Voices Needed for Lakeshore Protection

A vegetated buffer between the water and any structures can help protect the lake.

The Vermont Legislature has created a Lake Shoreland Protection Commission to provide information about existing and proposed shoreland protection measures and receive public input on ways to improve regulation of shoreland properties. Vermont is currently the only northeastern state without adequate standards in place to protect natural shoreland and minimize damage from development. The Commission has scheduled a series of public meetings between August and October throughout the state. Times, dates, and locations are noted below and on the Commission's website.

Comparison between developed sites in Maine where shoreland protections are in place and Vermont where there are no statewide standards, indicates that a simple vegetated buffer between homes or camps and the lake provides better fish habitat and cleaner water. Developed and grassed shorelands do not offer these ecosystem benefits. 

There are numerous studies that show the negative impact of clearing shorelines on lakes. Results confirm for example:

1.   Bass preferentially buildnests along undeveloped shorelines

2.   Bass take 1.5 growing seasons longer to reach the legal size for catching in developed lakes

3.   Trout get most of their food from terrestrial insects in undeveloped lakes; at most 2% in developed lakes. As a result, trout in developed lakes ingest 50% less energy daily than those in undeveloped lakes

4.   Development decreases macro-invertebrate diversity in lakes leading to less and fewer types of food for fish

5.   Cleared shorelines contribute 18 times more sediment, five times more runoff and seven times more phosphorus to the lake than those where the shoreline is wooded. 

Please attend a nearby meeting. If you can't participate in a meeting you can still contact the commission (LSPComments@ leg.state.vt.us) and tell them that Vermont needs stronger lakeshore protection measures. You can submit written comments on line through Monday October 14, 2013.  

  • Thursday, August 22, 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Camp Kehoe Conservation Camp, Lake Bomoseen, Rutland County
  • Thursday, September 12, 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Lake Morey Inn, 1 Clubhouse Rd in Fairlee
  • Thursday, September 19, 6:00 - 8:00 PM at American Legion Hall, Boardman Street (Behind G. Stone Motors) in Middlebury
  • Thursday, September 26, 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the North Hero Community Hall, 3537 US Route 2, in North Hero
  • Thursday, October 3, 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall, 149 Church Street in Burlington