County landowners 93 percent compliant on buffer strips

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Ditch buffer strips are meant to filter out sediments and pollutants before they enter the rivers, streams and lakes.

June 30 is SWCD’s ‘unofficial’ deadline for compliance


By Reed Anfinson
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County landowners are now 93 percent compliant with the Minnesota buffer law, Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Manager Andy Albertson told county commissioners at their meeting Feb. 19.

State law required buffers of at least 30 feet wide, and an average of 50 feet wide, to be installed along the state’s public streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands by Nov. 1. Starting Nov. 1, 2018, 16.5-foot buffers must be installed on public ditches.

These buffers are intended to help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment that run off the land.

“There is a list that has been developed of landowners we haven’t heard from, or that we have heard from and we are waiting to follow up with to see if they were able to get their buffers seeded,” he said.

Through the process of over 100 phone calls the SWCD was able to weed that list down quite substantially, he said.

There are a few landowners for whom it was just too wet of a fall so they  plan on planting their buffers this spring, Albertson said.

“There are 35 landowners, with 50 parcels, that we have reached out to and are waiting to hear if they seeded their buffers down this past fall or if they plan on doing it this spring,” he told commissioners. “If you take people for their word and Mother Nature cooperates with us, hopefully we will be in the upper 90th percentile for buffer compliance come summertime.”

Albertson is looking at June 30 as the cut off date for landowners to come into compliance with the state’s buffer law. There is no state deadline in place. The end of June is also the end of the CRP planting window, he said.

After the June 30 Swift County internal deadline, Albertson will see if there is any enforcement action the county has to get involved with, he said....


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Pictured: Ditch buffer strips are meant to filter out sediments and pollutants before they enter the rivers, streams and lakes.


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