Minnesota River Interviews - Del & Shirley Wehrspann

Minnesota River Interviews  
Del & Shirley Wehrspann
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"Initially there was a big struggle to enforce a one rod [16.5-foot] setback from the ditch. We went through court litigation."

Del Wehrspann by ditch
Ditch 69A
Wehrspann by Ditch 69A
[The Werspanns moved to the area near Montevideo, Minnesota in 1968].
Video Text: "We invested all of our resources to live here because... we wanted to get away from the Iowa farm I grew up on that had turned into a biological desert, even though it was producing a lot of crops. When we came [to Montevideo] we still had the Minnesota River and wetlands, we still had these things. Shortly afterwards, the city, and county and local farmers started wholesale draining the area and I couldn't understand. I thought gosh its happening right before our eyes, this is exactly what happened where I grew up in Iowa, only difference is it was a few years later."

[A major issue for them was a ditch 69A that drained onto their land.] "We went through court litigation on the ditch and I was given personal damages for what it did to my property at the outlet. The county engineer maintained that was neither benefited nor damaged. In the litigation, we had to hire another drainage engineer from the University of Minnesota who had disputed these findings. He said the ditch was the natural flow of the water, but because of the fall he said that this would increase the factor of erosion by seven. In other words, a one inch rain would have the erosion factor of a seven inch rain. So the result of this little three mile ditch would be an additional twenty three hundred tons of silt deposited every year, where this flattened out — the Minnesota River."
Chippewa River Watershed Map
Chippewa River
Watershed Map

Hawk Creek Yellow Medicine Watersheds
Hawk Creek/Yellow
River Watershed Map

Interview transcript


This page was last updated 8/08