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New Law Encourages Waterside
Buffer Strips in S.D.

Meant to Help Decrease Contaminants in Runoff


In order for agricultural land in South Dakota to be designated as a riparian buffer strip and therefore be taxed at a lower rate, it must border a lake assigned recreational uses or a river or stream assigned beneficial fishing uses.

Property tax breaks will now be offered to South Dakota landowners who create zones of untended vegetation between agricultural land and waterways to help reduce the amounts of chemicals and sediment that reach the water.

The bill known as SB 66 allows for land to be classified as a riparian buffer strip if it is between 50 feet and 120 feet in width along an eligible river stream or lake, contains perennial vegetation that is a minimum of four inches high, not mowed or harvested before July 10 and not grazed from May through September.

Land that meets these criteria will be taxed at only 60 percent of its agricultural income value. Intentionally misrepresenting land as being eligible for the tax break will bring a monetary fine to the landowner.

The bill first passed the state's Senate on a vote of 34 to 0, then the House on a vote of 62 to 5. Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who had vetoed a similar bill last year, signed this one into law.

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February 17, 2019, 11:13 pm PST

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