The Watershed Management Division recently celebrated a very special achievement – we’ve received our 500th Shoreland Protection Permit application! The Shoreland Protection Act went into effect just a few short years ago and since that time, the Lakes & Ponds Management and Protection Program has been very busy getting the word out, promoting lake-friendly development, and guiding landowners through the permitting process.
The Shoreland Protection Act was passed with balance in mind, and encourages development that is mindful of the ecological and economic importance of Vermont’s lakes. The intent of the Act is to prevent degradation of lake water quality, preserve vital fish and wildlife habitat, and maintain the natural stability of shorelines. As such, a Shoreland Protection Permit is required to clear vegetation or develop new impervious surface within 250 feet of mean water level. Based on the sheer volume of applications and calls received since July 1, 2014, it is evident that landowners across the state are taking the first steps towards protecting and restoring Vermont’s lakeshores.
Interested in developing your lakeshore camp? Or perhaps you are thinking about buying some waterfront property, and wondering what possibilities exist? Contact a regional permit analyst, who can help guide you through the standards of the Act and a potential permit application. The permitting process often involves a site visit, where the permit analyst can walk the property, discuss the project with you, and look at ways to potentially incorporate Best Management Practices (BMPs) on your lakeshore. Best Management Practices can be as simple as setting aside a no-mow zone on your property, or maybe a bit more challenging, like installing infiltration steps to tackle steep banks.
Are you a professional landscaper or contractor often asked to work on lakeshore property? The Division offers a day-long Natural Shoreland Erosion Control Certification Course to teach contractors about incorporating BMPs in their work. The next round of trainings are scheduled for November 2017, and registration is available at the above link. Healthy shores, healthy waters!