Shoreline classifications and how they can affect your seawall design

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By Indiana law, the shoreline along your lakefront property is classified into one of four categories. Similar to zoning regulations, these categories determine the type of material that can be used for seawall construction. This web page provides definitions and examples of the categories and lists their seawall requirement.

“Developed area”…
312 IAC 11-2-7 "Developed area" means the upland side or sides of a manmade channel or an area that does not contain any of the following characteristics:
(1) An area of special concern.
(2) A significant wetland.
(3) A natural shoreline.
“Area of special concern”…
312 IAC 11-2-2 "Area of special concern" means an area that contains at least one of the following characteristics:
(1) An altered shoreline where bulkhead seawalls are at 250 feet apart.
(2) Bogs, fens, muck flats, sand flats, or marl beaches identified by the division of nature preserves in the Natural Community
Classification System.
(3) More than 625 square feet of contiguous emergent vegetation or rooted vegetation with floating leaves.
“Significant wetland”…
312 IAC 11-2-24 "Significant wetland" means a transitional area between terrestrial and deep-water habitats containing at least one of the following:
(1) At least 2,500 square feet of contiguous, emergent vegetation or rooted vegetation with floating leaves landward or lakeward of the shoreline or water line. The areal extent of the vegetation is independent of ownership.
(2) Adjacent wetland areas designated by a federal or state agency under one of the following:
(A) National Wetlands Inventory.
(B) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual (1987).
(C) National Food Security Act Manual (1994).
(3) The existence of a species listed at 15 IR 1312 in the Roster of Indiana Animals and Plants that are Extirpated, Endangered,
Threatened, or Rare.
“Natural shoreline”…
312 IAC 11-2-14.5 "Natural shoreline" means a continuous section of unaltered shoreline or water line where the distance between lawful permanent structures is at least 250 feet.

“Bioengineered seawall”…
312 IAC 11-2-3 "Bioengineered" means the use of a combination of biological elements (plant materials) and structural or mechanical
reinforcements for stabilization, revetment, or erosion control. Biological and mechanical elements must function together in an integrated and complementary manner.
“Bulkhead Seawall”…
312 IAC 11-2-5 "Bulkhead seawall" means a vertical, or near vertical, solid concrete, steel sheet piling, or vinyl piling structure, which has the purpose of shoreline protection.

“Glacial stone”…
312 IAC 11-2-11 "Glacial stone" means a rounded stone that satisfies each of the following:
(1) Was produced by glacial activity.
(2) No individual stone weighs more than 120 pounds.
(3) At least 90% of the material passes through a 12-inch sieve.
(4) Not more than 10% of the material passes through a 6-inch sieve.

Seawall Requirements

312 IAC 11-4-2: A written license under IC 14-26-2 and this rule is required for the construction or placement of a seawall within or along the shoreline or water line of a public freshwater lake.

(b) If a new seawall is to be placed in a significant wetland or along a natural shoreline, the seawall must be comprised of bioengineered materials.

(c) If a new seawall is to be placed in an area of special concern, the seawall must be comprised of either or both of the following:
(1) Bioengineered materials.
(2) Glacial stone.

(d) If a new seawall is to be placed in a developed area, the seawall must be comprised of one or any combination of the following:
(1) Bioengineered material.
(2) Glacial stone.
(3) Riprap.
(4) Concrete.
(5) Steel sheet piling.

(e) For a new seawall comprised of glacial stone or riprap, the base of the wall must not extend more than 4 feet lakeward of the shoreline or water line.

(f) The lakeward face of the new seawall must be located along the public freshwater lake's shoreline or water line as determined by the department.

(g) The lakeward extent of bioengineered material must be coordinated with the department before filing the license application.

(h) The director or a delegate may not issue a license for the placement of an impermeable material behind or beneath a new seawall.

(i) Filter cloth placed behind or beneath a new seawall must be properly anchored to prevent displacement or flotation.

(j) Erosion from disturbed areas landward of the shoreline or water line must be controlled to prevent its transport into the lake.

Got questions?
Who to contact…(click name to email)

Joe Mapes
Division of Water
Lake Inspector
1-260-244-6805 ext: 240

Nate Thomas
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Compliance Biologist

Angela Sturdevant
Lake and River Enhancement Program

Jed Pearson
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Fisheries Biologist

Ed Sprague
Indiana Lake Management Society
Skinner Lake Homeowners Association

Division of Water

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