Shoreland owners

Help protect Minnesota waters from aquatic invasive species

When removing boats, docks, lifts, or other water-related equipment from lakes and rivers, carefully inspect everything to make sure there are no aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, or New Zealand mudsnails 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 an extended period. In newly infested waters, adult zebra mussels may not be abundant and you might notice only a few mussels on your equipment.

Early detection for zebra mussels is important in protecting your property and Minnesota's water resources. Learn how you can become a volunteer zebra mussel monitor.

Many different invasive species harm Minnesota waters. Visit the DNR website for help identifying plants or animals you suspect are aquatic invasive species. 

Click to enlarge:

illustration of a zebra mussel

Illustration of a zebra mussel.

photo of zebra mussels found on a boat lift

Zebra mussels found on a boat lift.

Zebra mussels are small, fingernail-sized animals that attach to solid surfaces in water. Adults are 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long and have D-shaped shells with alternating yellow and brownish colored stripes.

Here is a photo of zebra mussels found on a boat lift. If you find zebra mussels on your watercraft or equipment, you should take a picture of it, keep a specimen, and report finding to the nearest DNR invasive species specialist.

Reporting aquatic invasive species

Responding quickly to new AIS infestations is critical to help curb the spread into other waterbodies. If you find something you suspect is a zebra mussel, faucet snail, or other aquatic invasive species, note the exact location, take a photo, keep the specimen, and contact a local Minnesota DNR AIS Specialist or fisheries office.

Hiring businesses to install or remove water-related equipment

If you hire a business to install or remove your boat, dock, or lift, or other water-related equipment, make sure they have completed AIS training and are on the DNR's list of Permitted Service Providers. Lake service providers that have completed DNR training and obtained their service provider permit will have a permit sticker in the lower driver's-side corner of their vehicle's windshield. They have attended training on AIS laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.

Moving docks, lifts, and equipment to another waterbody

If you plan to move a dock, lift or other water equipment from one lake or river to another, all visible zebra mussels, faucet snails, and aquatic plants must be removed whether they are dead or alive. According to Minnesota law, the equipment must be free of AIS and dried for 21 days before it can be placed in another waterbody.

Storing lifts and docks for winter

It is legal to 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 moved from infested waters and placed on the shore without a permit.

However, if you want to transport a dock or lift from infested waters to another location for storage or repair, you must have a DNR authorization form to move it legally to the new location.

Authorization form to transport equipment »


Transporting watercraft for storage

When removing watercraft from a Minnesota waters at the end of the boating season, there are two important things to know:

  • First, it is illegal to transport any watercraft with zebra mussels, faucet snails, or other prohibited invasive species attached away from a water access or other shoreland property, even if you intend to put it in storage for the winter.
  • Second, to accommodate boaters who need to transport their watercraft at the end of the season, the DNR developed a special one-way pass, or authorization form. The form allows boaters to move watercraft to another location to clean off invasive species, and once cleaned, to storage it for the winter.

Authorization form to transport watercraft »


Transporting Aquatic Plants for Disposal

Shoreland owners interested in transporting aquatic plants – including aquatic plants with prohibited invasive species attached – to a disposal location must complete a DNR authorization form and have it in their possession while transporting the plants. It is illegal to transport aquatic plants from a shoreland property to a disposal location without a permit.

Authorization form to transport aquatic plants  »