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Minnesota Governor signs into law new buffer initiative

Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota recently signed into law a new landmark buffer initiative that establishes an approximated 110,000 acres of land in Minnesota for creating vegetative buffer strips along rivers, streams, and ditches. The initiative comes as a response to a study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that determined many of the waters in Southwest Minnesota do not meet swimmable or fishable standards. In an effort to improve water quality across the state, the installation of buffers will help mitigate the input of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and sediment into Minnesota waterways. According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, conservation buffers can remove up to 50% or more of nutrients and pesticides, 60% or more of certain pathogens, and 75% or more of sediment in runoff.