Lakes and Ponds Reclassification


The Vermont Water Quality Standards establish designated uses, management objectives, and minimum criteria that all surface waters must meet. Surface waters are classified independently for each designated use. The designated uses in the Vermont Water Quality Standards are:

  • Aquatic biota and wildlife that may utilize or are present in the waters;
  • Aquatic habitat to support aquatic biota, wildlife, or plant life;
  • The use of waters for swimming and other primary contact recreation;
  • The use of waters for boating and related recreational uses;
  • The use of waters for fishing and related recreational uses;
  • The use of waters for the enjoyment of aesthetic conditions;
  • The use of the water for public water source; and
  • The use of water for irrigation of crops and other agricultural uses.

There are four possible classifications of Vermont surface waters: B(2) – good; B(1) very good; A(2) public water source; and A(1) excellent. All waters at or below 2,500 feet are designated Class B(2) for all uses, unless specifically designated as Class A(1), A(2), or B(1) for any use. All waters above 2,500 feet are designated Class A(1) for all uses, unless specifically designated Class A(2) for use as a public water source. All waters must continue to meet the criteria for their classification, otherwise they are then listed as impaired, and a restoration plan must be developed and implemented.

Vermont’s surface waters are managed to, at a minimum, support uses valued by the public at water quality class B(2). Using different criteria, water bodies demonstrating excellent or very good water quality can be “reclassified” to A(1) or B(1) status respectively, giving those waters a higher standard of protection. All waters must continue to meet the criteria for their classification, otherwise they are listed as impaired, and a restoration plan must be developed and implemented.

The classification structure for all surface waters is established by the legislature and individual reclassification decisions are made through rulemaking by the Agency of Natural Resources Secretary pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 1253. The public may petition the Agency to reclassify a waterbody for any of the designated uses.

For Vermont’s lakes and ponds, the VWQS contain numeric nutrient criteria that water bodies must meet or exceed, to maintain water quality in full support of aesthetic conditions uses at the A(1), B(1), or B(2) levels. Simply put, if a lake meets or exceeds certain thresholds for Total Phosphorus concentrations or related nutrient response conditions, it is eligible for reclassification. These thresholds are defined in Table 3 of the VWQS, which is pasted below, and a water body must meet the data standard defined to demonstrate “full support of uses” in Vermont’s Surface Water Listing and Assessment Methodology for the A(1), B(1) or B(2) classifications. Specifically, a lake would need five straight years of data at or below the A(1) total phosphorus concentrations to be eligible for reclassification to A(1) status. 

Reclassification does not mean there can be no land-based activities or active management in the watersheds, lakeshores, or stream corridors of watersheds that are (re)classified to A(1) or B(1) status. Instead, the activities must be carried out in such a way as to maintain the excellent or very good conditions of water bodies for those uses. Activities in the watersheds or stream corridors of Class A(1) surface waters can be continued with the exception of the following prohibitions in Class A waters:

  • A direct discharge of any wastes that, prior to treatment, contained organisms pathogenic to human beings. (10 V.S.A. § 1259)
  • New indirect discharge systems (e.g., in-ground septic system) with a design flow greater than 1,000 gallons per day. The design flow of an existing soil-based system that discharges to Class A waters may not be increased if the total design flow will exceed 1,000 gallons per day. In addition, for a permit to be issued, there must be no more than one soil-based disposal system per lot and no more than one lot per application. (10 V.S.A. § 1259)
  • The Solid Waste Management Rules prohibit siting solid waste management facilities (§ 6-702) and application of biosolids or septage (§ 6-1306) in Class A watersheds.


Current Petitions

Pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 1253, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation received a petition to reclassify the following lakes:

Maidstone Lake

Petition Received: September 7, 2021

Reclassification to: (A)1 Status

Designated Uses: Aesthetics Uses; Swimming Uses

  • Petition
  • Attachments
  • Maps

Public Meeting and Comment Period Notice 


Response to Comments


Written Comments Received


Lake and Watershed Map Data

Maidstone Lake

Land Cover Map: The linked map set shows land cover data for Maidstone Lake with the following features:

  • Lake and Watershed
  • 100 foot buffer around the lake
  • 250 foot buffer around the lake
  • 100 foot buffer around the lake and tributary
  • 100 foot buffer around tributaries

Lake Scorecard: The Vermont Inland Lake Score Card is a user-friendly interface developed by the Vermont Lakes and Ponds Management and Protection Program to share available data on overall lake health with lake users.   Links embedded in the Score Card open deeper views into the underlying data and point to steps Vermonters can take to protect their lakes.

Depth Chart: A depth chart for Maidstone Lake from 1951

Lay Monitoring Report: An annual report for Maidstone Lake providing the data used for the reclassification effort.

WSMD - lp Lakes Home