The Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District is holding an informational meeting concerning the Buffer Law on August 23rd from 9 to 11 am in the board room at the Renville County Government Services Center, Room 117. Topics will include CRP/CREP updates, buffer deadlines and waivers, cost-share programs, and alternative practices. Almost $5 million dollars is now available to support landowners in meeting the requirements of Minnesota’s buffer law. 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. “We have several program changes and updates related to the buffer law to share with landowners and operators.” ~ Holly Hatlewick, Renville SWCD County Administrator 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.