DNR Buffer Map Update!

Click on the link above to learn more about where the DNR is at with creating the Official State Buffer Map

The benefits from buffer strips in agricultural areas include:
Water quality.
• Protects and improves water quality.
• Reduces soil erosion.
• Reduces nitrogen and phosphorus loading.

Stream protection. Buffer vegetation helps stabilize a stream by reducing stream bank erosion. Buffers that provide a shaded environment along a stream help moderate water temperature, which improves conditions for cold water fish species.

Habitat enhancement.
• Restores wildlife habitat.
• Increases wildlife populations.
• Improves hunting and fishing.

How do Buffers help?
  • Slow water runoff
  • Trap sediment and dust
  • Trap fertilizers and pesticides
  • Protect wildlife and livestock from harsh weather
  • Reduce winds, noise and odors
  • Provide food, nesting cover and shelter for many wildlife species
  • Increase privacy and beautify the countryside
Where are Buffers needed?
  • Along streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands
  • Next to roads and driveways
  • Along parking lots
  • Along and in agricultural fields
  • Around residential and commercial property
  • Any other area that can serve to filter runoff and pollutants before they reach a water body

Where can farmers find assistance?

Farmers may find information related to installing and funding buffer strips by contacting our office.

Information about funding through the  Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is  available from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) web site: www.nrcs.usda.gov
For more information on drainage ditch buffers, see the Board of Water and Soil Resources website for a copy of the 2006 Public Drainage Ditch Buffer Study  www.bwsr.state.mn.us

Buffer Bill Common ?'s and Answers....

Conservation buffers are best described as strips or other areas of land in permanent vegetation that help control pollutants and manage other environmental concerns. Filter strips, riparian buffers (predominantly trees and shrubs next to water courses), field borders, grassed waterways, field windbreaks, and contour grass strips are all examples of conservation buffers.

Buffers can be especially helpful to you in maintaining a productive, profitable, and responsible farming or ranching operation. Today, America's farms and ranches do more than produce crops and livestock. They play an important role in maintaining the environmental quality enjoyed by all citizens. Conservation buffers can help you protect soil, air, and water quality and improve fish and wildlife habitat...while you demonstrate your commitment to land stewardship.

Types of Buffers

  • Riparian Buffers

  • Filter Strips

  • Grassed Waterways

  • Contour Grass Strip

  • Field Borders

  • Field Windbreaks

What are Minnesota’s requirements for buffers?

Listed below are the requirements for buffers under the shoreland management rules and the drainage law. Both of these sets of rules are managed by local governmental units:

  • In shoreland districts, agricultural areas adjacent to lakes, rivers, and streams require a buffer strip of  permanent vegetation that is 50 feet wide unless the areas are part of a resource management system plan.
  • For any new ditches or ditch improvements, the land adjacent to public ditches must include a buffer strip of permanent vegetation that is usually 1-rod (16.5-foot) wide on each side.

For details on law changes in 2007, see Minnesota Statute 103E.021.

Vegetation buffers are strips of land with permanent vegetation designed to intercept storm water runoff and minimize soil erosion. Buffers can reduce the amount of sediment and pollutants carried by runoff to nearby lakes, wetlands, or streams. Soil particles accumulating as sediment in a lake can suffocate organisms and reduce sunlight needed by aquatic life. Sediment often carries pollutants such as phosphorus, a nutrient used in fertilizer. These nutrients cause excessive growth of algae and aquatic plants, deplete the oxygen level of water, and degrade water quality. Soil microbes and grass in buffer strips, however, can facilitate the transformation and uptake of these pollutants,thus protecting surface water resources.

Benefits of buffers to farmers and natural resources
Farmers use buffer strips and other best management practices, such as winter cover crops, to help control soil erosion on their land. Buffers help trap snow and reduce wind erosion of topsoil. The benefits of buffers to farmers include reduced flood damage to crops, reduced erosion and sediment loss, and reduced ditch maintenance costs. In addition, buffer strips can eliminate end rows and provide turn areas for farmers’ machinery during fieldwork.

Why are Buffer Strips needed to protect Soil, Water, and Habitat?


"To Promote Conservation of Natural Resources through Education, Technical Assistance, & Stewardship."


8:00am to 4:30pm  Monday - Friday

Phone: 507-825-1185

Fax: 507-825-6782


Pipestone County Conservation & Zoning

119 2nd Ave. S.W. Suite #13

Pipestone, MN 56164