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Tom Cherveny | Tribune A photo of public ditch near Raymond in a 2017 file photo. Kandiyohi County has extended the deadline to Dec. 31 on the requirement for buffers of a one rod, or 16 1/2 foot buffer of perennial vegetation from the ditch bank.

Kandiyohi County extends timeline for buffer compliance

WILLMAR - Landowners along public ditches in Kandiyohi County still aren't 100 percent in compliance with Minnesota's new buffer law.

But with wet weather creating headaches for getting out into the field, the county is offering landowners a break beyond the original deadline of Nov. 1.

Landowners will have extra time to comply without facing the possibility of a corrective action notice - as long as they communicate with the county's drainage authority by Dec. 31.

A rainy summer followed by a rainy fall has made it a difficult season for implementing buffer strips as well as inspecting for compliance, said Angelica Hopp, buffer technician for Kandiyohi County.

The extension will give everyone more time, she said during an update this past week to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners.

Minnesota's buffer law requires vegetation strips along most waterways to reduce runoff and protect water quality.

The deadline has come and gone for implementing buffer strips along public waters, and Kandiyohi County has achieved 99 percent compliance with this portion of the law, Hopp said.

As of the end of October, compliance had been confirmed for 70 percent of eligible public ditches, she said.

"The other 30 percent may or may not be" in compliance, she said, noting that most of the remaining ditches on the list have not yet had a field visit to check for compliance.

The wet conditions have made for "a horrendous year," agreed Commissioner Harlan Madsen.

Extra time that takes the wet weather into account is the right approach, he said. "It makes good sense."

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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