Each drain has its own annual maintenance assessment of projected expenses, based on a number of factors including acreage and type of soil.
“I think most of the farmers out there understand that [assessments] hadn’t been raised in 20 or 30 years,” Murrell said. “They were grateful that we were able to do this deal that basically fronted us the money for the projects.”
The four areas of watershed where work is being done ultimately will benefit more than 17,000 acres of land, much of it agricultural. The two largest drains involved in the project — the Deer Creek watershed and McKay dredge — have seen a combined 24 miles of open ditch cleaned out.
Maintenance on three of the four drains is at least 90 percent complete, while the other is about 75 percent finished, Duncan said. Although none of the projects are completely finished, the revolving loan fund still has a positive balance of $384,000.
Four additional drains covering 1,593 acres will be cleaned this year, Duncan noted, starting this month.
Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, email@example.com or on Twitter @slagterm.