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DEC Pauses Construction Projects in Vermont Lakes During Spring Fish Spawning Season

March 11, 2024

For Immediate Release – March 11, 2024

Media Contact:
Misha Cetner, Lake and Shoreland Ecologist
Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC Pauses Construction Projects in Vermont Lakes During Spring Fish Spawning Season

Montpelier, Vt. – During the spring fish spawning season, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wants to remind Vermonters that permitted lake encroachment construction projects on public lakes and ponds are typically not allowed from March 15 to July 1.
“Vermont’s public waters offer us many benefits from clean drinking water and recreation to outstanding fish and wildlife habitat,” said DEC Commissioner Jason Batchelder. “By pausing permitted projects during the spring fish spawning season, we can help support the health and breeding success of fish populations statewide.”
Examples of projects that are not allowed during this period include adding rock or other material to the water for shoreline stabilization (such as riprap or seawalls), boathouse reconstruction, dredging, or other projects that disturb the lakebed. 
If you have not finished your project before spawning season, you must stabilize the area. You must also make plans to finish the work after July 1 when spawning season ends, as required in individual Lake Encroachment Permits. Please reach out to your regional Lakes and Ponds Permit contact with questions. 
Projects that do not add rock or concrete to the lake and that do not disturb the lakebed (like installing docks, floats, rafts, or buoys) can continue during spawning season. 
DEC staff will continue to accept and review permit applications during the spring spawning season. After July 1, permitted construction projects may resume or begin as identified in the permit.
“From northern pike to smallmouth bass, thousands of eggs develop and hatch between March 15 and July 1,” said Fish Program Manager Maureen Lynch with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Protecting and promoting fish populations mean not only a healthy aquatic environment but also healthy wildlife populations, a healthy tourism economy, and a higher quality of life for those who value our state's fisheries.”
DEC staff review permit applications and assess any impacts to habitat, water quality, recreation, and other uses. Permitted projects must minimize impacts to fish and wildlife habitat.
Any project that proposes work at, below, or beyond mean water level of public lakes or ponds may require a Lake Encroachment Permit. To learn about other state environmental permits, visit the Permit Navigator
If Misha Cetner is not available (, 802-490-6199), contact Laura Dlugolecki (, 802-490-6133) or Maureen Lynch (, 802-498-4780).


The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont's natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.

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