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County hears update on buffer implementation

t the regular Kittson County Board of Commissioners meeting on March 20, Justin Muller from Kittson Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) provided an update on implementing buffers.

Muller estimated the 50’ buffers are 85% compliant and the 16.5’ buffers are 50-60% in compliance. The bulk of the work will be on the 16.5’ buffer strips on public drainage ditches. SWCD is looking into purchasing a tractor, drill and a trailer, to assist farmers with seeding the buffer strips.

SWCD received money for buffer implementation efforts; the county received funds for enforcement and administration. The county opted to have SWCD act on their behalf for enforcement and administration and has given a percentage to SWCD for those duties.

SWCD is working with the county attorney to establish a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which outlines how funds are broken down between the county and SWCD. They are also establishing a legal fee pool in the event of push back from landowners.

Commissioner Joe Bouvette said, “It seems kind of ironic; we started out being absolutely against the buffers. Now we’re going to provide money for them to be able to have the buffers.”

Commissioner Theresia Gillie commented, “They’re trying to provide a service so that everybody can be in compliance, which will hopefully keep us from having enforcement issues.”

For more on this story, see this week’s North Star News!

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