Buffer Law

In June of 2015, Governor Dayton signed into law a new buffer initiative aimed at enhancing protection of Minnesota’s waters.  The buffer initiative will help protect the state’s water resources from erosion and runoff pollution by establishing roughly 110,000 acres of buffer along waterways.

"Meeker SWCD is ready to provide technical assistance to any county landowner looking to install conservation practices on their land," Matt Anderson, Conservation Technician, said.  "We can help walk you through the process, applying for funding, and be an ongoing resource for establishing buffers and other conservation practices."

Click here to view the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) buffer map.

Requirements of the Buffer Law
Public Waters

  • Require a 50-foot average width, 30-foot minimum width continuous buffer of perennially rooted vegetation.
  • Buffers are measured from the top or crown of the bank.  Where there is no defined bank, measurement must be from the edge of the normal water level.
  • Buffers must be in place by November 1, 2017.

Public Drainage Systems

  • Requires a minimum of 16.5 feet of buffer.
  • Buffers are measured from the top or crown of the bank.
  • Buffers must be in place by November 1, 2018.

Landowners can submit a Parcel Specific Compliance Plan for an extension of the deadline on installation of buffers on public waters.  The plan needs to be submitted on the required form to the SWCD on or before November 1, 2017.  Contact Matt Anderson at meeker SWCD for more information.

There are numerous options for landowners to stay in compliance with the Buffer Law:
  • Voluntary planting of perennial vegetation for hay, pasture, wildlife habitat . . .
  • Conservation set aside programs like Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve, CRP . . .
  • Meeting the requirements of and enrolling in the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) . . .
  • Buffer Cost-Share.
Meeker SWCD Monitoring Plan for Buffer Compliance Tracking