Over the last two months I’ve been lucky enough to meet with a number of community leaders and elected officials throughout the western metro area to learn about what sort of conservation issues are affecting their communities. And I have to say I’ve been quite surprised by one thing: everyone is talking about buffer strips.
I know, the bipartisan and common sense plan to protect our lakes and rivers by adding 50 foot buffer strips of perennial vegetation along streams and waterways doesn’t sound like a hot button issue, but people are certainly talking about it.
One manager from a watershed district in the metro area’s very first question for me when I introduced myself to him after a meeting was, “where does your organization stand on buffer strips?” Another city council member volunteered during a conversation that he was, “a buffer strip kind of guy.” And if you start talking about storm water management with city employees buffer strips are guaranteed to come up as well.
The reason is pretty simple: once pollution or agricultural run off gets into a stream or creek, it’s only a matter of time before it works it’s way into the rest of the watershed on down the line. Or to put it another way, what happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas, but what happens in Lac qui Parle County when it comes to agricultural runoff doesn’t stay there. Rather, it follows in the Minnesota River all the way to Eden Prairie and beyond.
So if you care about what ends up in your community’s water you better start talking about buffer strips. Or check out the Lakes, Rivers, and Water interest area of our website to learn more about water issues.