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Buffer Program

Policy 10: BWSR Administrative Penalty Order - Working Draft


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.

Buffer and Soil Loss Program Updates

March 16, 2017

February 21, 2017

February 2, 2017

November 29, 2016

September 1, 2016

Program Updates Archive

Buffer Compliance and Tracking Tool

Links to the Buffer Compliance and Tracking Tool and associated guidance can be found here.


Buffer Program Implementation Guidance

Additional Implementation Guidance is under development. Please check back regularly for updates and new documents.

Buffer Program Implementation:

The BWSR Board approved the following Buffer Program policies to guide implementation of the program:


Excessive Soil Loss Program Implementation

Supporting Documents:

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

Buffer Establishment and Management Toolbox »

How do buffers work? »

Legislative Background

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.

Buffer Legislation at a Glance  »

Buffer Legislative Language  »

Buffer Initiative Common Questions and Answers  »

Mixed Woods Ecoregion

Northeastern Minnesota

The best buffer conditions are in the Northern and Northeastern sections of the state. More than 90 percent of the shorelines have good, or very good buffers already in place.

Mixed Woods Plains Ecoregion

East-Central Minnesota

Almost 90 percent of the shorelines in Central and East Central Minnesota have good or very good buffers in place.

Prairies Ecoregion

South and Western Minnesota

The greatest opportunity to improve buffers is in the South and West where about half the shorelines have good or very good buffer coverage in place.

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

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