West Otter Tail Soil & Water Conservation District Provides Buffer Legislation Update


Fergus Falls, Minn— In June of this year, Governor Dayton signed into law a new buffer initiative

aimed at enhancing protection of Minnesota’s waters. The buffer initiative will help protect the

state’s water resources from erosion and runoff pollution.

The new law generated a significant amount of interest, and landowners likely have many questions

about how it will impact their property. The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, which will

oversee the process, is working to get program details underway. The new law specifies November

2017 as the deadline for establishment of 50-foot wide buffers on public waters and November 2018

for 16.5-foot wide buffers on public drainage systems.

Otter Tail County is already underway with assisting landowners to move in direction of 100%

voluntary compliance via the Otter Tail County Buffer Initiative. West Otter Tail Soil and Water

Conservation District (SWCD), in partnership with Otter Tail County and East Otter Tail SWCD, are

currently inventorying and mapping areas adjacent to Otter Tail County’s public waters that may be

lacking the required 50-foot continuous buffer of perennially rooted vegetation.

“West Otter Tail SWCD is ready to provide technical assistance to any county resident looking to

install conservation practices on their land,” Brad Mergens, District Manager, said. “We can help walk

you through the process, apply for funding, and be an ongoing resource for establishing buffers and

other conservation practices.”

For more information about the Governor’s buffer law, please visit: http://bwsr.state.mn.us/buffers/.

For more information about the Otter Tail Buffer Initiative, please contact West Otter Tail SWCD at

(218) 739-4694 ext. 4 or East Otter Tail SWCD at (218) 346-4260 ext. 3.

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