Mitigation study leads to drainage considerations
By Daniel Arens
Work on creating a mitigation bank for the Mercer County Water Board and the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is currently stalled, with NDDOT working on procedure hurdles like appraisals for the project.
However, the process of working towards this mitigation opened another potential project for the water board to examine. The new consideration rises from downstream landowners’ concerns that the mitigation bank, which involves storing water on the property of Richard Simenson, could negatively impact water reaching their own property, which they rely on for irrigation.
Tom and Dawn Garrett, the downstream landowners, began attending water board meetings and asking questions shortly after the specific area, located southwest of Zap, became the focal point in a potential Mercer County mitigation bank. The water board needs wetland mitigation to offset the water drainage or diversion of some of their other projects.
A recent study by the North Dakota State Water Commission did not find any consequential impact to the Garretts or other downstream landowners from the proposed mitigation project, according to Water Board Secretary Greg Lange. However, the study and subsequent examinations of the area have pointed out a couple of issues that may contribute to a lack of water going downstream.