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Conservation Buffer Facts

What is it?
Conservation Buffers are small areas or strips of land in vegetation, designed to slow water runoff, provide shelter and stabilize riparian areas. Strategically placed in the agricultural landscape, buffers can effectively mitigate the movement of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides within farm fields. Buffers include: contour buffer strips, field borders, filter strips, windbreaks, and wetlands. A small amount of land in buffers can assist producers in meeting both economic and environmental goals.

Cleaner Water

  • Located in environmentally sensitive areas, buffers provide another line of defense to filter water both surface and shallow ground water before it enters streams and lakes.
  • Can reduce up to 80% of sediment.
  • Reduces 40% (on average) of phosphorous.
  • Removes a significant amount of nitrate; stores it in plant material.
  • Up to 60% of pathogens removed from runoff.
  • Provides a source of food, nesting cover and shelter for wildlife.
  • Improves fish habitat.

Other Benefits

  • Reduces wind erosion.
  • Slows water runoff.
  • Reduces downstream flooding.
  • Stabilizes streambanks.
  • Establishment of natural vegetation.
  • Adds visual aesthetics to the landscape.
  • Improves air quality

Greater Profits

  • Often provides income from local, state and federal programs.
  • Provides tax incentives.
  • Reduces crop losses from flooding.
  • Protects soil in vulnerable areas.