A new water quality initiative aimed at protecting Minnesota's waters was signed into law in 2015 and further modified in 2016. The buffer installation will reduce erosion and pollution from runoff by establishing about 110,000 acres of buffers along Minnesota waterways.
A buffer is vegetated land adjacent to a stream, river, lake or wetland. Buffers help slow the flow of water and filter out phosphorous, nitrogen, and sediment, which are all pollutants that degrade water quality.
Buffer law requirements
The law includes the following requirements:
- Buffers an average of 50 feet and minimum of 30 feet must be installed along public waters by November 1, 2017
- Buffers a minimum of 16.5 feet must be installed on public drainage systems by November 1, 2018
- Buffers must be permanently vegetated and not contain noxious or prohibited weeds
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is overseeing implementation of the buffer law, and they are working on program development. Learn more about the buffer program.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources created buffer maps that will determine which waters are subject to the new requirements. Learn more about the buffer mapping project.
Staff are available to assist landowners with staking of buffers, enrolling in conservation programs, and determining what to plant in the required buffer area.
If you would like to request a validation of compliance for any reason, email or mail the validation of compliance form (DOCX) to Kirsten Barta at email@example.com or
Hennepin County Environment and Energy
Attn: Kirsten Barta
701 4th Ave S, Suite 700
Minneapolis, MN 55415
For more information
Contact Kirsten Barta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-543-3373 with questions or for more information.