Changes in the Law
Recent changes in statute have focused attention on BWSR’s responsibilities in working with local governments to address excessive soil loss. During the 2015 legislative regular and 1st special sessions the law was changed by:
- repealing the requirement that the law is only applicable with a local government ordinance (§103F.451)
- changing local enforcement provisions and revising the requirements for state cost-share of corrective conservation practices (§103F.421), and
- creating specific Administrative Penalty Order (APO) authority for counties to enforce the law (§103B.101).
In response to the changes in statute, BWSR adopted draft guidance in 2016 and initiated a rulemaking process in 2017. After receiving input from counties, agricultural interests, and other stakeholders, the Board has determined that there are differing interpretations of the revised statute, and that further action on rules or guidance should be put on hold pending further consultation with stakeholders and partners on the most effective ways to address excessive soil loss.
Board Rescinds 2016 Resolution on Soil Loss Guidance and Rulemaking
At its October 25, 2018 meeting, the Board of Water and Soil Resources rescinded Resolution 16-32. The resolution, adopted on May 25, 2016, established interim guidance for agency staff and local governments to use when responding to complaints of excessive soil loss, and directed staff to initiate a rulemaking process.
Board Resolution 18-63 (pdf), which rescinds the prior resolution, directs staff to continue seeking input from counties, soil and water conservation districts, and other stakeholders on alternatives for local options to address excessive soil loss. The Buffers, Soils and Drainage Committee is directed to report back to the Board annually on the status of this effort.
Soil Loss Resources
Background Paper: MN Statutes Chapter 103F Soil Erosion Law: History, Perspectives and Recommendations (pdf) (2014). This paper framed questions and comments around Minnesota’s present soil erosion law and suggested some possible approaches toward a retooled agriculture soil loss control law.
Model Ordinance for Agricultural Erosion Control (pdf) This model ordinance was originally developed in 1994 and updated in 2014. BWSR is currently working on another update of the model ordinance to correct some references and improve readability.