Water quality buffer protection of lakes, rivers, streams and ditches

In June of 2015, Governor Dayton signed into law the buffer initiative aimed at enhancing the protection of Minnesota’s waters. The Buffer Law requires that perennial vegetation buffers (16.5 to 50 feet) be maintained along lakes, rivers, streams and ditches to help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment that could pollute water resources. The law provides flexibility and financial support for landowners to install and maintain buffers.

Landowners likely have many questions about how this new law will impact their property. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources oversees the process and is providing information to landowners:

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has completed its Buffer Mapping Project that determines what waters are subject to the new law. There are less than 200 properties across Anoka County that lack the buffer required by the Buffer Law.

DNR Surface Water Buffer Map (Anoka Co.)

Anoka County Portion of the Buffer Map (MN Dept. of Natural Resources)

Landowners are encouraged to establish buffers with the advice of the Anoka Conservation District or their local building official.

The Buffer Law specifies November 2017 as the deadline for establishment of 50-foot wide buffers on public waters (e.g. lakes, rivers and streams) and November 2018 for 16.5-foot wide buffers on public drainage systems (e.g. County ditches).

Anoka County Water Quality Buffers. The Anoka Conservation District (ACD) has surveyed public waters inventorying adjacent land to determine the properties that may lack sufficient buffer (perennial vegetation). ACD will contact property owners and provide technical assistance to help them comply with the Buffer Law. For more information contact Jared Wagner at 763-434-2030 x18 (jared.wagner@anokaswcd.org).

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