50-foot buffer zone proposed for all Minnesota lakes and rivers

There's a fine line between protecting our lakes and streams and being able to own and enjoy waterfront property here in Minnesota.

But now, a proposed bill looks to test that line, and maybe even "draw a line." It's one that has some homeowners upset. The bill would require a fifty-foot buffer zone from the waterfront on up, and that zone would become sort of a natural preserve to help filter run off.

"The state's existing rules on buffer strips are inconsistent, and they are enforced inconsistently -- which almost always guarantees failure," Gov. Dayton said. "People have the right to do follow lawful practices on their private properties. However, they should not have the right to contaminate water s that all of us depend on."

Fox 9 spoke with residents of prior lake, who did not seem too fond of the idea.

"We've lived here for 22 years," Jeff Morris, a resident of Prior Lake, said. "We raised our family here."

A lifetime of memories has sprouted up in the backyards that dot the waterfront of prior lake, memories that walk hand in hand with a well-kept yard.

"If it was all overgrown it wouldn't be the same landscape for the boaters and everyone that pays to live on the lake," Morgan Bailey said.

But that could soon change, and the idea is a bit daunting. The legislation requiring a large buffer zone around every perennial lake, river and stream statewide could be passed.

"I think personally you should be able to do what you want with your own land," Cohl Bailey said.

And of course there are exceptions; anyone with a beach, home or road in the buffer zone is exempt. As you might imagine, not everyone is sold.

"Nobody likes the government telling them what they can and can't do," Matt Colder said.

Homeowners worry it could impact the value of their property – and at the very least, ruin the view that brought them to the lake in the first place.

"Governor, you ain't going to get my vote if you let it go through," one neighbor said.

The bill is currently working its way through both houses, and as we all know, a lot could possibly change.

To view the bill click here.

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