Sports and Outdoors

Friday, April 17, 2009

Aquatic “weedroller” use may require permit

Indiana DNR Release:

Lakefront property owners using a device known as a “weedroller” to remove aquatic plants from Indiana lakes may need a permit from the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, depending on the size of the affected area.
A weedroller is an electrically operated, mechanical device that attaches to a pier and rolls along the bottom, cutting off plants with a series of fins. It is often marketed as an alternative to chemical herbicides (

According to Indiana law, lake residents must obtain aquatic weed control permits if they remove more than 625 square feet of vegetation, including lily pads, submersed plants, and even algae. A permit is not required if the affected area is less than 625 square feet (25 feet x 25 feet).

A typical weedroller comes in three 7-foot sections and can clear an arc with a 21-foot radius, or 692 square feet, if mounted in a single position along one side of a pier.
“Moving a weedroller to multiple locations or adding sections could also easily exceed the 625 square foot limit,” said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist. “In that case, a permit would be required.
“The exemption from a permit is only to allow a lake resident to create a weed-free area around a pier or beach; however, aquatic plants are important to the ecology of a lake, so we want to provide some level of protection for them.”

An application for a weed control permit, which costs $5, can be found at

Although no permit is required for areas less than 625 square feet, biologists are concerned about improper operation of a weedroller, regardless of the size of the area.
“If the target plant is Eurasian water milfoil, cutting it could make the problem worse,” Pearson said. “Milfoil can reproduce from plant fragments. Every piece a weedroller cuts is a potential new milfoil plant.”
Plant fragments could also create drifting mats of vegetation that pile up and rot along neighboring frontages. As a result, anyone who uses a weedroller is responsible for picking up and disposing of plant fragments.
Plant fragmentation might be reduced if a weedroller is installed early and used continuously.
In some cases, a weedroller may also stir up sediment and cause water-quality problems.
“Reports on the product's Web site that no permits are required in Indiana are not true,” Pearson said. “Lake residents need to be aware of permit requirements before paying the expense to buy and operate one. Limits may also be placed on their use depending on the type of plant and the area where it is located.”

1 comment:

meagain said...

Thanks for clarifying this. We get calls all of the time wondering about this info. We will pass it along and update our website