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Prior to building an encroachment (ex., dock, marina, or shoreline stabilization) on a navigable lake, an encroachment permit from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) is required under the Lake Protection Act, Idaho Code, Title 58, Chapter 13 and IDAPA 20.03.04, Rules for the Regulation of Beds, Waters, and Airspace Over Navigable Lakes in the State of Idaho

Encroachments on navigable lakes are regulated in order that the protection of property, navigation, fish and wildlife habitat, aquatic life, recreation, aesthetic beauty and water quality be given due consideration and weighed against the navigational or economic necessity or justification for, or benefit to be derived from the proposed encroachment.  Idaho Code §58-1301.

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Permitting Process

  1. Applicant completes and submits an application packet to the Supervisory Area Office, which includes: 
  2. IDL reviews application. IDL will notify applicants if additional information is needed to process the application. 
  3. The type(s) of encroachments listed in the application determine the type of comment period:
    • For noncommercial navigational encroachments within the line of navigability (ex. single-family docks), IDL provides a notice of application to the adjacent waterfront owners. If a neighbor submits an objection, and an agreement cannot be reached, IDL will hold a formal administrative hearing.
    • For all other types of encroachments, IDL publishes a notice of application in the local newspaper and provides a notice of application to the adjacent waterfront owners and various government agencies.  If requested, IDL will hold a public hearing to solicit comments to determine if the encroachment(s) meet the relevant standards.     
  4. If the proposed encroachment meets all standards, IDL issues a permit. 
  5. Permittee records the permit with the county recorder’s office. 
  6. Permittee constructs the encroachment. 
  7. Permittee files a work completion report with IDL. 
  8. IDL inspects the encroachment to verify compliance with the permit terms and standards.

Encroachments constructed prior to 1975 and not modified since may be permitted without a fee by providing substantive documentation showing the age of the encroachment and that it has not been modified.  Documentation deemed reliable by the board may include dated aerial photographs like the ones obtained from USGS’s Earth Explorer, tax deeds, or other historical information to show that the encroachment has not been modified since 1974.

Boats and Vessels
IDL does not regulate boats/vessels (including any requirements for vessels to be illuminated), temporarily anchored boats, boating safety, or boat traffic. Those responsibilities may belong to the county government (sheriff), Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) as the administrator of the Idaho Safe Boating Act, or federal entities.

For additional information, review the Idaho Department of Lands Encroachment Permit Procedures

IDAPA 20.03.04 Rules for the Regulation of Beds, Waters, and Airspace Over Navigable Lakes in the State of Idaho is currently going through the rulemaking process. For more information, please visit the IDL Rulemaking Page for this rule. 

Standards for Encroachments

  • A Submerged Land Easement from IDL may be required as a condition to an encroachment permit.
  • A Water Right Permit from the Idaho Department of Water Resources is required to draw water from surface water sources. For more information visit
  • A permit from USACE is also required for water lines on Lake Pend Oreille and Bear Lake. For more information, please visit
  • A flood plain insurance plain authorization may be required from your county.
  • Stream Channel Protection Program – Dock permits on free-flowing rivers are handled by the Idaho Department of Water Resources through its Stream Channel Protection Program.

Buying or selling lakefront property with an encroachment on the lake

To avoid delays at closing, make sure there is an encroachment permit for all encroachments on the lake adjacent to the property for sale.  Also, make sure the encroachments comply with the terms of the permit.  If there is a discrepancy, please contact your local Supervisory Area Office to help identify the necessary corrective actions.  Encroachment permits may be assigned to the new owner property upon approval by IDL. 

A completed Request for Assignment form and $300 fee is required. 

Read and print out our Buying and Selling Lakefront Property Brochure.


For questions specific to a lake, contact the nearest Supervisory Area

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