Case Study: Aquatic Vegetation Shredder Restores Minnesota Wetlands


  • Minnesota has 10.6 million acres of wetlands
  • 43% of U.S. threatened or endangered species live or depend on wetlands
  • The state has lost abut 50% of its original wetland acreage
  • Wetland quality is largely degraded in developed parts of the state
  • Native vegetation is found in 67% of wetlands in the northern region

Minnesota wetland with dense vegetation covering the surface.


  • Non-native hybrid cattails displace native plants creating monocultures
  • Invasive species are impacting 82% of the wetlands
  • Waterfowl populations decline as wetlands degrade
  • Wetlands are so overgrown with vegetation that water isn't even visible
  • Shallow ater with a lack of launch sites and sensitive shorelines


With the use of a Tilt Deck Trailer, an Aquarius Systems Swamp Devil® can launch in the shallow wetlands where often there is no clear distinction between land and water. This heavy-duty shredder will effortlessly plow through bogs, cattails, small trees, and other stubborn growth that cannot be managed with traditional harvesting equipment. The Swamp Devil® with the Minnesota DNR at the helm, carves through the subsoil creating an open water channel up to three feet deep and eight feet wide.

Swamp Devil owned and operated by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Open wetland in Minnesota

Chopping the invasive cattails allows native plants such as wild rice, sedges, rushes, and native cattail to recover. The chopped material was collected and deposited on shore creating open water and providing important stopping points for migrating waterfowl. Once the chopped vegetation was removed, crews planted wild rice in areas where the floating cattail mats once dominated; about 7 acres of wild rice has been restored in one portion of one wetland.

The Minnesota DNR will utilize the Aquatic Vegetation Cutter around the state to restore the quality of the wetlands which in turn will increase the water quality in streams and lakes in the region.