DNR Q & A: Rules to keep in mind when installing a dock

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources field staff, resource managers and the DNR Information Center staff answer many questions every day about natural resources topics. Here is one of them:

Q. Are there statewide rules about where I can place my dock?

A. Statewide rules do not specify where a dock needs to be placed.

However, there are a few rules to keep in mind. You need to own or control the land from which your dock originates, avoid posted fish spawning areas, and you cannot install a dock that obstructs navigation or creates a water safety hazard.

Docks and lifts should be placed so that mooring and maneuvering of your watercraft can normally be confined within your property lines as if they were extended into the water perpendicular to the shoreline. Due to the curvature of some shorelines and the configuration of lots, sometimes property lines extending into the water can run at angles rather than perpendicular to the shoreline.

When the shoreline curve is tight, the water level low, or an additional dock is installed, conflict can be minimized by the dock owners working together to arrive at the best placement, or by sharing a common dock.

There are some counties and communities in Minnesota that have adopted ordinances to regulate lot line setbacks and other aspects of dock placement.

Your local planning and zoning office should be able to answer questions about local restrictions on dock placement.

For more information, visit http://go.usa.gov/VD7.

­—  John Gleason, DNR public waters hydrologist

For more information, call the DNR information line at 296-6157 or go to the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

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