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Feb 25

Tax Credit?

Posted on February 25, 2019 at 5:01 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 2/25/2019


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • There will be a ROB (Redetermination of Benefits) hearing for JTD01 Waseca this week.  Landowners and those affected by this watershed should have been notified via mail with details.  Please call with questions or concerns about this upcoming hearing.   

Project Updates:


  • All projects and repairs are on hold until spring thaw.  Dangerous weather conditions and large amounts of frost have things shut down.  Please don’t be afraid to keep reporting issues with our public drainage systems.  When issues are reported, they can get put on a list for repair this spring.

Tax Relief for Buffers?

Governor Tim Walz has released his budget plans.  Part of his new two-year budget is some funding for water quality and wildlife quality in Minnesota.  When the newer buffer laws went into effect a few years ago, many unknowns existed, including any sort of compensation for the buffer strips.  Governor Walz is proposing to provide some sort of compensation for agricultural ground that is being taken out of production.  

The proposal includes a $50 per acre tax credit for these water quality buffer acres. There are some requirements to make acres eligible for the proposed credit.  The acres have to part of the riparian buffer or equivalent approved alternative water quality structure.  There are other guidelines that have to be meet to be eligible, click to read further.

Buffer areas that already have a purchased 103E buffer along the open ditch are not eligible for this proposed tax credit.  Landowners that meet all the necessary requirements must apply for the riparian buffer credit with their certified acreage by December 31, 2019, to be considered eligible.  There is no need for annual enrollment in this tax credit, as long as ownership doesn’t change and said parcel stills meets all requirements of eligibility.

As I mentioned at the beginning, Governor Walz has provided funding for water quality for the next two years.  With the current budget proposal, Governor Walz is looking to provide around $140 million toward BWSR (Board of Soil and Water Resources) and SWCD (Soil and Water Conservation District) groups all across the state.  Some of this money will find its way for projects and practices to improve our state's water quality.  Other funds will help with CREP (Conservation Reserve Program) funding to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.  BWSR and local SWCD’s are also scheduled to receive $2 million for 2020 buffer compliance support under the budget proposal. 

The state also has a focus on a state-organized plan of “One Watershed One Plan” with an emphasis on getting multiple drainage groups, water planning agencies, counties, and state agencies to work closer together towards water quality and future planning.  Want to read more? Click for more information.

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of February 11 – February 15:

  • No inspections were made last week.  The wintery weather has all of our contractors shut down at the moment, at least for county drainage projects.
  • We have started planning for spraying and mowing for our open ditches along the western and southern parts of the county.  I plan on having a contractor do both herbicide treatment (Spring) and mowing in late Summer/early Fall.  
An al-too-familiar scene from last weekend's blizzard. 

We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist