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Wetland Buffer Program


Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rainforests and coral reefs. An immense variety of species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals can be part of a wetland ecosystem.  One of the most effective ways to protect a wetland is to establish and maintain a vegetative buffer around it!

Wetland Buffers

A wetland buffer is an un-mowed and naturally vegetated area adjacent to a wetland that protects the wetland from the effects of nearby development. They provide the initial filtering and natural treatment of sediment and other pollutants from runoff of rainwater and snow melt to keep streams, rivers, and lakes cleaner. Buffers can also be used to link wetlands, providing habitat connectors for wildlife to move safely from one habitat to another. In addition, healthy buffers add aesthetic value to your landscape.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District requires that buffer areas be established around wetlands at commercial and institutional developments and in new residential subdivisions. As part of this requirement, MCWD conducts regular inspections of wetland buffers to ensure that buffers have not been encroached upon by surrounding land use.

If you think that you have a wetland buffer on your property and have questions about our buffer requirements please contact our Permitting Staff. The best protector of wetlands is the educated and aware landowner.

Learn more about establishing a buffer around your wetland, or if you have questions about how to improve the health of your wetland.  This site contains important information and links to valuable resources to help you protect and improve your environment.