Request for Comment
- Notice of Request for Comment on a Proposed Policy and Plan for the Implementation of the Minnesota Buffer Program
- Policy 9: BWSR's Review of County and Watershed District Buffer Rules, Ordinances and Official Controls
- Administrative Penalty Order (APO) Plan for Buffer Law Implementation
2016 Buffer Law Amendments
The Buffer Law that was signed into law by Governor Dayton in June 2015 was amended by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dayton on April 25, 2016. These amendments provide clarifications to several provisions of the law, including the buffer requirement by ensuring it only applies to public waters and public ditches and compliance and enforcement responsibilities and processes. Additional details on these changes are provided in the documents below.
- 2015 Buffer Law as amended in 2016 (Laws of Minnesota 2016, Chapter 85)
- 2016 Buffer Law Amendments - Summary and Overview
- Laws of Minnesota 2016, Chapter 85
Buffer and Soil Loss Program Updates
March 16, 2017
February 21, 2017
Program Updates Archive
Buffer Program Alternative Practices New!
Buffer Program Implementation Guidance
Additional Implementation Guidance is under development. Please check back regularly for updates and new documents.
- Key Program Dates
- Grazing and Haying of Buffers
- Local Development and Inclusion of Summary Watercourses "Other Watercourses"
- Buffer Measurement for a Public Drainage Ditch
- Average Width Buffers
- Compliance Determinations
- Conservation Reserve Program Exemption Guidance
- Determining Top or Crown of a Bank
- What to Plant in Buffers New!
- Vegetative Establishment Goals
- Determining Normal Water Level
Buffer Program Implementation
The BWSR Board approved the following Buffer Program policies to guide implementation of the program:
- Policy 1: Compliance Determinations (Parcel and Bank Approach) (August 25, 2016)
- Policy 2: Reporting and Progress Tracking (August 25, 2016)
- Policy 3: MS4 Exemption (August 25, 2016)
- Policy 4: Alternative Practices Implementation (August 25, 2016)
- Policy 5: Other Alternative Practices Approved by the Board (August 25, 2016)
- Policy 6: Local Water Resources Riparian Protection (“Other watercourses) (August 25, 2016)
- Policy 7: Failure to Implement (Amended to replace Board Resolution 15-95 (August 25, 2016)
- Policy 8: Election of Jurisdiction (January 25, 2017)
Buffer Program Implementation Forms
Buffer Compliance and Tracking Tool
Links to the Buffer Compliance and Tracking Tool and associated guidance can be found here.
- Buffer Compliance and Tracking Tool Sign-in Page
- BuffCAT Video Guidance
- BuffCAT Buffer and Draw Tool Video Guidance
- BuffCAT Collector for ArcGIS Video Guidance
- BuffCAT Guidance for ArcMap and Downloading Data
- BuffCAT Written Guidance
- Buffer Compliance Reporting Requirement Data Standards
- BuffCAT Compliance Tracking Fields
Excessive Soil Loss Program Implementation
- Buffer and Soil Loss Program Comments Received, April/May 2016
- Buffer and Soil Loss Program Implementation Planning
- Preliminary Schedule
Why is this important?
A new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency study found that few southwest Minnesota waters meet swimmable, fishable standards.
The Buffer Initiative web page and the information contained here is a collaboration with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource. The state departments of Agriculture and the Pollution Control Agency were also instrumental in formulating this initiative, a process that involved consultation with stakeholder groups, counties and other local governments.
Local Government Resources
Governor Mark Dayton’s new landmark buffer initiative was recently signed into law, designating an estimated 110,000 acres of land for water quality buffer strips statewide. The law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams, and ditches that will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment. The new law provides flexibility and financial support for landowners to install and maintain buffers, and boost compliance with buffer laws across Minnesota.
- 2016 Buffer Law Amendments
- Buffer and Soil Loss Program Updates
- Buffer Program Alternative Practices
- Buffer Program Implementation Guidance
- Buffer Program Implemention
- Buffer Compliance and Tracking Tool
- Excessive Soil Loss Program Implementation
- Local Governement Resources
- Landowner Resources
- Legislative Background