DNR honors Valley Branch Watershed District
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently awarded Valley Branch Watershed District (VBWD) the Annual Watershed District Award for its flood control work. The five years leading up to 2020 were the wettest ever recorded in VBWD, which is located just east of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The wet years caused extremely high water levels at many of their lakes. In May and June of 2020, rains dumped almost 15 inches on VBWD. Houses, roads, sewage treatment systems, and lakes without outlets were flooded.
Barr worked with the VBWD managers and inspector, Washington County, and others to protect property owners. That included scrambling to find emergency pumping routes and temporary infrastructure for pumping as well as helping people plan to evacuate—during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once the emergency subsided somewhat, Barr helped VBWD obtain a DNR Flood Hazard Mitigation Grant and an AA+ $5 million bond to continue implementing a voluntary low home-buyout program. Barr also worked with Washington County to obtain federal funding relief. We then secured $570,000 in assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through its Planning Assistance to States program to partner with VBWD in developing a comprehensive flood mitigation planning study for several of the troublesome lakes.
Congratulations to VBWD for being named the DNR’s 2021 Watershed District of the Year!
Learn more about Barr’s VBWD projects:
Infrastructure inspection program for Minnesota watershed district
Snowpack monitoring and lake drawdown for Minnesota watershed district