ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton asked to partner with the federal government Tuesday to help fund the state’s efforts to enforce stronger boundaries between crop fields and waterways and other initiatives to improve the quality of Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams.
The governor’s proposal would make Minnesota one of several states to employ Conservation Reserve Enhancement Programs, which provide funding to take cropland in environmentally sensitive areas out of production. The cash would go toward conservation efforts in Minnesota, from implementation of buffers to wetland restoration projects and wellhead protection. If approved, the state would be on the hook for at least 20 percent of Dayton’s $795 million proposal.READ MORE: Vaccine Doubts Fuel Dr. Scott Jensen's Rise In Minnesota Governor Race
Passed by the Legislature this spring, Minnesota’s new buffer law requires farmers to set aside more land between their crops and public waterways to protect against runoff, with less stringent requirements for private ditches. The law starts to take effect in November 2017.
In a statement announcing his proposed partnership with the federal government, Dayton said federal funding would provide crucial funding for that effort by adding conservation measures on up to 100,000 acres of land.READ MORE: 'Perfect Timing To Go': MEA Marking One Of The Busiest Travel Weekends Of The Fall
“We have begun to reverse the serious deterioration in the quality of water in parts of our state. But much more remains to be done,” he said.
The Democratic governor has made improving Minnesota’s water quality a top priority for his second and final term. Dayton said funding through the partnership will help tremendously in his goal of reversing a water quality decline.MORE NEWS: A Ride-Along With Minneapolis Police Shows How Staffing Shortages Have Officers Stretched Thin
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