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SF 1537

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 09/16/2015 02:26pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to natural resources; providing for riparian buffers; proposing coding for
new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103F.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [103F.46] RIPARIAN BUFFERS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin For the purposes of this section:
new text end

new text begin (1) "buffer" means an area consisting of perennial vegetation adjacent to water
resources, which protects water resources from runoff pollution; stabilizes soils, shores,
and banks; and provides aquatic and wildlife habitat; and
new text end

new text begin (2) "perennial waters" means public waters as defined under chapter 103G and
other watercourses that:
new text end

new text begin (i) have a defined bed and bank;
new text end

new text begin (ii) have evidence or indicators of flow during the majority of the growing season
in most years; and
new text end

new text begin (iii) are mapped by the commissioner according to subdivision 4.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Purpose. new text end

new text begin It is the policy of the state to protect and establish buffers to:
new text end

new text begin (1) protect water resources from erosion and runoff pollution;
new text end

new text begin (2) stabilize soils, shores, and banks; and
new text end

new text begin (3) provide aquatic and wildlife habitat.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Buffers required. new text end

new text begin (a) A 50-foot wide buffer of perennially rooted
vegetation is required adjacent to all perennial waters. The width 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.
new text end

new text begin (b) Buffers required under paragraph (a) must be in place by September 1, 2016,
or within one year of designation of new perennial waters in a map updated according
to subdivision 4, paragraph (e).
new text end

new text begin (c) The buffer requirement does not give the public a right to enter upon or use the
buffer area where no such right existed prior to the requirement and does not limit use of
the buffer area by the landowner as long as perennial vegetation is maintained.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Maps of perennial waters. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner of natural resources
must establish and maintain an inventory map of each county that shows the waters that
are subject to the buffer requirement.
new text end

new text begin (b) Initial proposed maps must be prepared by April 1, 2016. The commissioner
must send a notification and copies of the maps to each affected city, county, watershed
district, if one exists for the area, and soil and water conservation district.
new text end

new text begin (c) Within 60 days of receiving the notice and proposed maps, a party required to
receive notice under paragraph (b) may provide comments or suggested adjustments to
the maps.
new text end

new text begin (d) The commissioner must publish final maps by August 1, 2016, on the Department
of Natural Resources Web site and provide copies of the maps to each soil and water
conservation district affected by the buffer requirement.
new text end

new text begin (e) The commissioner must update inventory maps every five years. The
commissioner must send a notification and proposed updated maps to each affected city,
county, watershed district, if one exists for the area, and soil and water conservation district.
Within 60 days of receiving the notice and proposed maps, a party required to receive notice
may provide comments or suggested adjustments to the maps. The commissioner must
publish final updated maps on the Department of Natural Resources Web site and provide
copies of the maps to each soil and water conservation district affected by the requirement.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Alternative practices. new text end

new text begin When a 50-foot buffer will not protect or improve
water quality, a landowner may seek approval for an alternative water quality conservation
plan or alternative water quality best management practice, including variable width
buffers, that fulfills the purpose under subdivision 2. The alternative practice must be
approved in writing by a technical professional employee or contractor of the soil and water
conservation district and must be based on current and approved conservation standards.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Exemptions. new text end

new text begin An area adjacent to perennial waters is exempt from the
buffer requirement under subdivision 3 if it is:
new text end

new text begin (1) enrolled in the federal conservation reserve program;
new text end

new text begin (2) used as a public or private water access or recreational use area;
new text end

new text begin (3) covered by a road, building, or other structures; or
new text end

new text begin (4) regulated by a national pollutant discharge elimination system/state disposal
system (NPDES/SDS) permit under Minnesota Rules, chapter 7090, in any of the
following categories:
new text end

new text begin (i) municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4);
new text end

new text begin (ii) construction storm water (CSW); or
new text end

new text begin (iii) industrial storm water (ISW).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Local implementation. new text end

new text begin (a) Soil and water conservation districts must
implement the buffer requirement under subdivision 3. Duties include planning, technical
assistance to landowners, follow-up on complaints, approval of alternative practices, and
tracking progress of implementing the buffer requirement.
new text end

new text begin (b) A soil and water conservation district may delegate all or part of implementation
to another local unit of government by written agreement. Initial delegation agreements
must be completed and provided to the commissioner and the Board of Water and Soil
Resources by March 1, 2016.
new text end

new text begin (c) The commissioner of natural resources or the Board of Water and Soil Resources
must provide sufficient funds for soil and water conservation districts to implement this
section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Authority to issue penalty order. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner of natural
resources may issue an order requiring violations of this section to be corrected and
administratively assessing monetary penalties for violations consistent with section
103G.299.
new text end

new text begin (b) If the commissioner determines that a violation has been corrected or appropriate
steps have been taken to correct the violation, all or part of the penalty may be forgiven.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Failure to implement. new text end

new text begin Upon recommendation of the commissioner of
natural resources, the state may withhold funds from a soil and water conservation district,
or its delegate, that fails to implement this section as required under subdivision 7. Funds
subject to withholding may include soil and water program aid, a natural resources
block grant, and other project or program funding. Funds may be restored upon the
commissioner's approval of a corrective action plan.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Financial assistance. new text end

new text begin A landowner may apply for local, state, or federal
cost-share grants, contracts, or loans that may be available to establish buffers.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin Subdivision 4 of this section is effective the day following
final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginINITIAL IMPLEMENTATION; WAIVERS.
new text end

new text begin A soil and water conservation district must grant a conditional compliance waiver
under Minnesota Statutes, section 103F.46, to landowners who have applied for and
maintained eligibility for financial assistance by September 1, 2016, according to
Minnesota Statutes, section 103F.46, subdivision 10. The conditional compliance waiver
is valid until financial assistance is available for buffer installation, but not later than
September 1, 2017.
new text end