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New hayable buffer program for the south fork of the Root River


Thu, Jan 17th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

Donna Rasmussen, Administrator

Buffers can be very effective at trapping and controlling sediments, nutrients and pesticides before they enter streams or sinkholes. Streamside buffers comprised of perennial vegetation also reduce stream bank erosion by anchoring the soil in place. Increasing cropland values make limited use buffers like CRP less attractive to landowners and renters. A 2010 study found that 19.6 percent of the 300-foot riparian (streamside) buffer zone in the Root River is in cropland, and nearly five percent of the 50-foot zone is cropland. The South Fork of the Root River has the most cropland encroachment of cropland within the riparian zone. For this reason, The Nature Conservancy has made funds available to the SWCDs in Fillmore and Houston counties to offer an alternative to long-term, limited use buffer programs. The funds will be used to establish buffers that can be hayed or grazed along DNR public waters and around sinkholes.

The payment rate for this program is $200 per acre per year for a five-year contract or $250 per acre per year for a ten-year contract for cropland acres converted to perennial vegetation. There is also financial assistance available for seeding establishment and weed tree removal. The minimum buffer width is 50 feet and the maximum is 100 feet and can be up to 300 feet under some circumstances. Signups will be taken continuously until October 31 of this year. Contact the Fillmore SWCD in Preston at 507-765-3878 ext. 3 or the Root River SWCD in Caledonia at 507-724-5261 ext.3 for program details.

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