Automated aquatic plant control devices (WeedRoller, Lake Maid, and Beach Groomer are common brands) are a popular method of aquatic plant control among lakeshore property owners. These devices are not appropriate for all locations because they have the potential to excavate the lake bottom and suspend sediment. Minnesota rules prohibit excavation to gain access when it can be obtained by alternative means that result in less environmental impact (MR 6115.0200, Subp. 3.). For these reasons, a site inspection and permit are required prior to installing or operating one of these devices in a Minnesota lake.
Purposes for the site inspection:
- to determine whether or not aquatic plants are abundant enough to interfere with recreation
- to identify any critical habitat or aquatic vegetation which may be impacted by operation of the device
- to insure that the lake bottom is firm enough to not be affected by the device
Where can they be used?
Permits are usually granted for sites where the lake bottom is primarily sand with little accumulation of silt or soft sediment. These devices are not allowed at sites where the sediment depth is greater than three inches. Therefore, the DNR recommends that you apply for a permit prior to purchasing one of these devices for aquatic plant control.
As an incentive for homeowners to protect aquatic habitat, the rules allow for a three-year permit option for automated devices, provided the site is appropriate.
This option is available under the following conditions:
- the area to be controlled extends no more than 100 feet along shore or one half the owners frontage whichever is less
- the site does not exceed 2,500 square feet in area