Minnesota Buffer Law


Minnesota's buffer law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50-feet along public lakes, rivers and streams and buffers of 16.5-feet along ditches. These buffers will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment before entering the water. The deadline for buffers on publics waters is November 1, 2017 and the deadline for ditches is November 1, 2018. The law provides flexibility for landowners to install alternative practices with equivalent benefits that are based on the Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Office Technical Guide.

Buffer Cost Share and Extension

Almost $5 million dollars is now available to support landowners in meeting the requirements of Minnesota’s buffer law. The buffer cost-share program funds were approved at the June meeting of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). These Clean Water Funds, passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton at the end of the 2017 legislative session, provide important support to the Governor’s Buffer Initiative.

The funds will be distributed to soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) and are to be used for cost-sharing contracts with landowners or their authorized agents to implement riparian buffers or alternative practices on public waters and public drainage ditches.

The 2017 legislation also recognizes that some landowners may have hardships (such as weather) in meeting the public waters deadline. The added language allows for an eight-month extension for implementation when a landowner or authorized agent has filed a riparian protection “compliance plan” with their local SWCD by November 1, 2017. Compliance waivers offer a buffer deadline extension until July 1, 2018.
state buffer law requires a buffer on public waters by November 1, 2017 and a buffer on public drainage ditches by November 1, 2018.
more information on the buffer law, including the cost-share program.

If you are intersted in signing up for cost share and/or the extension, pleas contact the SWCD office.

For more detailed information on  buffers and alternative practices, please click on the link below.




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