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Watch for aquatic invasive species during cabin close-up

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking that every cabin and lakeshore owner watch for aquatic invasive species (AIS) when removing docks, boat lifts, swim rafts and other equipment from the water.

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Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.

In newly infested waters, adult zebra mussels may not be abundant. On a smooth surface, juvenile mussels feel gritty, like sandpaper.

If a new infestation of zebra mussels, faucet snails or other aquatic invasive species is suspected, the exact location should be noted, a photo taken and a specimen should be kept.

Call 1-888-646-6367 or contact a local DNR AIS specialist at or a fisheries office at

There are also specific legal requirements that cabin owners and boaters must follow when removing and storing watercraft and equipment for the winter or hiring someone to handle it:

When hauling boats or other watercraft to a storage facility away from the shoreline property, make sure there are no invasive species attached. It is illegal to transport watercraft with invasive species attached.

If a watercraft is contaminated with AIS and needs to be transported to another location for cleaning and winter storage, the DNR provides an authorization form to transport watercraft at

The form should be downloaded, completed, signed and kept in possession during transport. Zebra mussels and other invasive plants and animals must be removed before transporting the watercraft back to a lake or other water body.

It is legal to remove a dock, boat lift, dock, weed roller, swim raft, or irrigation equipment from infested waters and place it on the adjacent shoreline property, even if there are zebra mussels or other prohibited invasive species attached.

A permit is not required to place equipment on the shoreline. Contact a DNR AIS specialist if an invasive plant or animal is found that has not been sighted on the lake before.

If someone wants to transport equipment from infested waters to another location for storage, cleaning or repair, they must have an authorization form to transport equipment to legally move it to another location.

If the equipment is to be installed in another water body, all aquatic plants and animals such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil, must be removed – and the equipment must be dried for 21 days before placing in other waters.

Any business or individual in Minnesota receiving payment to decontaminate, install, or remove boats, docks or water-related equipment is required by law to complete AIS training and obtain a permit before working in waters of the state.

Anyone hired to remove a boat or dock must have a current DNR permitted service provider sticker on their windshield. If they work for a lake service provider business, ask to see an employee certificate.

A list of permitted lake services providers is on the DNR website (

Learn more about Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species rules and regulations, and the DNR’s lake service provider program at