Inspect watercraft and water equipment for AIS
When pulling watercraft or water-related equipment out of the water, be sure to inspect it and see if aquatic invasive species are attached. Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for any extended period. In newly infested waters, adult zebra mussels may not be abundant, so there may only be a few mussels on a piece of equipment.
Check for zebra mussels, which are yellowish-tan and brown striped, and range in size from one-eighth inch to about one inch long.
People who find something they suspect is a zebra mussel, faucet snail or other aquatic invasive species should take a picture of it, keep a specimen, and report finding to the nearest DNR invasive species specialist.
Click to enlarge:
Illustration of a zebra mussel.
Zebra mussels found on a boat lift.
Moving docks, lifts, equipment, and plants from infested water
Watercraft transportation and storage
When removing watercraft from lakes or rivers at the end of the boating season, there are two important things to know:
- First, it is illegal to transport any watercraft, which have zebra mussels, faucet snails or other prohibited invasive species attached, away from a water access or other shoreland property even if it is to put them in storage for the winter.
- Second, to accommodate the thousands of boaters that face that dilemma, the DNR developed a special one-way pass, or DNR authorization form. The form allows boaters to transport watercraft to a location for removing prohibited species and storage, or once cleaned to a storage location such as a garage or boat shed.
Storing lifts and docks for winter
You may legally take water-related equipment out of infested waters, even if it has zebra mussels or other prohibited invasive species attached, and place it on the adjacent shoreline property. Boat lifts, docks, swim rafts, weed rollers, irrigation equipment or pumps can be taken out of infested waters and placed on shore without a permit.
If you must transport a dock or lift from infested waters to another location for storage or repair, you must use a DNR authorization form to legally transport it to the location for cleaning.
Moving docks, lifts...
If you need to move equipment from any lake or river to another water body, visible zebra mussels and faucet snails must be removed, and it has to go through a 21-day drying period before it can be placed in other waters.
Transport of Aquatic Plants for Disposal
It is illegal to transport aquatic plants from shoreland property to a disposal location if there are prohibited invasive species such as zebra mussels attached. However, shoreland owners may transport aquatic plants or aquatic plants with prohibited invasive species attached to a disposal location if they use a DNR authorization form.