Watercraft Registration Fees to Double in Minnesota! Here's Why | Outdoor Newspaper
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Aquatic invasive species are a growing problem in almost every body of water in the United States. Minnesota is going to do something about it.

For 26 years the fee for registering a watercraft in Minnesota has remained the same, in a measure that has the support of the majority of boating and lake groups the AIS registration surcharge will double in price beginning July 1 of 2019.

It is should be supported by anyone who enjoys any outdoor recreational activity involving water because the increase will have a huge impact on how well Minnesota can work to not only manage the problem of aquatic invasive species but also work to prevent further spread to uninfected bodies of water.

This measure is highly significant as there has been no fee increase to AIS registration surcharges since 1993, this fact should make the fee charge of $5 to $10.60 a bit easier to swallow.

The surcharge will be put into effect when people register a new watercraft or when they renew the registration on the watercraft they already own.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has always focused a great deal of time and attention on reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species. The AIS surcharge will assist the Minnesota DNR and its partners in not only managing the existing infestations but more importantly to stop or reduce the spread of AIS infections into new bodies of water. The increases will also help prevent new species from getting a stranglehold on any area’s water bodies.

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Controlling AIS infections can be costly. There are many things that need to be taken into consideration.. The DNR needs many tools to keep things under control. AIS inspections are of utmost importance. It is equally important however that they have the funding to investigate areas that may have new infestations of either common AIS or of new ones that have previously not been in the area.

Many management grants have had to be cut due to lack of money, this has the potential to create a huge problem.

The AIS surcharge fee increase will bring in an increase of $880,000.00 per year that can be put toward the Invasive species program run by the DNR for the fiscal years 2020 – 2021. A portion of these funds will be earmarked to get the grants reinstated.

Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan included AIS surcharge increase in their budget package. The Fee was included in this year’s omnibus environment and natural resources bill and was passed by the Minnesota Legislature.

Heidi Wolf who is the Supervisor of the Invasive Species Unit of the Minnesota DNR had this to say about the fee increase:

“We’re grateful to the lake associations, boating groups and many others who supported this long-needed increase,” Heidi  Wolf went on to state: “They are a vital part of the important and effective work Minnesotans are doing to prevent the spread of and manage aquatic invasive species.”

The Minnesota DNR has made laws specifically to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive species.

It is imperative that ALL boaters and anglers follow these laws Every time they take their watercraft out.

Follow these laws and do your part to keep invasive species under control:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all of the water by removing drain plugs, keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
Eurasian Milfoil is one of many aquatic invasive species infesting Minnesota waters.
Eurasian Milfoil is one of many aquatic invasive species infesting Minnesota waters.


Aquatic Invasive species are not always easy to spot. Most everyone has seen Eurasian Milfoil. It is usually quite obvious when it is present in a pond, or lake it is easy to spot.



Other invasive species are a bit harder to spot. They may be very small and hard to see or be in areas of the watercraft that are difficult to see into. Zebra mussels are quite small and very tiny when they are young.


Smaller yet is the Spiny Water Flea.

They can live in the water that is not drained from the boat such as live wells, ballast tanks, and other places that hold water. They also can attach to rig lines anchors and ropes.



Take one or more of the following precautions before putting the boat in any other body of water. This is especially important if you are taking your watercraft from an area that is known to be infested with an aquatic invasive species.


Always follow these simple steps when transporting a watercraft:

  • Spray with very high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for a minimum of two minutes or at 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

Following these steps will kill or dislodge any Aquatic Invasive Species who may be “hitchhiking” on your watercraft.

The best way to stop the spread of these plants and animals is by following the laws and suggestions given here.

Remember the water is for everyone. We enjoy it let’s be sure our children and grandchildren can enjoy it too.

You can find out more about the many aquatic invasive species that lurk in Minnesota waters and most importantly how to prevent their spread at mndnr.gov/ais.

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