RED WING — Goodhue County commissioners heard from Land Use Director Lisa Hanni, who updated the board on the compliance of landowners to implement buffer strips along local waterways.
Hanni said letters for corrective action were sent to 37 landowners concerning 43 parcels in December 2018. Those letters explained that landowners had until Nov. 1 to come into compliance without a penalty. A final reminder was sent to 21 landowners of 24 parcels on Sept. 25.
As of Nov. 13, she said, 14 owners of 18 parcels were not compliant, but seven said they will take action yet this fall to become compliant and two had seeded their buffers, which will be verified in the spring.
That, she said, leaves five landowners who have made no efforts to become compliant under the buffer law.
"On the letters, we were really specific," Hanni said. "We tell them what their parcel is. We give them examples, we've given them air photos of what we've seen."
Those five landowners, she said, could face fines of $50 per month for the first six months and $200 a month for each additional month, she said.
Goodhue County adopted shoreland regulations in 1991 to meet the Minnesota Shoreland Management Act. The goals were to protect waterways from runoff including pesticides and animal waste, as well as to reduce erosion or sediment.
Land Use Management in 2014 used aerial photography to help determine whether landowners where following county and state laws.
According to county documents, field cultivation, grazing, nurseries, horticulture, truck farming, sod farming, and wild crop harvesting are allowed -- provided that steep slopes, shore and bluff zones are maintained in permanent vegetation and that farmers operate under an approved resource management plan. This plan must be consistent with Goodhue County Soil & Water Conservation District and U.S Natural Resources Conservation Service rules.
The buffer must be 50 feet from the ordinary high water level.