ST. PAUL, MN – 19 May, 2016 – The Minnesota Supreme Court this week has refused to set aside a Court of Appeals decision that invalidated a ditch project constructed by the Sauk River Watershed District in central Minnesota.

The Sauk River Watershed District is a large regional authority covering parts of Stearns, Todd, Pope, Douglas and Meeker Counties.

The project sought to condemn lands from several farms for the purpose of buffer zones along a public ditch.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court let stand the Court of Appeals decision to invalidate the Sauk River Watershed District’s project,” said Attorney Bill Peterson of Bloomington who represented two of the successful appellants.  “The District did not follow proper procedures for such a project so the decision by the appellate court was correct.”

Peterson also noted that the District had pushed forward on construction even while the District’s actions were under appeal in the courts.

“The watershed district has created a mess because it rushed to dig up lands in a process that the courts have confirmed was unlawful,” said Peterson.  “Last winter we asked the Managers to stop work on the project until we got a final court ruling but they refused.”

The landowners are considering legal action against the District for illegal construction on their lands.

In the meantime, the Board of Managers of the District met Tuesday night to consider their next step in this controversial case.

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