An area of southeast Ravenna Township located between Hastings, Miesville, and Red Wing, is locally known as Etter.  Etter Creek has long been known as a place with significant flooding and erosion.  The erodible soils of the area, combined with steep slopes and land uses, has led to problems for residents who live near Etter Creek or its tributaries and Ravenna Township officials.  Etter Creek is an intermittent stream the starts at the Vermillion River and moves its way uphill through portion of Ravenna Township and into Welch Township (Goodhue County).

The Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO), in partnership with the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), was contacted by a local farmer about an erosion problem on his family’s land.  A 10+ foot head cut, a vertical drop in the channel, was eroding its way uphill toward a farm and farm access road managed by the farmer. Erosion in the channel also threatened to compromise the adjacent township road and overhead electrical poles leading to the farmstead.

Dakota SWCD worked with VRWJPO staff to identify an engineered solution to address the head cut.  Combined with some tree removal and channel grading and realignment, three rock chutes will be installed to stop the head cut migration and stabilize the channel.  The project is intended to significantly lower erosion in this waterway and reduce sediment reaching Etter Creek and the Vermillion River, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Many more projects will be needed in the Etter Area to make a sizable dent in the erosion and sedimentation issues present.  If you live in this area and are interested in conservation practices on your land, contact the VRWJPO or Dakota County SWCD.

The project is one of the first Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ Watershed-Based Initiative Funding grant funded projects in the VRWJPO.  Grant dollars totaling $60,000 were assigned to the project along with VRWJPO match and SWCD technical assistance. The approximate total cost of construction is $95,000.