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Ask a Conservation Officer: What are the rules for floatplanes and aquatic invasive species?

Q: I live on a lake and we have an AIS (aquatic invasive species) inspection station for boats, yet nothing for the planes that fly in. Are there procedures or inspections for floatplanes regarding invasive species?

A: The guidelines and regulations for preventing the spread of invasive species is similar for floatplanes as it is for watercraft and water-related equipment; it is illegal to transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels or prohibited species, or place/attempt to place into waters of the state a watercraft, float plane or trailer with invasive species attached.

Much of the focus on AIS prevention is focused on watercraft, as they vastly outnumber floatplanes in Minnesota as a probable vector for AIS transport, and inspection stations are limited to those areas with high volumes of traffic and high risk for the spread of prohibited species. Following the laws and regulations is the responsibility of the operators of planes, watercraft, and other equipment.

Look online at for more information on cleaning and inspecting floatplanes to prevent the spread of AIS.

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit. Send your questions to