ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota residents with lakefront property are being reminded not to clear aquatic vegetation without a permit, because the plants help stabilize the shoreline.

Officials say residents sometimes remove vegetation to keep beaches clear for swimming. But that removes vital habitat for fish and birds, and it also leaves the shoreline vulnerable to erosion.

So the state Department of Natural Resources is beefing up its enforcement regarding the removal of lake vegetation. Instead of warning people who remove aquatic growth, the agency will issue $285 tickets.

Current enforcement is centered on White Bear Lake and the Chisago Lakes area.

Homeowners can buy a $35 permit that allows them to clear half their frontage, to a maximum of 100 feet.