The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently in the process of mapping the public waters and ditches that will be subject to the new buffer law, signed by Governor Mark Dayton in 2015.
Under the new law, 50-foot buffer strips must be installed on public waters by November 2017 and 16½-foot buffers on public ditches by November 2018.
It will be up to the state’s 90 county soil and water conservation districts to identify those waterways that need buffers. These districts will share $22 million from the Legacy Amendment’s Clean Water Fund for technical assistance costs. After the first two years, funding comes from the state’s general fund. Counties, watershed districts, or BWSR will be enforcing the new law
There is $33 million from the Clean Water Fund and the Outdoor Heritage Fund available for easements and other financial assistance to help landowners meet or exceed buffer requirements.
The federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and state Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program can provide annual or easement payments.
We look forward to working with land owners, as well as county and state agencies involved with implementing the buffer law.