One Month Before Buffer Law Goes Into Effect, State Officials Tout Progress

October 05, 2017 06:55 PM

Almost one month before a new law aimed at keeping Minnesota's waterways clean goes into effect, nearly all of the state's landowners are already in compliance, state officials said Thursday.

The law, which requires farmers to have up to a 50-foot buffer strip of perennial vegetation between their fields and public waterways, goes into effect Nov. 1.


RELATED: Dayton Fends Off Attacks on Buffer Strips, Environment Board

It's meant to stop phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment from getting into the state's water. And so far, statewide compliance on public waters is at 94 percent, officials said.

"We are a headwater state, and we have literally a moral obligation to make sure that the water that leaves this state is as clean as we possibly can," Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said. "And so we'll have bragging rights on buffer strips all across the nation."

Originally signed into law in 2015, the requirement concerned many farmers worried about cost and implementation. As a result, Gov. Mark Dayton signed another bill into law in 2016. designed to provide more flexibility for landowners.

If land owners can't meet the deadline, they can now commit to a compliance plan and get an extension until November of 2018.

That's when another part of the law kicks in, and public ditches will be required to have buffers as well.


Josh Rosenthal

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