Buffer Mapping

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$100,000
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$325,000
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$325,000
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Status
In Progress
Activity Type
Analysis/Interpretation
Digitization/Online Information Access
Mapping
Counties Affected
Statewide
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Regular Session, Ch. 91, Art. 2, Sec. 6(i)
Appropriation Language

$100,000 the first year and $100,000 the second year are for maintenance and updates to buffer maps and for technical guidance on buffer map interpretation to local units of government for implementation of buffer requirements. Maps must be provided to local units of government and made available to landowners on the Department of Natural Resources' Web site.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$100,000
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

The DNR will publish an updated buffer map in August 2017. Local government staff from across the state will continue reviewing the map and submitting comments for DNR review. DNR staff will make requested changes consistent with buffer law and buffer map criteria. They will update the map as needed to incorporate changes in some of the underlying data (public waters inventory and public ditch data). Finally, the DNR will work with the MN Board of Water and Soil Resources and local governments to ensure consistent decisions on the buffer map comment review and buffer implementation for “farmed through” locations.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, First Special Session, Ch. 2, Art. 2, Sec. 6(i)
Appropriation Language

(i) $325,000 the first year and $325,000 the second year are for analysis and mapping in each county related to compliance with riparian buffer or alternate practice requirements and to provide statewide coordination and guidance to local units of government for implementation of buffer requirements. Maps must be provided to local units of government and made available to landowners on the Department of Natural Resources' Web site.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$325,000
Direct expenses
$287,518
Administration costs
$34,357
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.2
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY17, the DNR will publish updated versions of the buffer map in November and February. Local government staff from across the state will continue reviewing the map and submitting comments for DNR review. DNR staff will make requested changes that are consistent with buffer law and buffer map criteria. They will also update the map as needed to incorporate changes in some of the underlying data (public waters inventory and public ditch data). Finally, DNR field staff will conduct detailed reviews of special situations where public watercourses were previously relocated, placed in drain tile, or farmed through. Several hundred of these situations were identified by landowners and local government staff in FY16 and the DNR anticipates many more being identified as local reviews of the map continue. The DNR’s review of these special situations may result in removing the state buffer requirement from the map in some of these areas.

Measurable Outcome(s)

The DNR published updated versions of the buffer map in November 2016, February 2017, and May 2017. The map was updated in May to reflect a significant change in the underlying public waters data. Local government staff continued to review the map and enter geographically-specific comments on behalf of landowners. The buffer map review application was updated to provide the decision and rationale for every change request received, whether accepted for a map change or not. DNR field staff conducted over 600 detailed reviews of special situations where public watercourses were previously relocated, placed in drain tile, or farmed through. The local government staff change requests and the DNR’s review of special situations resulted in 1,380 corrections to the map.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, First Special Session, Ch. 2, Art. 2, Sec. 6(i)
Appropriation Language

(i) $325,000 the first year and $325,000 the second year are for analysis and mapping in each county related to compliance with riparian buffer or alternate practice requirements and to provide statewide coordination and guidance to local units of government for implementation of buffer requirements. Maps must be provided to local units of government and made available to landowners on the Department of Natural Resources' Web site.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$325,000
Direct expenses
$284,299
Administration costs
$33,759
Number of full time equivalents funded
1.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16, the DNR will make significant progress in developing buffer protection maps that describe where buffers are legally required on water bodies in Minnesota. We will set criteria for which waters will be included on the buffer protection map according to the requirements in the 2015 buffer law (M.L. 2015, SP1, Ch.4, Art. 4) and 2016 amendments (M.L. 2016, Ch. 85). The map will be developed in partnership with counties, cities, watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, and other drainage authorities. We will create a map viewer that shows existing public waters inventory and DNR-assigned shoreland classifications on the map and make an initial map available online. See http://arcgis.dnr.state.mn.us/gis/buffersviewer/. The DNR will coordinate with drainage authorities to incorporate local information about public drainage ditches into the buffer protection map. We will make the draft buffer protection map available for review and comments through local governments, which will work with us to ensure accuracy and designations on the final map. We will complete the map in summer 2016 and provide updates in fall 2016 and winter 2017.

Measurable Outcome(s)

In FY16 the DNR developed buffer map criteria and created a preliminary map showing buffer requirements for all 87 counties. The map was based on DNR public waters inventory and shoreland classification data and public ditch data provided by over 90 drainage authorities. The DNR developed an interactive web-based map viewer (see http://arcgis.dnr.state.mn.us/gis/buffersviewer/) that allows local government staff to review the map and enter geographically specific comments. Local government staff reviewed the preliminary map and made 2603 comments, resulting in 1450 map corrections. The total number of riparian buffers mapped is 145,113, including over 106,000 miles of public watercourses and public ditches and nearly 39,000 miles of lake and wetland shorelines. The map was published on July 12, 2016.

Project Overview

Governor Mark Dayton's landmark buffer initiative was signed into law in 2015. The law establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams, and ditches that will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment. The new law provides flexibility and financial support for landowners to install and maintain buffers.The DNR's role in Minnesota's new buffer law is to produce a statewide map of public waters and public ditches that require permanent vegetation buffers. The DNR is scheduled to produce these maps by July 2016.

About the Issue

A buffer is an area of perennial vegetation adjacent to a body of water. Studies show that buffers are critical to protecting and restoring water quality and healthy aquatic life, natural stream functions and aquatic habitat. With the passage of the 2015 buffer law, buffers will be required on public waters as well as public ditches. The DNR will establish and maintain a statewide map that shows the waters that are subject to the buffer requirements. Other waters may be subject to local requirements identified by Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Project Manager
First Name
Steve
Last Name
Colvin
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Street Address
500 Lafayette Road
City
Saint Paul
Zip Code
55155
Phone
651-259-5709
Email
Steve.Colvin@state.mn.us