Permits for Controlling Invasive Species

When do I need a state permit to control or manage invasive species?

Mechanical management typically includes the following practices: hand-pulling, mowing, raking cutting, prescribed burning and water level management or flooding.

Chemical management is the application of herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals to plants or water bodies. 

Before you choose to use chemicals to treat invasive species, be sure you are complying with state regulations. If you decide to apply non-restricted chemicals on your own, be sure to follow all directions as indicated on the product label to protect yourself, others, and the environment.

  • Waters of the State: Defined as groundwaters, lakes, rivers, and streams and all other watercourses and waters, including the Great Lakes, within the jurisdiction of this state. Chemical treatment of waters of the state generally requires a permit. 
  • Great Lakes or Lake St. Clair shorelines, a permit is always required for all chemical treatments below the ordinary high-water mark, regardless of whether there is standing water. Visit the DEQ’s Aquatic Nuisance Control page or 517-284-5593 for more information.
  • Using chemical treatment without a permit when required, or failure to follow a permit for treatment of aquatic invasive species is illegal. Review Part 33 of the Natural Resources Environmental Protection Act (451 of 1994).
  • For areas that will not impact waters of the state, no permit is required for chemical management using non-restricted chemicals on your own property. You may not utilize any management measures on someone else’s land or public land without written permission from the landowner.
  • Restricted use chemicals must only be applied by a certified applicator, regardless of waters of the state.

Other invasive plant management methods include:

  • Benthic barriers (mats used to cover weeds), weed rollers or lake drawdown to manage aquatic weeds – a permit is required for these activities. Visit the DEQ’s Inland Lakes and Streams Permits page or call 517-284-5535.
  • Biological control - there are currently no state requirements for conducting biological control efforts. However, a federal permit may be required. If you have additional questions please call 517-284-5649.

Local Permits: Please contact your local units of government, including counties and townships, as they may have additional requirements or restrictions covering these activities.

Managing other Invasive Species

Mute Swans: If you have mute swans on your property and wish to remove them or their nests and eggs, you must request a permit from your local DNR office. Find out information about mute swan removal applications and permits.

Feral Swine: Under Michigan law, any hunter with any valid Michigan hunting license can shoot feral swine on sight while hunting. A Michigan concealed pistol license holder may also shoot feral swine. Private property owners may also shoot any feral swine on their property and do not need to be in possession of a hunting license. If a hunter harvests a swine, he or she is encouraged to provide samples for disease testing by contacting USDA-Wildlife Services at 517-336-1928. Learn more about the rules for hunting or shooting feral swine in Michigan.

Additional information

Aquatic Nuisance Control

Pesticide Laws and Regulations

Pesticide applicator certification training

Ballast water control permits