South Dakota Senate panel approves buffer strip bill

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota Senate panel has approved a bill that would encourage people to install buffer strips between agricultural land and waterways.

The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously Thursday to send the bill to the full chamber.

Hunter Roberts is a policy adviser to Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Roberts says that buffer strips improve water quality.

The bill would offer property tax breaks for land turned into buffer strips of vegetation to help trap fertilizer, pesticide and sediment before they reach water.

The proposal allows for 50- to 120-foot buffers along 575 lakes and roughly 11,000 miles of streams in South Dakota.

Committee Chairman Gary Cammack says the bill isn’t a huge incentive. But he says it’s a “thank you note” from government for doing the right thing.