isolated side slope damage due to sloughing, fixing damage to culverts and fixing or installing erosion control structures.
Repairs may also involve more extensive cleaning of the ditch bottom of silt deposits to bring the grade line and bottom width to originally constructed or subsequently improved conditions.
Repairs on tile lines include repair or replacement of underground tile as well as the tile intakes and outlets.
An improvement project involves the enlarging, extending, straightening, or deepening of an established, previously constructed system. Generally an improvement project provides for the upgrading and enhancement of the existing system's hydraulic capacity and drainage ability. Improvements must go through a hearing process that includes a determination of benefits.