On July 1, 2014, the Vermont Shoreland Protection Act was enacted to protect water quality, preserve habitat and natural shoreline stability, and protect the economic and recreation benefits of lakes and their shorelines.
The management standards in the Shoreland Protection Act allow lake friendly development and redevelopment proposals to ensure that lakes are protected.
While allowing for lake access and recreational use, the regulation encourages the retention, establishment, and maintenance of vegetative growth to hold the soil, provide shade, and filter and absorb runoff, through the Vegetation Management Standards. The goal of these standards is to maintain the minimum number of trees and shrubs needed to protect the lake and to ensure saplings grow as replacement trees. The Vegetation Management Standards apply to the 100 foot width of shoreland surrounding the lake and use a point system (the same as Maine and New Hampshire) to ensure that each 25 foot by 25 foot section (plot) has a healthy number of trees and saplings, and an ample duff layer (decomposing leaves and twigs). For existing development already in this 100 foot lakeshore buffer area, all native plants are now protected by the Shoreland Protection Act and a permit is required to remove them, with the exception of a hazardous tree or an invasive species.
For more information, see The Vermont Shoreland Protection Act – Frequently Asked Questions at http://www.watershedmanagement.vt.gov/lakes/docs/shoreland/lp_FAQs%20Shoreland%20Protection%20Act.pdf.
In conjunction with the Shoreland Proection Act, these existing education and outreach programs continue to be vitally important to protect Vermont’s lakes: