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Illegal drain allegation denied

The Stutsman County Water Resource Board denied an allegation of unauthorized drainage on Section 35 of Nogosek Township Wednesday.

Chris Bredahl alleged that Jeff Mitchell drained water from land that he owned onto land owned by Bredahl.

Mitchell denied the allegation and also appealed a ruling that he had drained water from sections 26 and 27 of Nogosek Township in 2012.

Ken Dalsted, secretary to the Water Resource Board, said any appeal of a Water Resource Board ruling had to be filed within 30 days of the ruling to the North Dakota Water Commission.

Roger Florhaug, area resident, testified that a soil embankment on the Canadian Pacific Railway right of way washed away or was removed, allowing water to flow off of Section 35.

“It could have washed out,” he said. “I did not see it opened.”

Joe Larson, Mitchell’s attorney, presented an affidavit from Mark Schlecht, roadmaster for CP Rail, that the changes in drainage on Section 35 were natural.

“I inspected the area and determined the drainage was not forced by man or machine,” Schlecht  said in the affidavit.

The Water Resource Board unanimously denied Bredahl’s complaint.

Bredahl also said Mitchell had opened a drain on sections 26 and 27 of Nogosek Township. Joel Lees, chairman of the board, said those allegations could not be addressed because the complaint had not been included in the agenda of the meeting.

Mitchell maintained he had not reopened the drain that he had been ordered to close in 2012. He also authorized Stuart Blotter, assistant state director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to present maps showing that the previous drainage did not violate any federal regulations concerning wetlands.

Blotter said the drain that Mitchell had installed was above the top elevation of the wetlands in question.

Tony Roorda, Water Resource Board member, said draining water could be a violation of state and local regulations even if it didn’t violate federal regulations if it moved water onto the property of others.

“I didn’t gain anything,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t drain my land dry.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at