August 2015 Ditch Buffer Landowner Letter:
During the 2015 special legislative session, Governor Dayton signed into law a new Buffer Initiative. The new law establishes vegetative buffers on public waters/streams and along county ditches.
The buffer law timeline is as follows:
- Public waters – buffers established by November 1, 2017
- Country drainage systems – buffers established by November 1, 2018
Widths for buffers are as follows:
- County ditches – 16.5’
- DNR public waters (lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands) – 50’
1. Compliance Tracking of All Parcels Subject to the Buffer Law
All parcels in the Le Sueur county are to be reviewed within a 3 year timeframe. These checks may be conducted via aerial photo review or on-site review depending on availability of updated aerial photos and the practice that is being checked/access to farms.
2. Random Spot Checks
Random spot checks will be done in addition to the tracking of all parcels within a 3 year span. These checks may be conducted via aerial photo review or on-site review depending on availability of updated aerial photos and the practice that is being checked/access to farms. A combination of both aerial and on-site review may also be used. Le Sueur County will be conduct 5% of parcels in a random spot check every year. Additionally, Le Sueur County will review parcels of emphasis more frequently. These include:
- Previously non-compliant
- No-till/Conservation tillage or cover crop alternative practice plans
- Variable width buffers (i.e. Land O’ Lakes buffer tool, Decision Support Tool)
- Other Alternative Practice Plans
- Cost-share funded projects
- Parcels of further emphasis
3. Process to Handle Complaints
Le Sueur County will review any violation complaints from the public and other agencies. Le Sueur County will maintain a record of this complaint and determine if the complaint requires further investigation. If a violation is found the County will follow the le Sueur County Buffer law Ordinance and notify BWSR.