Invasive Species Laws

Know the laws

Laws and regulations at the state and federal level are designed to stop the introduction and spread of invasive species. These laws are often complicated. Following a few best practices can keep you on the right side of the law.

sell aquatic organisms icon

Registration to sell aquatic organisms

State law requires anyone selling live, non-native aquatic organisms in Michigan to register and annually report to the Department of Natural Resources. 
  • Registrations are annual and expire on Dec. 31. 
  • Separate registration is required for each location (storefront, home or event) where live non-native aquatic organisms are being sold. 
  • Records of non-native aquatic animal and plant species sold must be submitted annually by March 1. 
  • All auctions, trade shows, swaps or other events in Michigan offering aquatic animals or plants for sale must submit a trade show notification form at least 10 days in advance of the event.
Additional information including registration, reporting and trade show notification forms, is available at


don't move firewood

Don’t move firewood

This is the best practice for stopping the spread of forest pests and diseases.

  • To protect against the introduction or spread of invasive forest pests such as Asian longhorned beetle, thousand cankers disease, spotted lanternfly, oak wilt and beech bark disease, choose firewood that is certified as heat treated. If certified firewood is not available, obtain firewood local to the area where you will be using it. Find firewood in Michigan at
  • You can no longer bring firewood into some National Parks, Forests and Lakeshores in Michigan.  Know the rules before you visit.
  • At times, quarantines may regulate the movement of firewood within or into the state of Michigan. Know the current firewood laws.

stop aquatic hitchhikers

Boating Laws

Clean, Drain and Dry boats, trailers and gear to prevent moving aquatic invasive species and fish diseases.


  • It is illegal to place a boat, boating equipment, or boat trailer in the water in Michigan if the boat, equipment or trailer has an aquatic organism attached, including plants.
  • Before transporting any watercraft over land, boaters are required to:
    • Remove all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks and live wells.
    • Drain all water from live wells and bilges.
    • Ensure the watercraft, trailer and all conveyances are free of aquatic organisms, including plants.

Violation of the law is a state civil infraction. Violators may be subject to fines. Find out more about this law and penalties

don't dump your bait

Don’t Dump Bait

Dispose of bait on land or in the trash to stop the spread of invasive species and fish disease.

  • It is illegal to release baitfish into any waters of the state
  • Baitfish or cut bait may be used only in the waters where it was caught.
  • Fish may be released only in the waters where they were caught.

Violation of the law is a state civil infraction. Violators may be subject to fines.

View the law prohibiting release of fish and baitfish and limiting the use of caught baitfish.

Don’t buy, sell, keep or move invasive species

Many invasive species are prohibited or restricted by state or federal laws.


DON’T MAKE A MOVE until you check for the Gypsy Moth

Anyone moving out of state must comply with this federal quarantine regulation.

  • People who live in the gypsy moth quarantine area — which includes the state of Michigan—must use PPQ Form 377 to inspect their outdoor household goods for gypsy moth before they move to a non-infested area.
  • The Federal gypsy moth regulations (Title 7 Code of Federal Regulations 301.45-4) require this action to prevent the human-assisted movement of this damaging pest of woody plants.
  • A copy of the form must accompany the household goods during the move. This checklist may be completed by the person moving or by a qualified certified applicator.
  • Once completed and signed, the checklist is an official certificate that will satisfy Federal requirements for interstate moves.

State and Federal Laws
State Laws and Regulations

Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act - NREPA (451 of 1994, as amended) “AN ACT to protect the environment and natural resources of the state; to codify, revise, consolidate, and classify laws relating to the environment and natural resources of the state; to regulate the discharge of certain substances into the environment; to regulate the use of certain lands, waters, and other natural resources of the state; to protect the people's right to hunt and fish; to prescribe the powers and duties of certain state and local agencies and officials; to provide for certain charges, fees, assessments, and donations; to provide certain appropriations; to prescribe penalties and provide remedies; and to repeal acts and parts of acts.”   

Part 413 of NREPA (Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994, Section 324.41301) defines prohibited and restricted species in Michigan and limits the possession, import or sale of such species.  

The Natural Resources Commission Prohibited and Restricted Aquatic Invasive Species Order Amendment 1 of 2014 adds to the list of prohibited and restricted species in Michigan outlined in Part 413 of NREPA.

Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development Invasive Species Order No. 1 of 2015 adds Water Soldier to the list of prohibited species in Michigan.

Department of Natural Resources Invasive Species Order Amendment No. 1 of 2020 adds Marbled Crayfish to the list of prohibited species in Michigan.

List of Prohibited & Restricted Species in Michigan

Requirements for possession of live prohibited and restricted organisms and penalties for violations as expressed in Part 413 of NREPA. 

Part 33 of NREPA, Aquatic Nuisance Control (Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994, Section 33), defines permitted actions and procedures for the treatment of aquatic nuisance species.


Annual Invasive Species Report - March 2013

Annual Invasive Species Report - February 2014

Annual Invasive Species Report - March 2015

Michigan's Invasive Species Program Annual Report 2015

Michigan's Invasive Species Program Annual Report 2016

Michigan's Invasive Species Program Annual Report 2017

Michigan's Invasive Species Program Annual Report 2018

Michigan's Invasive Species Program Annual Report 2019

Federal Permits - A permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is required for most activities that alter Great Lakes coastal areas (except mowing). Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District at 1-888-694-8313. 

Federal Laws and Regulations

The Lacey Act:  Under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42, as amended), the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to regulate the importation and transport of species, including offspring and eggs, determined to be injurious to the health and welfare of humans, the interests of agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and the welfare and survival of wildlife resources of the U.S.  These injurious species may not be imported into or transported between states, districts or territories of the U.S. without a permit issued by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 2008 Farm Bill (the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008), amended the Lacey Act by expanding its protection to a broader range of plants and plant products. The Lacey Act now also makes it unlawful to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration.   

Species Injurious to Wildlife:  A current list of species considered injurious to wildlife under the Lacey Act: 

The Plant Protection Act of 2000, (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) which includes the Noxious Weed Control and Eradication Act of 2004, regulates the movement of plants, plant products, biological control organisms, and noxious weeds and authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to “publish, by regulation, a list of noxious weeds that are prohibited or restricted from entering the United States or that are subject to restrictions on interstate movement within the United States.” Plant Protection Act and Noxious Weed Control and Eradication Act of 2004 

The Federal Noxious Weed List expresses the noxious weeds that are prohibited or restricted from entering or being transported throughout the United States.  

The Clean Boating Act of 2008 (Jul 29, 2008) directs EPA to develop management practices for recreational vessels to mitigate adverse effects from recreational boat discharges, such as bilgewater, graywater and deck runoff, that may contain substances harmful to water quality or spread invasive species.  f

The National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-332), a reauthorization and amendment of the Non-Indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-646), is intended to prevent invasive species from entering inland waters through ballast water.  

18 U.S. Code § 46 - Transportation of water hyacinths - prohibits interstate transportation, delivery, receipt or sales of alligator grass (alternanthera philoxeroides), or water chestnut plants (trapa natans) or water hyacinth plants (eichhornia crassipes) or the seeds of such grass or plants.

Ballast water- In addition to state laws there are a variety of federal and international laws regarding ballast water that are not listed here. Contact the DEQ for additional information.