Minnesota’s buffer law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along lakes, rivers, and streams and buffers of 16.5 feet along ditches. These buffers will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment. The deadline for implementation for buffers on public waters is November 1, 2017. The deadline for public ditches is November 1, 2018. The law provides flexibility for landowners to install alternative practices with equivalent water quality benefits that are based on the Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Office Technical Guide.
What is a Buffer?
A buffer, also known as a riparian filter strip, is vegetated land adjacent to a stream, river, lake or wetland. Buffers help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment, and are an important conservation practice for helping keep water clean. Studies by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency show that buffers are critical to protecting and restoring water quality and healthy aquatic life, natural stream functions and aquatic habitat due to their immediate proximity to the water.
This information above is from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources: https://mn.gov/portal/natural-resources/buffer-law/
Cover Crops are plants seeded into agricultural fields with a purpose of improving the environment in which they are planted as well as surrounding natural resources. Cover crops are planted within or outside of the growing season and can be economically and environmentally benificial to a landowner’s operation.
Benefits of Cover Crops:
- Increase soil biodiversity
- Reduces soil erosion and nutrients loss
- Creates wildlife habitat
- Increases soil organic matter
- Increases water holding capacity
- Retains nutrients that may be lost due to leaching and runoff
- Reduces soil compaction
- Puts Nitrogen into the ground by fixation (turning inorganic N into organic N)
- Combat weeds
- Provides grazing opportunities
Heavy Use Area Before and After. This site has a 4,000 square foot roof that runs straight into a feedlot area. The water created harsh wet/muddy conditions within the feedlot. The excess water flowed out of the feedlot caring nutrients with it. Next to the building...read more
Heavy Use Animal Trail Before and After. The landowner was having a hard time getting his cattle across the area. The cattle were sinking deep into the mud. It got to the point where the landowner had to stop grazing the pastures on the far side. The animal trail...read more
Purpose/Goal: To demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of incorporating strip tillage into a farming operation under Mille Lacs County soil conditions and thereby justifying landowners adopt the technology. By demonstrating different cover...read more
MN Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program
MN Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is a voluntary program that helps farmers and landowners do everything they can to keep protection our state’s stream, rivers, and lakes.
This video is from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.