S.D. Riparian Buffer Classification Program: Signup deadline Oct. 15 Back »

Participation in the South Dakota riparian buffer strip program could improve water quality across the state. Courtesy: USDA NRCS

South Dakota “Buffer Strip” Bill

During the 2017 SD Legislative Session, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law Senate Bill 66 (SB 66), also known as the “buffer strip” bill. Essentially, the bill provides an incentive for landowners to plant perennial vegetation on land adjoining qualified lakes, rivers, or streams via a property tax adjustment in order to improve water quality.

Land Criteria
Under SD SB 66, a separate land classification was created for eligible land consisting of existing or newly-planted perennial vegetation and will be assessed at 60 percent of the land’s agricultural income value. The vegetative buffer must be a minimum of 50 feet in width up to a maximum of 120 feet. Enrolled vegetative acres cannot be harvested or mowed before July 10th and a 4 inch minimum must be maintained at all times. Grazing is prohibited from May 1st through September 30th.

Applications for the Riparian Buffer Strip Classification Program are to be submitted to the Director of Equalization in the county where the property is located, and must be must be filed with the Director on or before October 15, 2017 for consideration for the 2018 assessment. The link below provides an explanation of the law by the SD Department of Revenue, maps of all the qualified lakes and streams for every county, an application form, and director contact information for each county. It is important to note that landowners must apply annually on or before October 15th verifying that the program criteria have been met in order to qualify for the tax reassessment each year. Contact your county Director of Equalization for more information.

For more information, visit the South Dakota Buffer Strip website.

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