Minnesota’s Complex Buffer Law Continues to Evolve

May 1, 2017

Soybean Business Magazine, Minnesota Soybean (May 2017)—In June, 2015, the Minnesota legislature enacted the Riparian Protection and Water Quality Practice law, the so-called buffer law. The first-of-its-kind law affects an estimated 110,000 acres of land, much of it farmland, and represents one of the most sweeping environmental regulations directly affecting Minnesota’s farmers.

In general, the law requires that landowners maintain buffers around certain waterways in the state. The buffers must consist of perennial vegetation that protects the water from runoff, stabilizes soils, shores and banks and protects riparian corridors. Around “public waters,” landowners must maintain buffers with a 50-foot average width. Around public drainage systems, landowners must maintain buffers with a 16.5 foot minimum width.

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