State MNR urges residents to ensure docks are compliant

Lake service provider companies should also review regulations to ensure that the equipment they sell or install is compliant.

The size of docks and wharves is regulated in Minnesota by the Department of Natural Resources to ensure a balance between the protection and use of public waters. Docks and wharf platforms allow riparian owners to access and enjoy public waters.

However, oversized dock systems can have a variety of negative impacts, including interfering with other waterfront owners, presenting safety and freedom of navigation issues for boaters, shading important aquatic plants, and eliminating waterfall. critical habitat where fish spawn, feed, grow and find shelter. predators.

A wharf is a platform or narrow structure extending from the shore into the water intended for mooring boats and providing access to deeper water for recreational activities. A dock cannot be more than 8 feet wide and cannot be combined with other similar structures to create a wider dock.

A modest platform by the lake from a dock is permitted under certain conditions. A single temporary platform up to 120 square feet measured separately from the access dock, or 170 square feet, including the area of ​​the adjacent access dock, is permitted if the following conditions exist:

  • The access dock must be 5 feet or less in width.

  • The dock must be located on a lake with a shoreline classification of general or recreational development.

In addition to the size requirements, dock owners are encouraged to design and locate their dock to avoid interfering with their neighbors’ water use. A wharf cannot be longer than necessary to achieve its intended use, including reaching navigable water depths.

The docks must not interfere with navigation or constitute a danger to water safety and must allow the free flow of water below. A wharf must not close any part of the lake to other users and must comply with all local ordinances.

Current Minnesota docks and wharf regulations have been around for many years, but not everyone is familiar with them. Residents of the lake might assume that if another owner by the lake has a dock with a large platform, they meet state rules. Sometimes this is not the case.

A useful document on state dock requirements is available on the MNR website. Local hydrologists from the MRN can help lake owners with questions about the docks.

The MNR website also contains links to other useful information for shoreline owners on erosion control and shoreline restoration projects to improve water quality and fish habitat. and wildlife.

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