When the State of Minnesota deadline to have a 50-foot buffer along all public waters passed in November 2017, Redwood County still had a number of parcels that were deemed non-compliant.

According to Scott Wold, director of the Redwood County environmental office, 102 letters were sent out indicating that the property owner of those parcels had not met the standard of the state buffer rule.

Since then 93 of those parcels have been deemed compliant, leaving just a few left to go.

Non-compliance of the state buffer rule is determined by the Soil and Water Conservation District, said Wold to the Redwood County board at its March 5 meeting. 

Wold added the environmental office then steps in to work with the landowner toward meeting that law. Should those individuals remain non-compliant there is the potential to assess a penalty, but Wold said that will be the last effort.

“Our goal is and always has been to not assess any fines,” said Wold, adding his office is more than willing to work with landowners to get buffers in place as soon as is possible.

Wold said he recently received word from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources which indicated that Redwood County is one of the more proactive counties in the state when it comes to the buffer rule, and Wold said providing education to landowners is helping.

“I am not getting as many angry calls as I did a year ago,” said Wold, adding his office continues to work with landowners. “Our job is to figure out how to get them in compliance.”

Some time this coming fall or next spring Wold said the plan is to conduct an aerial viewing of the public waters in Redwood County, including those on the Redwood and Cottonwood rivers, Ramsey Creek and all applicable tributaries to ensure compliance.

During the meeting, Wold also talked about Plum Creek Park with the board, adding progress is being made on the development of the park Web site. He said the hope is to have the option of making reservations online available for the public very soon.

According to Wold, the plan regarding upcoming upgrades at the park is to begin those as soon as the snow has melted and the ground thawed. The county received a $300,000 grant that will be used to make improvements at the park in a number of areas. Another $30,000 grant has also been approved that Wold said will be used to make electrical updates.

In other action during its meeting Tuesday the board:

• Held a brief discussion regarding concerns raised about the future of the county’s shops. A petition was sent to the county board that expressed concerns about the fact that people have heard many of the shops in the county are going to be closed with all of the equipment moved to Redwood Falls.

Jim Salfer, county commissioner, said that is not true, as no decisions related to any of the county shops has been made, adding the county board directed Keith Berndt, county highway department engineer, to take a look at ways to potentially create efficiencies within the department.

“There is nothing in writing about closing any of the shops,” said Salfer.

• Held a discussion with Berndt related to a concern raised by residents about a group of trees that are currently standing along CSAH 10 north of Lucan. Lon Walling, county commissioner, raised the issue, as he has received a number of calls from constituents who are concerned about the potential hazards that exist at that spot as snow has been accumulating there causing significant drifting and possible safety issues. Berndt said he spoke with the landowner adding they have no interest in taking down those trees.

• Accepted a grant in the amount of $70,000 from the Otto Bremer Foundation for the Child Advocacy Center with the funds used to bring the child advocate to full time and to update recording equipment.

– Photo courtesy of the Internet Public Domain