Landowners have new options to meet Buffer Law requirements

Funds available to soil and water conservation districts for implementation of buffer law

Almost $5 million dollars is now available to support landowners in meeting the requirements of Minnesota’s buffer law.

Funds distributed to soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) 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.”

These plans need to be filed with local SWCD by Nov. 1, 2017. Compliance waivers offer a buffer deadline extension until July 1, 2018.

“Over 70 percent of the affected parcels in Rock County are currently in compliance with the buffer law,” said Arlyn Gehrke of the Rock County Land Management Office.

“The eight-month extension option will allow remaining buffer areas to be seeded in the spring of 2018 and still comply with the law.”

The state buffer law requires a buffer on public waters by Nov. 1, 2017, and a buffer on public drainage ditches by Nov. 1, 2018.

For more information on the buffer law, including the cost-share program, contact the Rock County Land Management Office and Soil and Water Conservation District at 507-283-8862.

Information is also available at bwsr.state.mn.us/buffers.

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