Shoreland Residents

Shoreland residents play an important role in protecting Minnesota waters from aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Invasive species impact shoreland residents. Invasive plants, such as mats of starry stonewort, curly-leaf pondweed, or Eurasian watermilfoil can make navigation difficult, impact swimming activities, and are costly to control. The sharp shells of zebra mussels attached to hard surfaces can cut the feet of swimmers and dogs and makes handling submerged equipment like docks, lifts, and rafts difficult. Invasive species change how we use and enjoy Minnesota waters. 

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Shoreland residents can unintentionally transport aquatic invasive species. Seeds, eggs, larvae, small animals, plant fragments and water can be trapped in your boat, gear and equipment. For example:

  • Zebra mussels and faucet snails attach to hard surfaces of submerged equipment like docks, lifts and rafts, including on parts of equipment that are difficult to see and reach, like inside dock posts and wheels.
  • Aquatic plants can entangle on equipment.
  • Water trapped inside equipment can contain microscopic invasive species such as zebra mussel larvae.
  • Mud, sand, and debris on equipment and beach gear may contain small invasive species, such as zebra mussels, starry stonewort bulbils, or faucet snails.

Did you Know? Minnesota law requires docks, lifts, swim rafts and associated water-related equipment to remain out of the water to dry for 21 days before moving it from one water body to another. 

To help protect Minnesota waters and comply with state law, here are some best practices to reduce your risk of spreading invasive species from one water body to another: 

Before Moving Docks, Lifts, or Rafts

Plan ahead: Minnesota law requires docks, lifts, swim rafts and associated water-related equipment remain out of the water to dry for 21 days before moving it from one water body to another.

  • When buying or selling used equipment (docks, lifts, swim rafts), make sure you have time to dry it for 21 days between removal and installation.
  • You can hire someone to help remove, install, decontaminate or transport your boats, docks, lifts or other equipment. Make sure they have a current Lake Service Provider Permit.

Clean and drain the equipment:

  • Clean equipment to remove plants, small animals, and debris. Pay special attention to parts that were submerged underwater such as: posts, poles, supports, footing, wheels, ladders, steps, floats, buoys, ropes, chains, anchors, etc. Consider these additional steps:
    • Rinse equipment using hot water at 120°F for at least 2 minutes or 140°F for at least 10 seconds to kill AIS.
    • Spray equipment with high-pressure water or use a tool to scrape off stuck‑on debris.
  • Drain all water from equipment.

For storage, repair or cleaning:

Know the laws:

  • Anyone that removes, installs, decontaminates, or transports watercraft or equipment for hire is considered a lake service provider and needs a permit from the DNR.
  • It is illegal to transport aquatic plants or prohibited invasive species, dead or alive, without a permit.
  • It is illegal to transport water away from Minnesota lakes and rivers. You must remove all drain plugs and all water must be drained before transporting equipment off the access site or riparian property.
  • It is illegal to release bait or non-native species into Minnesota waters.

Know what to look for. Learn how to identify aquatic invasive species.

  • 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.
Hire Permitted Lake Service Providers (LSP)

If you hire someone to help remove, install, decontaminate or transport your boats, docks, lifts or other equipment, make sure they have a current LSP Permit and have taken the required DNR training for LSPs.

Here is a list of permitted LSP businesses.

Before Moving Boats and Gear

Plan your visit and gear. If you are planning to go from your lake to another waterbody:

Always arrive cleaned and drained. Double-check all gear and equipment to ensure it is cleaned and drained before heading out. Always drain water from boats and water-related equipment away from a waterbody.

For storage, repair or cleaning:

Know the laws:

  • It is illegal to transport aquatic plants or prohibited invasive species, dead or alive, without a permit.
  • It is illegal to launch watercraft or place a trailer in the water if it has aquatic plants or prohibited invasive species attached, or water present in compartments.
  • It is illegal to transport water away from Minnesota lakes and rivers. You must remove all drain plugs and all water must be drained before transporting equipment off the access site or riparian property.
  • It is illegal to release bait or non-native species into Minnesota waters.
Before Moving Plants for Disposal

Ensure you follow aquatic plant laws. Shoreland owners interested in transporting aquatic plants, including aquatic plants with prohibited invasive species attached, to a disposal location must complete and sign a permit to do so. 

After You Are Done on the Water

Take these required steps before leaving the lake, river or wetland:

  • Clean your boat and any recreational equipment to remove plants, small animals, mud, and debris. Check around bunks and rollers, axels, and near the license plate on the trailer. Check the back of the boat, around the engine, trim tabs, and transducers for vegetation or attached invasive species. Clean mud from anchors and anchor rope.
  • Drain all water. This includes your engine, bait well, live well, ballast tanks, bilge, and any recreational equipment. Lower the motor or lower unit to ensure excess water is drained. Leave plugs out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
  • Never Release bait, aquarium pets or aquatic plants.

Consider these additional recommendations. Some invasive species are small and difficult to see. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another lake or river:

  • Decontaminate your boat, equipment and gear by rinsing with hot water at 120 degrees for 2 minutes or 140 degrees for 10 seconds. If needed, spray with high pressure to remove attached debris.
  • Spray your equipment with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse your gear with tap water.
  • Dry your gear for 5 days before using it in another lake or river, whenever possible.

Report suspicious aquatic plants and animals to the DNR. Take a picture or collect a specimen, note the exact location, and contact your DNR Invasive Species Specialist or log in and submit a report through EDDMapS.

Learn More

How to prevent the spread of invasive species while doing other activities on Minnesota waters.

How to best care for your shoreland property.

Resources

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