as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 04/06/2016 12:55pm
A bill for an act
relating to natural resources; clarifying and modifying certain buffer requirements
on public waters and drainage ditches; amending Minnesota Statutes 2015
Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivisions 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
Minnesota Statutes 2015 Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivision 1,
is amended to read:
(a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms
have the meanings given them.
(b) "Board" means the Board of Water and Soil Resources.
(c) "Buffer" means an area consisting of perennial vegetation, excluding invasive
plants and noxious weeds, adjacent to all bodies of water within the state and that protects
the water resources of the state from runoff pollution; stabilizes soils, shores, and banks;
and protects or provides riparian corridors.
(d) "Buffer protection map" means buffer maps established and maintained by the
commissioner of natural resources.
(e) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of natural resources.
(f) "Executive director" means the executive director of the Board of Water and
(g) "Local water management authority" means a watershed district, metropolitan
water management organization, or county operating separately or jointly in its role as
local water management authority under chapter 103B or 103D.
(h) "Normal water level" means the level evidenced by the long-term presence of
surface water as indicated directly by hydrophytic plants or hydric soils or indirectly
determined via hydrological models or analysis.
(i) "Public waters" has the meaning given in section 103G.005, subdivision 15.new text beginnew text end
Minnesota Statutes 2015 Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivision 3, is
amended to read:
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), landowners
owning property adjacent to a water body identified and mapped on a buffer protection
map must maintain a buffer to protect the state's water resources as follows:
(1) for all public watersnew text beginnew text end, the more
(i) a 50-foot average width, 30-foot minimum width, continuous buffer of
perennially rooted vegetation; or
(ii) the state shoreland standards and criteria adopted by the commissioner under
section 103F.211; and
(2) for public drainage systems established under chapter 103E, a 16.5-foot
minimum width continuous buffer of perennially rooted vegetation on ditches deleted text beginwithin the
benefited areadeleted text end of public drainage systems.
(b) A landowner owning property adjacent to a water body identified in a buffer
protection map and whose property is used for cultivation farming may meet the
requirements under paragraph (a) by adopting an alternative riparian water quality
practice, or combination of structural, vegetative, and management practices, based on the
Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Office Technical Guide or other practices
approved by the board, that provide water quality protection comparable to the buffer
protection for the water body that the property abuts.new text beginnew text end
(c) The width of a buffer must be measured from the top or crown of the bank. Where
there is no defined bank, measurement must be from the edge of the normal water level.
(d) Upon request by a landowner or authorized agent or operator of a landowner,
a technical professional employee or contractor of the soil and water conservation
district or its delegate may issue a validation of compliance with the requirements of
this subdivision. The soil and water conservation district validation may be appealed to
the board as described in subdivision 9.
(e) Buffers or alternative water quality practices required under paragraph (a) or
(b) must be in place on or before:
(1) November 1, 2017, for public waters; and
(2) November 1, 2018, for public drainage systems.
Minnesota Statutes 2015 Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivision 4, is
amended to read:
On or before July 1, 2017, the
soil and water conservation district shall develop, adopt, and submit to each local water
management authority within its boundary a summary of watercourses for inclusion in the
local water management authority's plan. A local water management authority that receives
a summary of watercourses identified under this subdivision must deleted text beginrevisedeleted text endnew text beginnew text endits comprehensive local water management plannew text beginnew text end or comprehensive watershed
management plan to incorporate the soil and water conservation district recommendations.
Minnesota Statutes 2015 Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivision 5, is
amended to read:
Land adjacent to waters subject to subdivision 3 is exempt
from the water resource protection requirements under subdivision 3, to the extent these
exemptions are not inconsistent with the requirements of the state shoreland rules adopted
by the commissioner pursuant to section 103F.211, if it is:
(1) enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program;
(2) used as a public or private water access or recreational use area including
stairways, landings, picnic areas, access paths, beach and watercraft access areas, and
permitted water-oriented structures as provided in the shoreland model standards and
criteria adopted pursuant to section 103F.211 or as provided for in an approved local
government shoreland ordinance;
(3) covered by a road, trail, building, or other structures; or
(4) regulated by a national pollutant discharge elimination system/state disposal
system (NPDES/SDS) permit under Minnesota Rules, chapter 7090, and provides water
resources riparian protection, in any of the following categories:
(i) municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4);
(ii) construction storm water (CSW); or
(iii) industrial storm water (ISW);
(5) part of a water-inundation cropping system; deleted text beginor
deleted text end
(6) in a temporary nonvegetated condition due to drainage tile installation and
maintenance, alfalfa or other perennial crop or plant seeding, or construction or
conservation projects authorized by a federal, state, or local government unitdeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text beginnew text end
new text begin new text end
Minnesota Statutes 2015 Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivision 7, is
amended to read:
(a) If the soil and water conservation district
determines a landowner is not in compliance with this section, the district must notify the
county or watershed district with jurisdiction over the noncompliant site. The county or
watershed district must provide the landowner with a list of corrective actions needed to
come into compliance and a practical timeline to meet the requirements in this section.
The county or watershed district with jurisdiction must provide a copy of the corrective
action notice to the board.
(b) If the landowner does not comply with the list of actions and timeline provided,
the county or watershed district may enforce this section under the authority granted in
section 103B.101, subdivision 12anew text beginnew text end. Before exercising deleted text beginthisdeleted text endnew text beginnew text end authority, a county or watershed
district must adopt a plan containing procedures for the issuance of administrative penalty
orders and may issue orders beginning November 1, 2017. If a county or watershed
district with jurisdiction over the noncompliant site has not adopted a plannew text beginnew text end under this paragraph, the board may enforce this section under the authority
granted in section 103B.101, subdivision 12a.
(c) If the county, watershed district, or board determines that sufficient steps have
been taken to fully resolve noncompliance, all or part of the penalty may be forgiven.
(d) An order issued under paragraph (b) may be appealed to the board as provided
under subdivision 9.
(e) A corrective action is not required for conditions resulting from a flood or other
act of nature.
(f) A landowner agent or operator of a landowner may not remove or willfully degrade
a riparian buffer or water quality practice, wholly or partially, unless the agent or operator
has obtained a signed statement from the property owner stating that the permission for the
work has been granted by the unit of government authorized to approve the work in this
section or that a buffer or water quality practice is not required as validated by the soil and
water conservation district. Removal or willful degradation of a riparian buffer or water
quality practice, wholly or partially, by an agent or operator is a separate and independent
offense and may be subject to the corrective actions and penalties in this subdivision.
Minnesota Statutes 2015 Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivision 8, is
amended to read:
The deleted text beginstatedeleted text endnew text beginnew text end may withhold funding
new text beginnew text endfrom a local water management authority or a soil and water
conservation district that fails to implement this section. deleted text beginFunding subject to withholding
includes soil and water program aid, a natural resources block grant, and other project
or program funding.deleted text end Funding may be restored upon the board's approval of a corrective
Minnesota Statutes 2015 Supplement, section 103F.48, subdivision 10, is
amended to read:
(a) A landowner or drainage authority may contact the soil and water conservation district
for information on how to apply for local, state, or federal cost-share grants, contracts, or
loans that are available to establish buffers or other water resource protection measures.
(b) The provisions of sections 103E.011, subdivision 5; 103E.021, subdivision 6;
and 103E.715 may be used in advance or retroactively to acquire or provide compensation
for all or part of the buffer strip establishment or alternative riparian water quality
practices as required under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), within deleted text beginthe benefited area ofdeleted text end a
public drainage system. deleted text beginImplementation of this subdivision is not subject to limitation of
project costs to the current benefits adopted for the drainage system.
deleted text end