Removal of aquatic plants from property may require permit

Courtesy of the Department

of Natural Resources

Lakeshore property owners are reminded that removal of aquatic plants from Minnesota lakes may require a permit from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

DNR staff members who issue permits for aquatic plant removal can help lakeshore owners avoid harming the lake or river near their home, said Steve Enger, DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife.

“Aquatic plants serve many important functions in lakes. They prevent shoreline erosion, stabilize bottom sediments, provide habitat for fish and wildlife and tie up nutrients that might otherwise grow algae. We encourage shoreline property owners to keep the disturbance of near shore vegetation as small as possible,” Enger said.


Aquatic plant removal

Lakeshore property owners can control a modest area of aquatic plants for swimming or boat docking without a permit from the DNR. Cutting, pulling, raking or harvesting submersed vegetation, like pondweeds, watermilfoil or coontail is allowed in an area for recreation under the following conditions:

• The cleared area may not exceed 2,500 square feet in size;

• The cleared area may not extend more than 50 feet along the shore, or more than one-half the frontage width, whichever is less;

• If the cleared area does not reach open water, a 15-foot wide channel to open water may be added; and

• The cut or pulled vegetation must be removed from the water.

If floating leaf vegetation, like white or yellow water-lilies, interfere with boat access a lake shore property owner can mechanically maintain (cutting or pulling) a channel no more than 15 feet wide, extending to open water without a permit, under the following conditions:

• The cleared channel must remain in the same place from year to year; and

• The vegetation that is cut or pulled must be removed from the water.

A DNR aquatic plant management permit (the permit fee is $35.00) is required if plans include the following:

• Using herbicides or algicides;

• Removing emergent vegetation, like bulrush, cattails or wild rice;

• Installing or operating an automated plant control device (such as the Crary WeedRoller, Beachgroomer or Lake Sweeper);

• Removing floating leaf vegetation, in an area larger than a 15-foot wide channel (see above); and

• Controlling submerged vegetation in an area larger than 2,500 square feet or wider than 50 feet (see above).

• Removing or relocating a bog of any size.

The DNR aquatic plant management regulations do not allow the following activities:

• Excavating the lake bottom for aquatic plant control; • Use of hydraulic jets;

• Using lake-bottom barriers to destroy or prevent the growth of aquatic plants;

• Removing aquatic vegetation within posted fish-spawning areas; and

• Removing aquatic plants from undeveloped shoreline.

For more information about the Aquatic Plant Management Program, contact the nearest regional fisheries office or the DNR by calling (651) 296-6157 or toll-free (888) 646-6367.