Tag Archives: TJ Heinricy

Erosion control proving to be a challenge along the East Cannon River Trail

Last Thursday, July 21, a contractor started laying erosion control blankets along the East Cannon River Trail and other areas of construction from the Babcock Park Lift Station & Interceptor Sewer Project.

Erosion control blanket installation, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail
When biking the trail, however, I noticed that the silt fence, washed out in more than a dozen places a week earlier by the heavy rains (5 inches?) on July 15, had not been fixed. With thunderstorms in the forecast for the weekend, I wrote to City street/engineering staffers Sean Simonson and TJ Heinricy:

Sean/TJ, I noticed yesterday that the silt fence along the East Cannon River Trail has been washed out in many places since last Friday’s heavy rains.  I see the contractor is putting down the erosion blankets rather than repairing the silt fence.   And at the south end of the trail, there’s no silt fence at all along the unpaved section of the trail, with several places where they’ve just pushed dirt up to the river’s edge. With the probability of more thunderstorms this weekend, what’s the plan to remedy this?

I got this email back from Brian Hilgardner, Senior Project Manager, for Bolton & Menk, an engineering consulting firm that works with the City:

Griff, Sean is out of town on vacation, however, I was made aware of your concerns for potential erosion control along the Cannon River Trail.  The Contractor replaced much of the silt fence along the entire corridor approximately three weeks ago.  Obviously, the heavy rains took its toll on some of the silt fence.  The Contractor wasn’t able to get any equipment onto the site to make repairs earlier this week because they would have made conditions worse because the soil was still wet and soft. 

They are currently placing seed/mulch and erosion control blanket to stabilize the entire site.  They will also be repairing silt fence today.  The erosion control blanket is actually a much better and preferred erosion control Best Management Practice (BMP’s) according to the Minnesota Stormwater Manual, and as indicated in my training for Erosion and Stormwater Management Certification.  In fact, silt fence is one of the least preferred, yet still most commonly used because of its lower cost. 

By the end of the day, everything should be stabilized again.  Please call me if you have any further questions or comments. 

I replied to Brian:

Thanks much for your detailed, quick response, Brian. Good to know that it’ll be stabilized by day’s end.

Will that include along the south, unpaved end of the trail by the old Village School?  There’s no silt fence there at all and it doesn’t appear that that section will be ready for erosion blankets for a quite a while… probably until after it’s paved, right?


I did instruct the contractor to get silt fence installed on that end today.  You are correct, that end will not be fully stabilized until it is paved, hopefully sometime next week if the weather remains decent.  I appreciate your concern for these issues and please feel free to contact me in the future if you have any comments or questions.

The contractor did fix the silt fence by the end of the day on Friday. I was thrilled. The weather did not "remain decent" however; we got nearly 2 inches of rain in about 30 minutes on Saturday morning. I rode the trail to see the results.

silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail
As you can see from the above photos, the silt fence along the unfinished south end of the trail did its job.

Erosion control blankets, East Cannon River Trail Erosion control blankets, East Cannon River Trail Erosion control blankets, East Cannon River Trail
And with a few minor exceptions, the erosion control blankets did their job.

Erosion, East Cannon River Trail Erosion, East Cannon River Trail Erosion, East Cannon River Trail
But on all the inclined areas where the contractor had not placed blankets, the straw/seeding just washed away.  In most places, the repaired silt fence caught the runoff.

I wrote to Brian yesterday:

Brian, Nice work!  The erosion blankets did their job during Saturday’s deluge, with a few minor exceptions.  And the silt fence at the far south end did its job. But all the slightly inclined places where erosion blankets were NOT used, the straw was just washed away/ruined. What’s the plant to fix that?


We are actually driving the site right now. We will likely have them overseed the entire project and mulch again. I will keep you posted.

Kudos to Brian and City Hall for the handling of a challenging situation.

Do you know the people on the City of Northfield Park & Recreation Advisory Board?

I attended a meeting of the City of Northfield Park & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) last week because of my interest in two items on their agenda: A) seeing what could be done to get a campground (tent and RV) in Northfield; and B) what to do about the goose poop problem. See my notes (campground here; goose poop here).

Do you know who’s on the PRAB?  I didn’t know everyone there so I thought I’d post these photos of not quite all of them (Eric Hong and Neil Lutsky were absent) sitting around the table in the Library meeting room.

City of Northfield Park & Recreation Advisory Board City of Northfield Park & Recreation Advisory Board
PRAB members: Grace Clark, Erik Hong, Nathan Knutson, David Hvistendahl, Dick Johnson, Dale Gehring, Neil Lutsky. City staff Liaison: Lynne Young.

Also in the above photos for the meeting: City of Northfield Streets and Parks Supervisor TJ Heinricy, Northfield Public Schools Community Services Recreation Coordinator Erin Mayberry, City of Northfield Recreation Manager Allison Watkins, City of Northfield / Maintenance Facility Administrative Assistant Barbara Thompson.

The deep street hole at 6th & Division: the government was involved

I was walking downtown just after noon yesterday when a Federal government employee (postal worker Tom Kotula) asked me if I’d seen the deep hole in the street at 6th & Division.

deep street hole at 6th & Division deep street hole at 6th & Division deep street hole at 6th & Division Repairs to deep street hole at 6th & Division

Repairs to deep street hole at 6th & Division Repairs to deep street hole at 6th & Division deep street hole at 6th & Division Repairs to deep street hole at 6th & Division
When I arrived to take photos, a City government worker was directing a private contractor (who had been hired by City government Streets and Parks Supervisor TJ Heinricy) to dig up the hole to, um, get to the bottom of it.

According to a story on Nlfd Patch (the Northfield MSM—Nfld Patch, Nfld News, KYMN—had been alerted to the issue via email by City government Administrator Tim Madigan) the hole likely opened up after a Federal Government National Guard vehicle drove over the street.  (Nfld Patch has patch photos. Heh.)

After excavation, City government workers filled the hole and tomorrow will investigate how storm water (created and unleashed by a non-governmental source but rerouted by City Government) caused the hole in the first place.

Where would we be without government?

Let’s use a Border Collie to solve the geese problem now

shoreline, Ames ParkI optimistically blogged about the Canada geese (AKA ‘sky carp’ or ‘flying rats’) in Ames Park last December: The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working.

And then in April, I took this photo of workers removing the fencing along the west side of the Cannon River in Ames Park. I sent this email to City Engineer Katy Gehler-Hess:

Hi Katy, I see the fencing along the Cannon River downtown was removed this morning. The plantings didn’t grow? What’s plan B??

I never got a reply but she evidently forwarded my email to Street/Park Supervisor T.J. Heinricy who wrote:

The fence in Ames park was removed per the recommendation of Bonestroo Inc.  They were the contractor hired to do the install.  I asked them this Spring about the fence removal.  The gentleman that did the install did a very detailed inspection.  The planting’s are doing just fine and are thriving.  That was their assessment.

Alas, the problem is now worse than ever.

geese in Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park
I took these photos last night.  The geese use the canoe ramps and the bank next to the Ames Mill fence that’s not city property to enter and exit the river. And the plantings are NOT thriving everywhere as Bonestroo contended. There are many spots that look like this:

shoreline, Ames Park

Nfld News:

City Administrator Joel Walinski said it will take time to see the full effect of the new shoreline, which looks much better than it did two years ago, he said.

I’m extremely doubtful that the current solution will work in two years.  The Nfld News editorial mentioned using dogs, specifically Border Collies. Lots of businesses doing this (example, here) and even the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese recommends using Border Collies:

Border Collies (BC) are specially trained herding dogs that are extremely effective for keeping geese out of areas where they are considered a problem.  Border collies are the method of choice for large open areas such as golf courses, airports, parks, school ground recreation fields, corporate parks, etc.

Results are immediate. Usually requires aggressive initial use (several times a day for 1-2 weeks) until geese get tired of being hassled and stay away. While the wolf-like gaze of Border Collies is incredibly frightening to geese, these dogs will not harm them or children.

Tearing down the Ames Mill dam might solve the problem but that project appears to be stalled.

So why not get/rent a Border Collie and solve the problem NOW, before DJJD?  Couldn’t the Park & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) could take the lead on this initiative?

Update 7/16 8:30 am:  Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail between Riverside Park and Babcock Park:

Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail

Update 7/18 7:15 am: Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza:

Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza

Recycling bins and newspaper vending racks: a project for the Streetscape Task Force?

Recycling bins downtown Recycling bins downtown newspaper vending racks downtown
City Administrator Joel Walinski writes in the June 4 Friday Memo:

Downtown Recycling Cans, Oh! They’re so ugly! 20 temporary recycling containers were put in place Friday June 4, 2010 along Division Street. Street Supervisor TJ Heinricy has been working with Waste Management staff to develop a test-recycling program for the downtown area over the past several months.

Our interest is in the assessing the recycling waste stream and how much use there is or could be. This information will be used in the cost analysis and consideration of the return on investment for allocating future dollars on more permanent (eye-appealing) recycling containers in the downtown area.

Seems like downtown recycling bins and newspaper vending racks should be a project for the Streetscape Task Force.

Recycling bins, Montreal Missoula recycling bins  Flash Forward recycling bin, Toronto
Left: I like the ones used in Montreal near McGill University.
Center: the ones in Missoula, Montana aren’t bad
Right: even better are ones in Toronto that serve another purpose – Art:

Continue reading Recycling bins and newspaper vending racks: a project for the Streetscape Task Force?

New pile of screened compost now available

TJ Heinricy, Streets & Parks Supervisor, reported in the Aug. 21 Friday Memo that "The City compost site has been busy with the annual compost screening. This project entails the screening of two or three year old compost."

 Dakota Wood Grinding's compost screening equipment screened compost pile
I took the left photo a week ago when Dakota Wood Grinding’s compost screening equipment arrived. I took the right photo today showing that a huge mound of compost is now ready for citizens to use, first come, first-served. See the city’s yard waste page for more, including this compost site PDF.

Emerald Ash Borer: coming soon to your neighborhood

Emerald Ash Borer collector Emerald Ash Borer sign Emerald Ash Borer - City of Northfield
We picnicked at Sakatah Lake State Park last weekend and I noticed that they’ve set up a collector/detector gizmo on an ash tree for the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  In the June 19 issue of the Nfld News, Speedy beetle mistaken for tree-killing relative,

“It’s right in our backyard now,” (Streets and Parks Supervisor TJ Heinricy) said. He estimated up to 30 percent of the trees in Northfield are ash, and said he would initiate insecticide-spraying on the bark of vulnerable trees downtown.


A color change for downtown pedestrian light poles

IMG_2670 City crews are replacing many historic-looking pedestrian light poles downtown on Division St. The lights glow white, in contrast to the orange color of the light poles installed last year on the Water St. parking lot and Sesquicentennial Legacy Plaza. I know zilch about street lighting and even less about smart streetlights but in this week’s Friday Memo, TJ Heinricy, Supervisor of Northfield’s Streets & Parks Department, writes: (continued)

Continue reading A color change for downtown pedestrian light poles