The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
Subchapter 002 : Alteration of Streams(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 1021)
§ 1021. Alteration prohibited; exceptions
(a) A person shall not change, alter, or modify the course, current, or cross section of any watercourse or of designated outstanding resource waters, within or along the boundaries of this State either by movement, fill, or excavation of ten cubic yards or more of instream material in any year, unless authorized by the Secretary. A person shall not establish or construct a berm in a flood hazard area or river corridor, as those terms are defined in subdivisions 752(3) and (11) of this title, unless permitted by the Secretary or constructed as an emergency protective measure under subsection (b) of this section.
(b) The requirements of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to emergency protective measures necessary to preserve life or to prevent severe imminent damage to public or private property, or both. The protective measures shall:
(1) be limited to the minimum amount necessary to remove imminent threats to life or property;
(2) have prior approval from a member of the municipal legislative body;
(3) be reported to the Secretary by the legislative body within 24 hours after the onset of the emergency; and
(4) be implemented in a manner consistent with the general permit adopted under section 1027 of this title regarding stream alteration during emergencies.
(c) No person shall remove gravel from any watercourse primarily for construction or for sale.
(d) Notwithstanding subsection (c) of this section, a riparian owner may remove up to 50 cubic yards of gravel per year from that portion of a watercourse running through or bordering on the owner’s property, provided:
(1) the material shall be removed only for the owner’s use on the owner’s property;
(2) the material removed shall be above the waterline;
(3) at least 72 hours prior to the removal of 10 cubic yards, or more, the landowner shall notify the Secretary;
(4) however, if the portion of the watercourse in question has been designated as outstanding resource waters, then the riparian owner may so remove no more than 10 cubic yards of gravel per year, and must notify the Secretary at least 72 hours prior to the removal of any gravel.
(e) This subchapter does not apply to dams subject to chapter 43 of this title nor to highways or bridges subject to 19 V.S.A. § 10(12).
(f) This subchapter shall not apply to:
(1) accepted silvicultural practices, as defined by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, including practices which are in compliance with the Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont, as adopted by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation; or
(2) a farm that is implementing an approved U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service streambank stabilization project or a streambank stabilization project approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets that is consistent with policies adopted by the Secretary of Natural Resources to reduce fluvial erosion hazards.
(g) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit, in the normal use of land, the fording of or access to a watercourse by a person with the right or privilege to use the land.
(h)(1) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, recreational mineral prospectors:
(A) shall not operate suction dredges in any watercourse;
(B) may operate sluice boxes in any watercourse, provided:
(i) a request for approval to conduct mineral prospecting shall be filed with and approved by the Secretary; and
(ii) mineral prospecting shall not be conducted on private land without landowner permission, or on State land without permission from the Secretary.
(2) Hand panning prospecting techniques shall be exempt from this subchapter. (Added 1965, No. 111, § 1, eff. June 22, 1965; amended 1969, No. 281 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1975, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1981, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 1983, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 27, 1984; 1987, No. 67, § 4; 1997, No. 106 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 27, 1998; 1999, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. May 29, 2000; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2009, No. 110 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. March 31, 2011; 2011, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 2013; 2015, No. 64, § 22.)