Almost $5 million dollars is now available to support landowners throughout Minnesota in meeting the requirements of Minnesota’s buffer law. $24,000 has been allocated to Meeker County to provide cost share assistance to landowners to plant buffers.
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 will be used for cost-sharing with landowners or their authorized agents to implement riparian buffers or alternative practices on public waters and public drainage ditches. Landowners in Meeker County are encouraged to contact Matt Anderson at Meeker SWCD if they are interested in pursuing financial assistance to put their buffers in place.
The 2017 legislation also recognizes that some landowners may have hardships (such as weather) in meeting the public waters deadline. Language also 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 before November 1, 2017. Compliance waivers offer a buffer deadline extension until July 1, 2018. Anderson stresses that extensions are not automatic. Contact him to complete the proper paperwork for an extension waiver.
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 Matt Anderson at Meeker SWCD, 320-535-3079.