New Law Soon To Require Farmers To Add 50-Foot Buffer Between Crops and Public Lakes
ST. CLOUD -- A new state law is waiting for Governor Dayton's approval which will require farmers to install a 50-foot buffer between their crops and public lakes, streams and ditches.
A conservation buffer is an area of permanent vegetation that helps control pollutants and manage other environmental concerns before they hit the water.
Dennis Fuchs is the Administrator with the Stearns County Water and Soil Conservation District. He says there are several miles of rivers that will be affected by the new law.
"We're looking at about an additional 1,000 miles of streams and rivers that under the new law will require some type of buffer," says Fuchs.
He says at this point they are not sure if the new law will also affect private lakes and ponds which may be on a farmers land.
If it does it may cause some farmers to loose acres for planting crops, which he says there are some programs in place which should help cover the financial cost.
"We are hoping we can use those dollars to help offset any potential loss in crop production from these buffers that need to be installed," says Fuchs.
The law is still waiting signature from Governor Dayton, who could still make changes to it or veto the law.
Fuchs says if all goes well the DNR will begin mapping out what area water ways will need the new buffer requirements and have it fully implemented in the next few years.
"The way it looks right now, the DNR was going to provide the Soil Water Conservation Districts and partners a map of what needs to be done and where and then we can move forward with the programs and the land owners impacted and hopefully have the buffers installed by 2017," says Fuchs.
The new law also requires a stronger enforcement to the 16 1/2 buffer for public ditches which is already in place.