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Shoreland Permit Program


Effective July 1, 2014, the Vermont Legislature passed the Shoreland Protection Act (Chapter 49A of Title 10, §1441 et seq.), which regulates shoreland development within 250 feet of a lake’s mean water level for all lakes greater than 10 acres in size. The intent of the Act is to prevent degradation of water quality in lakes, preserve habitat and natural stability of shorelines, and maintain the economic benefits of lakes and their shorelands. The Act seeks to balance good shoreland management and shoreland development.   

This permit program is managed by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Watershed Management Division:

Region Map & Contacts

Regional Map & Contacts


What activities need a permit or registration

Any new development, redevelopment, or clearing of a property, may require a permit or registration.

Use the new Shoreland Project Worksheet (PDF, 218 KB) to determine if your residential project needs a permit or registration.

We have also developed The Vermont Shoreland Protection Act: A Handbook for Shoreland Development (PDF, 2.3 MB) to help explain the Shoreland Protection Act and the permit or registration process.


The following are examples of projects that do not need to be registered or permitted through the Shoreland Permit Program. Refer also to 10 V.S.A Chapter 49A, Section 9. TRANSITION.

  • Maintenance of existing buildings, gardens, and lawns, without enlarging them.
  • Creation of a single six foot wide footpath to access the lake.
  • Re-construction of existing impervious areas without increasing or changing the current footprint, such as rebuilding a house, deck, or driveway within the exact same footprint.
  • Removal of 250 square feet of vegetation under three feet in height, 25 feet from the mean water level, is allowed as long as the Vegetation Management Practices are met and the duff layer is not removed.
  • Tree removal and pruning within 100 feet of the mean water level using the Vegetation Management Practices.
  • A permit or registration is not required for a projects that qualify under the following transition language: Section. 9 Transition (PDF, 81 KB).

Application (Instructions, Registrations, Permits & Fees)

It is strongly recommended that applications be submitted at least 30 days before the proposed beginning date of the project. The standard minimum review times is 15 days for registrations and 40 days for permit applications.

Shoreland Registration Application: PDF (117 KB)

Shoreland Permit Application: PDF (116 KB)

Shoreland Permit Application Instructions: PDF (235 KB)

Shoreland Permit Jurisdictional Determination Request Form: PDF (103 KB)

Fee schedule: The appropriate application fees, pursuant to 3 V.S.A. Section 2822(j) (32), are listed below.


     Registration Application

     Permit Application


New Impervious Surface Area



$0.50 per square foot


Review & Public Notice

To review and submit comments regarding Shoreland Permit Applications, please visit the Shoreland Permit Public Notice webpage.

To review Shoreland Registration Applications, please visit the Shoreland Registration Application webpage.




Decisions by DEC may be appealed to the Vermont Environmental Court - 2418 Airport Road, Suite 1, Barre VT 05641-8701; (802) 828-1660 - within thirty days of the date the decision is issued, pursuant to 10 V.S.A. Chapter 220. For additional information, visit the Vermont Rules for Environmental Court Proceedings, available on line at

Shoreland Application Resources

Delegated Municipal Authority

Municipal Delegation Summary (PDF, 111 KB)

The Shoreland Permit Program will delegate permit authority to municipalities, as long as the municipality seeking delegation has fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Has adopted a bylaw or ordinance functionally equivalent to the shoreland standards.
  • Has adequate resources for administration and enforcement of the bylaw or ordinance.

Landowners in delegated municipalities do not need a state shoreland permit for creation of cleared area or impervious surface within the Protected Shoreland Area. Contact the appropriate municipal office for information regarding permitting of projects in the shoreland. The following is a list of delegated municipalities:

  1. Town of Colchester (link to webpage)
  2. Town of Greensboro (link to webpage)
    • Only certain shoreland areas in Greensboro are delegated to the town. The state retains jurisdiction over projects located in the following shoreland areas: Horse Pond, east shore of Lake Eligo, and Little Eligo Pond.

For more information, contact Susan Warren, Lakes & Ponds Program Manager at (802) 490-6134,

Additional Resources


Updated December 10, 2014

VT DEC Watershed Management Division 1 National Life Drive, Main 2  Montpelier, VT  05620-3522  Tele: 802-828-1535   Fax: 802-828-1544


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