Q: Where is the 16.5 or 50 feet measured from?

  1. The top of the bank or the normal water level if there is no defined bank.


Q: What type of management is required?

  1. Weeds must be controlled on the buffers.


Q: Where can I find reputable seed vendors or equipment to plant my buffer?

  1. Visit the Renville SWCD for a list of approved vendors for buffer seeding and installation.


Q: Can I graze or hay the buffer?

  1. Yes, if the landowner establishes the buffer themselves or with Buffer State Cost-Share, they are allowed to hay or graze. Actions cannot eliminate perennial vegetation. Land in conservation easements may not be grazed.


Q: Can the buffer location change with ditch maintenance?

  1. Temporary placement for drying soil and reshaping is allowed for ditch maintenance if it is authorized by a government entity, perennial vegetation is reestablished, and measures to minimize soil loss are used.


Q: What is the penalty for not having the required buffer?

  1. If a landowner fails to install buffers on identified waters, the government entity with jurisdiction may issue an order requiring the violation to be corrected. Fines for non-compliance will increase over time.


Q: Are their waivers for the compliance deadlines?

  1. Waivers for the public water deadline November 1, 2017 exist for hardship or enrollment into conservation programs.


Q: How will buffers affect the tax value of my land?

  1. Reassessment of land value will be on a county by county basis.


Q: In Renville County, how will buffers affect the tax value of my land?

  1. All non-cost share buffers will be reassessed if it is on a public waterway or the buffer surpasses the existing 66 feet set aside for the width of public ditches.

    1. The reassessment will be a value reduction up to no value.

  2. If the buffer is placed in a perpetual easement the required buffer will be valued as hunting land.

  3. If the buffer is placed in CRP it will be valued as tillable land


Q: In Renville County will I have to pay for a reassessment?

  1. No, the county assessor is planning on reassessing all land countywide affected by the buffer law.


What are the Options for Private Landowners under the MN Buffer Law?

  1. You may plant the required buffer on your own

    1. It must be established perennial vegetation

      1. Native vegetation is suggested as it is adapted to the climate

      2. Alfalfa may meet the requirements if proper practices are followed

    2. You are required to plant either a 16.5ft buffer or 50ft buffer

      1. See the official MN DNR map for waterway designation

    3. You must control weeds on the buffer

    4. You may graze or hay the buffer if it is not in a cost-share program such as CRP, CSP, RIM, etc. and if the buffer retains perennial vegetation

  2. Enroll your land into a cost-share conservation program

    1.  The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

      1. Is a 10-15 year contract

      2. The minimum width for CRP is 30 feet, the maximum width for CRP is 120 feet

      3. It must be planted with an approved mix of native grass

      4. No haying or grazing is allowed on CRP land

    2. The CREP program (RIM + CRP)

      1. Is a 15 year CRP contract followed by a perpetual easement

      2. The minimum width for a perpetual easement is 50 feet

      3. It must be planted with an approved mix of native grass

  3. Install or use an alternative practice

    1. The local SWCD can validate alternative practices

    2. The SWCD will determine if the alternative practice meets the requirements

  4. Renville County received $75,000 for buffer establishment and will be available in a state cost-share program.

If you have any questions regarding conservation programs or need help determining the buffer width required along your ditch or waterway, please feel free to contact the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District at 320-523-1559 or visit our website for a link to the DNR buffer map.

Buffer Law

Questions & Answers

Notice the lack of sediment in the buffered ditch on the left.  The photo on the right has no buffer.

Renville Soil & Water Conservation District

1008 W. Lincoln Ave. 

Olivia, MN 56277

Phone: (320) 523-1559

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