White Iron Chain Of Lakes Association
Shoreline Management – Lakeshore Alteration
Many lake property owners may wonder what permits are needed to do certain alteration activities on their lakeshore.
According to the Minnesota DNR, work that is proposed below the ordinary high water level (OHWL) of public waters and public waters wetlands may require a DNR public waters work permit, and should be coordinated through the DNR area hydrologist representing the area where the work is being proposed. Examples of activities include excavating rocks and material or providing fill.
In addition, local units of government, watershed districts, water management organizations, or conservation districts regulate activities both above and below the OHWL of a water body or watercourse. You should contact your local unit of government, who administer ordinances regulating shoreland areas.
Also, if your proposal involves work on the upland portion of a riparian (river) property, you should contact your local unit of government, who administer ordinances regulating floodplains and shoreland areas.
St. Louis County’s “Land Alteration” webpage & “Zoning Ordinance #62, effective October 1, 2016”
Filling, grading, or excavating on shoreland property requires a land alteration permit if the activity exceeds certain limits.
- Any alteration of the natural topography located within the shore impact zone or within 50 feet of the shore, whichever is more restrictive.
- Any alteration of natural topography, located outside the shore impact zone or bluff impact zone that exceeds 50 cubic yards of material.
- Shoreline riprap projects that do not follow DNR permit requirements or do not comply with state rules for shoreline alterations.
Lake County “Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Ordinance #12, effective June 23, 2017”
Filling, grading, or excavating on shoreland property requires a land alteration permit if the activity exceeds certain limits;
Sec. 6.13 Soil Disturbance Thresholds
Shore Impact Zones - Land located between the vegetation line of public water and a line parallel to it at a distance of 50 feet
1) Under 10 cubic yards of material disturbed - no permit required.
2) Ten to 50 cubic yards of material disturbed - Land Use Permit required.
Sec. 7.09 Shoreland Excavations:
In addition to grading and filling requirements above, the Commissioner of Natural Resources must issue a permit for work in the beds of public waters under Minnesota Statutes 103G.245.
For assistance in permit requirements in St. Louis County;
- Technical Assistance Toll Free: 1-800-450-9777
- Duluth Government Services Center, (218) 725-5000
- Virginia Northland Office Center, (218) 749-7103
For assistance in permit requirements in Lake County (Two Harbors);
- Environmental Services Planning & Zoning, (218)-834-8327 Fax: (218)-834-8365
Questions can also be sent to;
Important: This article is not intended to be a definitive guide on permit requirements. Rather it is intended to offer some basic insight into permits and to demonstrate that permits are required for some basic shoreline alteration. Permits are designed to protect our lakes and the lifestyle they provide. Permits are “tools” to sustain and enhance our lakes and shorelines so that residents and visitors can enjoy. Permits and Approvals may be required from federal, state, and local units of government, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, watershed districts, water management organizations, counties, townships, and cities.