Minnesota DNR Regulations on Muck Removal

Organic sediment (muck) builds up when plants do not fully decompose. This happens if there is an overload of dead, decaying plant material, excessive algae blooms, or if the environment is not suitable for healthy bacteria activity. Hence why muck removal in lakes is so important. Muck is high in organics (food), nitrogen, and phosphorous. These variables are increased by other organisms such as bugs, microbes, dead weeds, dead algae, as well as animal, waterfowl, and fish waste. Muck is also greatly influenced by material that finds its way into the water body in the form of blowing debris, such as grass clippings, twigs, leaves, and runoff from surrounding areas. As this cache of organic waste decays, it breaks down into slime, or as we call it, muck.

In Minnesota, there are certain regulations backing the removal of muck and other aquatic plants available in public waters. Under these laws, muck may not be transplanted or destroyed because of their ecological benefits. In a bid to ensure that our water bodies are as safe and healthy as possible, the Department of Natural Resources must authorize, monitor, and control most muck removal processes.

Highlighted below are some of the prohibited activities in any muck removal process, according to the MN DNR:

  • Laying a plastic mat beneath the lake to remove muck.
  • Removing muck from undeveloped shorelines.
  • Clearing muck within posted fish-spawning regions.
  • Removing aquatic plants from an undeveloped shoreline.
  • Eliminating muck from areas that do not interfere with recreation purposes.
  • Blowers cannot point toward the sediment of the lake to blow the muck away and out of your lakefront. This is also known as dredging and there is a penalty for trespassing this regulation.

Muck Pellets and How They Work

The pellets are a combination of natural beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and vitamins. They stimulate the biological activity at your lake bottom. When they sink into the muck, this stimulation allows the bacteria to feed on the organic sediment; therefore, reducing the muck levels in a localized area. All the muck-eating bacteria and enzymes stay right where they sink and chew up the muck around them, so nothing is washed away. You will be treating only your beach, shoreline, or pond — not your neighbors’ or the entire lake. The bacteria are good for the microbial environment of your lake and will not harm aquatic plant species, fish, waterfowl, or people. To learn more about muck pellets, how they work, and recommendations click here.

5 Proactive Steps to Speed Up Muck Reduction

  1. Pair the use of the muck bacteria pellets with constant aeration
  2. Complete Spring and Fall underwater cleanups to remove decaying weeds, leaves, grass clippings, twigs, and dead algae
  3. Maintain and remove aquatic weeds throughout the summer
  4. Clean up floating weeds whenever you see them beginning to collect along your lakeshore
  5. Limiting the use of pesticides to kill plants which then sink to the bottom of your lakeshore and decay into muck

Due to the cost of labor, Waterfront Restoration services do not include the removal of muck by hand or by dredging. To ensure you are following all muck removal regulations, call your local DNR office or Waterfront Restoration at 952-356-0614. We will provide you with all the information you need regarding muck removal from your lakefront.