Earlier this week the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced it was removing 640 stream miles from the public waters inventory. Actually, that was done about three months ago, but it became news this week when some environmental groups filed an appeal with the DNR. They do not believe the DNR should have removed these stream miles from the public waters inventory. These 640 stream miles are very small compared to all the stream miles in Minnesota, but some of those are in Rice County.

When the DNR was looking at the public waters inventory and updating the maps for implementing Minnesota's new buffer law, it discovered the proper procedures were not followed in the 1980s. I was wondering what impact this would have on implementing Minnesota's new buffer law. I talked with Warren Formo, executive director of the Minnesota Agriculture Resource Center. We are only about 130 days from the deadline for having the buffer strips installed. Now we seem to have more confusion.

Formo said this does cause more uncertainty among landowners, and even local governmental agencies. However, the DNR will very soon begin the process to have these 640 stream miles included in the public waters inventory again, this time using the proper procedures. It would seem if it looked like you were going to need a buffer strip before you will likely still need one.

The key is to stay in contact with your Soil and Water Conservation District in your county. While the Minnesota Legislature did not delay the implementation of the buffer law, a grace period was included. If you are in contact with your Soil and Water Conservation District and have a plan, you have until July 1, 2018, to install the required buffer strip.

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