Buffer Strip Measured Approved in South Dakota

Buffer Strip
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 66, also known as the Buffer Strip Bill, into law. The new law provides tax incentives to landowners for new or existing buffer strips that help protect or improve water quality.

Daugaard vetoed similar legislation last year because he said it presented constitutional problems. SB 66 creates a separate real estate tax classification for agricultural lands that qualify for the special designation. The governor’s staff and several state agencies worked on the language for this year’s bill.

The bill passed with wide support, including from the League's South Dakota Division. Under the measure, eligible riparian buffer strips will be assessed at 60 percent of the land’s agricultural income value. SB 66 specifies 575 lakes and 11,000 miles of rivers and streams in the state that are included for the new classification. The League considers SB 66 a good first step in improving water quality in the state.