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Tips for Closing Up a Lakefront Camp: Remove Docks, Forgo Bubblers, and Help Protect Lakes

September 18, 2023

For Immediate Release – September 18, 2023

Media Contact:
Laura Dlugolecki, Environmental Analyst
Department of Environmental Conservation

Tips for Closing Up a Lakefront Camp: Remove Docks, Forgo Bubblers, and Help Protect Lakes

Montpelier, Vt. – With the fall ahead, shoreland residents are getting ready to close their camps for the season. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging residents to either remove their docks from the water, or if ice damage is not a concern, to let them freeze in place. Forgoing aeration devices designed to prevent ice buildup around your dock will help protect Vermont lakes and public safety.

If you are planning to install a bubbler, ice eater, or de-icer near your dock, you will need to apply for a Lake Encroachment Permit. Bubblers attach to docks and circulate air in the water. They are often used or marketed to reduce ice, aquatic plants, or sediment.

“Our department manages public waters on behalf of the State to protect water quality, habitat, and recreation,” said Bethany Sargent, Deputy Director of the DEC Watershed Management Division. “In the winter, bubblers create a pool of open water around docks, which can be unsafe for ice skaters, ice fishers, and other Vermonters using our public waters to recreate.”

“Ice cover is also a key part of the natural life cycle for fish and wildlife and offers critical winter habitat,” said Laura Dlugolecki, DEC Environmental Analyst. “Placing bubblers or other aeration devices into public lakes and ponds may impact the lake’s environmental health.”

Any project at, below, or beyond the mean water level of public lakes or ponds may require a Lake Encroachment Permit. The mean water level is the average water level of a lake or pond during the summer months and is often the natural boundary where terrestrial plants can no longer grow.

DEC staff carefully consider all proposed activities in Vermont’s waters and assess any impacts to habitat, water quality, recreation, and other uses. Permitted projects must minimize impacts on the public good and the public trust.

Learn more and apply for a Lake Encroachment Permit. Visit the Permit Navigator to learn about other state environmental permits. If you have questions, contact your regional Lake and Shoreland Permit Analyst.

If Laura Dlugolecki is not available at 802-490-6133 or, contact Misha Cetner at 802-490-6199 or


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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