On March 13, 2024

Lake encroachment permit required, March 15-July 1


The mean water level (shown with a red arrow) is the average height of a water body over time and often marks where plants no longer grow. Vermont’s DEC warns against permitted lake encroachment construction projects.


During the spring fish spawning season, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds 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 Dept. 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.”

Any project that proposes work at, below, or beyond mean water level of public lakes or ponds may require a Lake Encroachment Permit.

The Dept. of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont’s natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. For more information on lake encroachment permit visit: dec.vermont.gov.


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