The Nebraska Buffer Strip Program provides cost-share payments for landowners to install buffer strips in cropped fields adjacent to perennial and seasonal streams, ponds and wetlands. These buffer strips are designed to protect water bodies adjacent to cropland by stabilizing the environment and filtering ag chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. Fees assessed on registered pesticides provide funding for the program. Filter strips have been shown to remove 30-60 percent of pesticides in field runoff and can remove 75 percent or more of sediment depending on width, pesticides used, field practices and runoff volume.
The program provides cost-share for two types of buffer strips. Filter strips are narrow bands of grass with a minimum width of 20 feet up a maximum of 120 feet. Riparian forest buffer strips contain trees and grass and can be between 55 and 180 feet wide.
Landowners can sign up for the Buffer Strip Program alone, or in conjunction with other USDA programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program or Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.