Dayton proposes legislative action on waterway buffers

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Gov. Mark Dayton says he will propose that the Legislature require 50-foot buffer strips along streams and lakes in Minnesota to boost the struggling pheasant population.

At an annual Department of Natural Resources roundtable on outdoors issues in Brooklyn Park, the governor said his proposal would create 125,000 acres of pheasant habitat — and promote cleaner water, too.

The state already has a rule requiring buffer strips along waterways, but enforcement has been a problem. It wasn't immediately clear how Dayton's legislation would improve the situation.

Only about 2 percent of the land in Minnesota's pheasant range is publicly owned, which means creating more habitat requires help from private landowners. Dayton's proposal is likely to draw opposition from farmers and other affected landowners in southern Minnesota.

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