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Paynesville Press - July 9, 2003

DNR requires shoreland permits

Lakeshore owners who are preparing their property for boating and swimming this summer are reminded that removing aquatic plants or altering shoreline often requires a permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

DNR staff members who issue permits for shoreline alteration or aquatic plant removal can help lakeshore owners avoid harming the lake or river near their home, said Steve Enger, DNR Division of Ecological Services.

"Aquatic plants and natural shorelines provide habitat for fish and wildlife, help maintain water clarity and protect shorelines from erosion," Enger said. "Changing the shoreline or improperly removing aquatic plants can seriously damage the lake in the long term."

While cutting or pulling submerged vegetation in a small area for recreation is allowed without a permit, the following activities require a $20 Aquatic Plant Management Permit, which is valid for one year: using herbicides or algicides to control aquatic plants in public waters; removing emergent vegetation, like bulrush, cattails, or wild rice; removing floating leaf vegetation, like water lilies, in an area larger than a channel 15 feet wide extending to open water; cutting, pulling, or mechanically controlling vegetation in an area larger than 2,500 square feet or wider than 50 feet; removing or relocating a bog of any size that is free floating or lodged in any area other than its original location; installing or operating an automated plant control device (such as a Crary WeedRoller, Beachgroomer, or Lake Sweeper).

Projects that do not require an Aquatic Plant Management Permit include: cutting or pulling submerged vegetation like coontail or sago from an area that does not extend more than 50 feet along the shore or more than one half your frontage width, whichever is smaller, not exceeding 2,500 square feet; and cutting or pulling floating leaf plants, like water lilies, to create a channel 15 feet wide extending to open water.

Cut or pulled vegetation must be removed from the water and the cleared area must remain in the same place each year.

Many lakeshore property owners are restoring their shoreline property to a more natural condition. The DNR supports protection and restoration of shoreline, but encourages property owners to plan these projects carefully. A permit from the DNR is required to plant aquatic vegetation below the ordinary high water mark of public waters. This will help reduce the potential for adverse impacts from these projects There is no charge for this permit.

Lakeshore owners who are considering projects that would alter their shoreline or lake bottom should review the DNR Division of Waters permit requirements before work begins. Certain types of shoreline and lake bottom alterations below the ordinary high water level of public waters or public water wetlands require an individual Public Waters Work Permit. Activities that fall under this requirement include excavating, dredging, filling, draining, or the placement of structures.

Information on both the Aquatic Plant Management Program and the Public Waters Permit is available on the DNR website at or by calling the DNR Information Center toll free at 1-888-MINN-DNR. Aquatic plant management permit applications and information may be directly accessed on the DNR website under ecological services.

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