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S.F. No. 1395 - Buffer Law Amendments (First Engrossment)
Author: Senator Torrey N. Westrom
Prepared By: Greg Knopff, Senate Analyst (651/296-9399)
Date: March 9, 2017


Section 1 [Administrative penalty order authority] removes the ability for counties and watershed districts to use administrative penalty orders (APOs) under the buffer law.

Section 2 [Soil loss ordinance rules] clarifies that BWSR’s soil loss ordinance implementation rules apply to local governments that adopt a soil loss ordinance.

Section 3 [Definition of public waters] provides that “public waters” for the purpose of the buffer law are those waters on the DNR’s public waters inventory with continuously flowing water for 12 months each year.

Section 4 [Buffer requirements; shoreline classification] provides that public waters without a shoreline classification are required to have a 16.5 foot minimum width continuous buffer, and moves the buffer requirement for public waters an additional two years to November 1, 2019, and for drainage ditches to November 1, 2020.  This section also requires seed mixes to be grown and processed in Minnesota for buffers to comply with the buffer law.  If the seed mix is unavailable to a landowner, enforcement actions may not be taken against the landowner.

Section 5 [Corrective actions; APO authority] removes all language relating to use of APO authority for buffer enforcement by counties and watershed districts.  This section also:

(1) removes the date when BWSR must be notified of jurisdiction by a county or watershed district; and

(2) requires state or federal assistance for 100 percent of the cost of the buffer and annual payments or an easment before corrective actions may be taken.


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