Deadlines are Nov. 1, 2017 and Nov. 1, 2018

    Almost $5 million is now available to support landowners in meeting the requirements of Minnesota’s buffer law, says Nicole Bernd of the West Polk County & Water Conservation District office in Crookston.  

    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.  

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

    For more information on the buffer law, including the cost-share program, contact West Polk Soil and Water Conservation District 218-281-6070 ext 4 or visit the BWSR webpage at www.bwsr.state.mn.us/buffers.