MN Buffer Law

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: 

Mille Lacs Buffer Tracking Plan  was approved on November 14, 2018

Cover Crops

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

Related Content

No-Till Beans

No-Till Beans

Chris Carlson is a No-Till Master! Look at those beans planted in 2018 in Mille Lacs County!

read more
Livestock Water Quality Finished Project – Heavy Use Area

Livestock Water Quality Finished Project – Heavy Use Area

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
Cover Crop Information

Cover Crop Information

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

Looking to plant cover crops? Rent the No-Till Drill!

Learn about Renting Equipment

Looking for assistance to finance your project? Check out how we can help!

Learn About Financial Assistance

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.

Contact Us

If you are not able to find what you’re looking for or need more information about how we can help support your soil & water conservation projects, contact us!

Send Us A Message

Mille Lacs SWCD is located in the lower level of the Mille Lacs Historic Courthouse at 635 2nd Street SE in Milaca.

Phone: 320-983-2160

Follow Us!