Aquatic plant questions & answers

Why do I need a permit to control my lake weeds?

The water and lake bed below the ordinary high water level is public property for all residents of Minnesota to enjoy, including the aquatic vegetation.

The Aquatic Plant Management permitting program exists to enable adjacent property owners to reasonably recreate and access their property by allowing limited destruction of nuisance aquatic plants.

Does aquatic plant control work?

Satisfactory plant control depends on your perspective and the situation. Some control methods are better than others against certain pests, and some locations are simply too productive to expect “one and done” solutions.

Maintaining a cleared area will typically require some level of repeated control regardless of the method. The level of plant growth that results in a nuisance situation also will fluctuate between and within years, making it difficult to evaluate satisfaction.

What can I do about swimmer's itch?

Swimmer's itch is caused by a parasite, not aquatic plants or algae. Learn more about swimmer’s itch and what to do.

How do I clean-up my shoreline?

We often hear from lakeshore residents that they want to "clean-up" their waterfront area. While some may see abundant plant growth as unsightly, in many cases this is a natural feature of the lake – just like other habitat such as fallen trees.

Creating or maintaining a waterfront beach void of vegetation is neither natural nor feasible in many situations. Permits will neither be issued for activity that is meant to improve the aesthetics of a shoreline nor will they be issued for control along undeveloped shorelines.

What is the difference between an APM permit and an IAPM permit?

The Aquatic Plant Mangement program issues APM permits, for a fee, to lakeshore property owners to destroy plants to gain access or facilitate reasonable recreation adjacent to their property. APM staff will assess the needs of the property owners while considering the conservation needs of the aquatic plant community.

The Invasive Aquatic Plant Managment program issues IAPM permits, free of charge, for the selective control of invasive aquatic plants with the intent to cause a significant reduction in the abundance of the invasive plant. IAPM staff work closely with organizations on a whole-lake scale to improve the ecological function of the native plant community.

Who should I hire?

DNR does not endorse any plant control companies but a lists of permitted mechanical control companies and Minnesota Department of Agriculture licensed pesticide applicators are available.

Are pesticides safe?

Only pesticides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are allowed in Minnesota. EPA evaluates pesticides to ensure that when they are used according to label directions they will not harm people, non-target species or the environment.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture regulates pesticide use in the state, including frequent inspections of commercial applicators. Despite significant oversight, risk remains in instances where applications occur counter to label requirements.

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