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  • Jodi Eberhardt

Can I control aquatic plants in front of my shoreline?

The removal or destruction of aquatic plants is a regulated activity under the DNR’s Aquatic Plant Management Program. Aquatic plants are a valuable part of the lake

system. They stabilize bottom sediments, protect water clarity, prevent shoreline erosion and provide fish habitat. You are encouraged to keep destruction of aquatic plants

at a minimum. Unless aquatic plants are interfering with lake access, swimming, or other water recreation activities, they should be left alone. If you are seeing unusually high plant growth where it has not previously occurred, look for possible sources of phosphorus getting into the lake from your property that might be fueling this growth, such as excessive runoff, a septic system, or shoreland erosion. If management is desired, consider managing plants only in the swimming area; it is not necessary to have the entire shoreline devoid of submerged aquatic plants. For management, you need to know:

No emergent plants can be destroyed (bulrushes, cattails, wild rice) unless authorized by a DNR permit.

Submerged vegetation can be manually controlled (hand cutting or pulling) in a area not exceeding 2,500 square feet or wider than 50 feet along the shore or half the width of your property, whichever is smaller; more than that requires a permit. Cut or pulled vegetation must be removed from the water and the cleared area must remain in the same

place from year to year.

A permit from DNR Fisheries is needed to:

• Use any chemicals or automated mechanical devices (such as the Crary WeedRoller, Beachgroomer or Lake Sweeper).

• Use copper sulfate for swimmers itch control.

• Remove floating leaf vegetation in an area larger than a channel 15 feet wide to open water.

• Remove or relocate a bog of any size that is free floating or lodged elsewhere than its original location.

• Plant aquatic plants below the OHWL as part of a shoreline restoration project. This activity is encouraged and there is generally no permit charge.

These activities are not allowed in any circumstances:

• Excavating the lake bottom for aquatic plant control, using lake-bottom barriers to destroy or prevent the growth of aquatic plants,

• Removing vegetation within posted fish-spawning areas,

• Removing aquatic plants from an undeveloped shoreline, and

• Removing aquatic plants where they do not interfere with swimming, boating or other recreation.

If you see violations of these permit requirements, or any other permit requirements, contact Planning and Zoning if the violation is above the OHWL, or your Conservation Officer if it is below the OHWL.

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