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Vermont DEC Offers Guidance to Help Property Owners Protect Shorelands

May 14, 2024

For Immediate Release – May 14, 2024

Media Contact:
Alison Marchione, Lake Shoreland Coordinator
Department of Environmental Conservation

Vermont DEC Offers Guidance to Help Property Owners Protect Shorelands

Montpelier, Vt. – As folks head to their lakefront properties for the summer, the Vermont Lakes and Ponds Program is offering guidance to help property owners protect and restore their lakeside properties.

The Shoreland Best Management Practices guidance highlights different ways owners can improve lake water quality and the health of lakeshore habitat. Owners can use this guidance to plant native trees and shrubs, install rain gardens to absorb runoff, improve driveways and pathways, create no-mow zones, and more.

“Healthy lakes offer us many benefits from clean water and wildlife habitat to great places to fish, swim, boat, and relax,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Batchelder. “In 2014, Vermont passed the Shoreland Protection Act. It allows reasonable shoreland development while protecting these key benefits.”

The Shoreland Protection Act regulates new activities in protected shoreland areas that are within 250 feet of the shoreline of lakes and ponds 10 acres in size or greater.

Property owners need a Shoreland Protection Permit for activities in protected shoreland areas that create:

  • Cleared areas (removing vegetation like trees or shrubs or disturbing the natural ground cover) or
  • Impervious surfaces (any hard or solid surfaces like roofs, roads, and parking lots where water runs off instead of soaks in).

Shoreland property owners can use the Sharing the Edge booklet to learn more about regulations to be aware of near the shoreline. The booklet also details what a healthy shoreland looks like and how Vermont manages its public waters.

To ask questions about proposed projects, property owners are encouraged to reach out to their regional Lake and Shoreland permit analyst. They can also visit the online Permit Navigator to find out what other state environmental permits might be needed.

For owners who want to go above and beyond Vermont’s shoreland regulations, the Lake Wise Program can offer technical assistance. The Vermont Lakes and Ponds Program oversees this voluntary initiative. It awards shoreland property owners who develop and manage their property in a lake-friendly manner.

“Since 2013, the Lake Wise Program has worked with lakeshore owners to reduce runoff and erosion into the lake while maintaining healthy lakeshore ecosystems,” said Alison Marchione, DEC Lake Shoreland Coordinator. “So far, 298 lakeshore owners have earned a Lake Wise Award, making a positive impact on our state’s shorelines.”

Learn more about the Lake Wise Program and the Shoreland Best Management Practices guidance. Contact Alison Marchione with any Lake Wise questions at 802-490-6128 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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