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  • Writer's pictureJen

Illinois Aquatic Weed Removal

Spatterdock (Image from the Tennessee Valley Authority)

Can I get rid of the Illinois Pondweed in my pond? How can I do it without getting a bunch of permits?

This is a really common question for us! Actually you might want to leave that one alone. It's great for the ecosystem and increases the amount of oxygen in the water for fish and other species. If it's a nuisance, just cut a little out and rake it away.

However, there are definitely weeds you want to get rid of as soon as possible. Illinois allows you to cut them back without a permit pretty much whenever you like. To learn more, read on!

Are there any invasive plants that I should be aware of?

Yes, there are several. Enough that I wasn't able to find a list by species but by category. You will have to be mindful of some endangered species. Start on page 9 of this checklist by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

It's best to take care of them early and often, so if you're starting to show signs of them appearing it's time to take action today.

The worst offenders are:

  • Algae

  • Duckweed

  • Watermeal

  • Cattail

  • Spatterdock

  • Creeping water primrose

  • American elodea

  • Eurasian watermilfoil

  • Pondweeds

What do I need to know about the law before I start cutting?

We encounter people with misconceptions of questions about the law out at trade shows all the time, so we sifted through the various laws and departments to make it easier for you. Laws can change and we’ll update these guides as quickly as possible. As always, you should contact your local office of the Department of Environmental Quality or Department of Natural Resources for advice on your exact situation.

Note: AquaticWeedTools is not a law firm. As such, AquaticWeedTools does not provide legal advice. The material in this guide does not constitute legal advice nor does contributing to the guide or communicating with AquaticWeedTools or other contributors about the guide create an attorney-client relationship.

The State of Illinois lets you do a lot to clear up the weeds in your ponds or lake without a permit if it’s your land and you’re using mechanical tools.

You really only need a permit if you use a dredger or a mechanical mass harvesting tool that cuts large amounts in a short time, or apply chemicals to the land, water or air according to Illinois law. That means you might need to reach out for help if you have a full blown invasion of Milfoil, but if you just have a little bit of overgrowth keeping you from swimming you can buy tools on Tuesday and be cleared out by Saturday afternoon!

What tools should I use to clear out the weeds around my dock?

The Aquatic Weed Rake from Prime Waters Manufacturing is designed to clear pesky weeds out with minimal effort, and safe enough to be used by any contractor or anyone in the family.

For Michigan weeds, we recommend using the Dock Weed Rake and Dock Weed Knife, and the Surf/Sand Rake to remove them once you're done cutting them down. Simply dispose of them like you would yard debris, compost them or there are companies you can hire to haul them away.

Having a clear pond all summer has never been so easy and safe for your family. If you have any questions at all, reach out to us. Our experts are ready to help!

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