Invasive species

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Minnesota invasive species laws

Introduction

Minnesota has several state laws intended to minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species of wild animal and aquatic plants in the state. Using a four-tiered system, invasive species are classified as prohibited, regulated, unregulated nonnative species, or are unclassified and remain as unlisted nonnative species.

This classification system establishes the level of regulation and allowable uses for each species. The MN DNR has regulatory authority over aquatic plants and animals, and terrestrial vertebrates. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has regulatory authority over terrestrial plants (noxious weeds) and plant pests. See the terrestrial invasive species laws web page for more information.

Below is a summary of several current state regulations regarding invasive species. For complete information on state statutes and rules regarding invasive species, call the DNR Invasive Species Program at 651-259-5100, or view the invasive species statutes and rules at the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.

Prohibited invasive species

Certain invasive species that can threaten natural resources and their use have been designated as prohibited invasive species in Minnesota. It is unlawful (a misdemeanor) to possess, import, purchase, transport, or introduce these species except under a permit for disposal, control, research, or education. The prohibited invasive species in Minnesota include the following, and any hybrids, cultivars, or varieties of the species listed below:
Aquatic Plants

Fish

Invertebrates

Mammals

* These species are known to be in Minnesota waters.

Regulated invasive species

It is legal to possess, sell, buy, and transport regulated invasive species, but they may not be introduced into a free-living state, such as being released or planted in public waters. The regulated invasive species are:

Aquatic plants

Birds

Fish

Invertebrates

Reptiles

* These species are known to be in Minnesota waters.

Unregulated nonnative species

The following nonnative species are not subject to regulation under Minnesota Invasive Species Statutes, but refer to fishing and hunting regulations for regulations on fishing, hunting, or transporting these species. 

Fish

Invertebrates

Mammals

Birds

Unlisted nonnative species

Unlisted nonnative species are those that are not prohibited, regulated, or unregulated. Several steps must occur before an unlisted nonnative species may be legally released into a free-living state:

Transportation prohibitions

Current state law prohibits transportation of all aquatic plants (with a few exceptions). This law will not only help prevent the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil, but it will also reduce the risk of zebra mussels being transported while attached to aquatic plants. In addition, it will reduce the inadvertent transport of other harmful plants into or within the state.

Under state law, it is unlawful to:

As of July 1, 2012, a boat lift, dock, swim raft, or associated equipment that has been removed from any water body may not be placed in another water body until a minimum of 21 days have passed.

Regulations on transport of water

As of July 1, 2012, the following regulations apply to the transportation of water in boats and other water-related equipment by boaters from all waters in the state ($100 civil penalty or misdemeanor):

Regulations in infested waters

The DNR designates waters that contain populations of Eurasian watermilfoil, faucet snail, New Zealand mudsnail, zebra mussel, ruffe, round goby, spiny water flea, VHS fish disease, and white perch as infested waters. Those waters will be posted with Invasive Species Alert signs at the public water accesses and listed in the annual DNR Fishing Regulations booklet.

The following regulations apply to activities in infested waters:

Infested Waters List

Regulations on transport of infested water

The following regulations apply to the transportation of water from infested waters:

Infested Waters List

Infested Waters Diversion or Transportation Permit Application

Crayfish regulations

The transportation of live native and invasive crayfish from one waterbody to another within the state is prohibited, except by permit issued by the DNR. Live crayfish or crayfish eggs may not be imported without a permit issued by the DNR. Live crayfish may not be sold for live bait or for use in aquariums. Live crayfish taken from a waterbody can only be used as bait in that same waterbody.