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County could net more funds for ag draiange well closures

Drainage Engineer Rick Hopper (right) explains work in Drainage District No. 2 Monday night during a meeting with Humboldt County Farm Bureau leaders. All of the teal-colored areas on the county map are in drainage districts. The gray-colored areas are not. Looking on is Humboldt County Supervisor Harlan Hansen. Humboldt Independent photo.

Drainage matters dominated discussion at a two-hour meeting of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Monday morning.
And the good news is that the state of Iowa may be helping Humboldt County plug more ag drainage wells in the county.
Engineer Rick Hopper with Jacobson-Westergard and Associates of Estherville, reported to the board that 65 ag drainage wells had been closed in Humboldt County through the fall of 2012.
The current Drainage District project in Drainage District No. 2, located southeast of Gilmore City, will close nine ag drainage wells.
Hopper said there is a prospect of receiving partial state funding for the closing of many more in the not too distant future.
“I’ve had discussions with Mike Bourland with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). He wants cost estimates on any projects that we have that are close to being ready to work on,” Hopper said.
He said there is $1.5 million available in the ag drainage well closure fund with the possibility of an additional $300,000 in funding, if approved by Iowa Legislature this session.
In the past, IDALS has provided grant funds that pay up to three-fourths of the cost of drainage improvements for a one-half inch drainage coefficient.
He talked about three new drainage projects that could close 17 more wells. The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors gave Board Chairman John "Mort" Christianson authority to sign an application for cost-share funding with the state.