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Aquatic plant removal may require permits

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outdoors Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
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Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Lakeshore property owners are reminded that many aquatic plant management activities require a permit from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


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, in an area for recreation is allowed 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 your shore, or more than one half your 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.

• 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 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 is required if your 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.

• Removing floating leaf vegetation, in an area larger than a 15 foot wide channel.

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

• 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.

• Removing aquatic plants from an undeveloped shoreline.