Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image
Removal-Fill in State Scenic Waterways
Permit Required
Metolius  
 
Removal-Fill in Oregon Scenic Waterways  
The Oregon Scenic Waterways Act was passed by Oregon citizens in 1970 to enable federal, state and local agencies, individual property owners, and recreational ​users to work together to protect and wisely use Oregon's special rivers. The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation administers the scenic waterways program.

Map of State Scenic Waterways 
 
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Scenic Waterways
 
Permit Required
 
The act (ORS 390.805 - 390.925) specifies that all fill and removal in state scenic waterways (SSW) requires an individual removal-fill permit from the Department of State Lands.
 
Application for working in a State Scenic Waterway
 
Application fees 
Exemptions 
State law allows three exempt activities to be conducted in a SSW without a removal-fill permit from the Department of State Lands: recreational non-motorized prospecting; ODFW fish and wildlife management activities; and OWRD facilities for stream gauging.
  • Recreational Prospecting means to search or explore for samples of gold, silver or other precious minerals, using non-motorized methods, from less than one cubic yard of aggregate material at any one individual site and cumulatively, not more than five cubic yards of material from within the bed or wet perimeter of any single scenic waterway in a single year. Recreational prospecting must not occur at any site where fish eggs are present.
 
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: Nothing in the scenic waterway law affects the authority of ODFW to construct facilities or make improvements to facilitate the passage or propagation of fish, or to exercise other responsibilities in managing fish and wildlife resources.
 
  • Oregon Water Resources Department: Nothing in the scenic waterway law affects the authority of the OWRD to construct and maintain stream gauge stations and other facilities related to the commission’s duties in administration of state water laws.
 
Recreational Placer Mining in Scenic Waterways  
Recreational placer mining in a SSW is allowed under an individual permit from the Department of State Lands.  A joint removal-fill application must be submitted with the appropriate fees.
 
Recreational placer mining shall not:
  • Include operation of a suction dredge
  • Dam or divert a waterway or obstruct fish passage
  • Include sluicing or digging outside the wet perimeter of the stream, nor extend the wet perimeter
  • Include movement of boulders, logs, stumps or other woody material from the wet perimeter other than movement by hand and non-motorized equipment
  • Involve the disturbance of rooted or embedded woody plants, including trees and shrubs, regardless of their location
  • Include excavation from the streambank
  • Fail to level pits, piles, furrows or potholes outside the main channel of the waterway upon leaving the site
  • Be conducted when fish eggs could be in the site gravel
  • Be conducted on federal lands except as allowed by agencies of the federal government
  • Impede boating
 
Special Note on Dredging
With the sunsetting on Dec. 31, 2005, of a provision of law allowing dredging in state scenic waterways, the Department of State Lands is no longer authorized to issue recreational placer mining permits for suction dredging in these waterways.  
 
 
The following lakes and rivers, or segments of rivers, and related adjacent land are designated as scenic waterways:
 
(1) The Metolius Scenic Waterway which includes the Metolius River from Metolius Springs downstream to its confluence with Candle Creek.
 
 
(2) The Klamath Scenic Waterway which includes the Klamath River from the John Boyle Dam powerhouse downstream to the Oregon-California border.
 
 
(3) The Clackamas Scenic Waterway which includes:
 
    (a) The segments of the Clackamas River from the boundary of the Olallie Lake Scenic Area, as constituted on December 8, 1988, downstream to the North Fork Reservoir, and from immediately below the River Mill Dam downstream to the bridge at Carver;
 
    (b) The South Fork Clackamas River from its confluence with an unnamed tributary near the western boundary of Section 7, Township 5 South, Range 5 East, Willamette Meridian, downstream to the confluence of the South Fork Clackamas River with the Clackamas River; and
 
    (c) The North Fork Clackamas River from its source downstream to the North Fork Reservoir
 
 
(4) The McKenzie Scenic Waterway which includes:
 
    (a) The segments of the McKenzie River from Clear Lake downstream to Carmen Reservoir, from Tamolitch Falls downstream to Trail Bridge Reservoir and from Trail Bridge Dam downstream to Paradise Campground; and
 
    (b) The segments of the South Fork McKenzie River from the boundary of the Three Sisters Wilderness, as constituted on December 8, 1988, downstream to Cougar Reservoir, and from immediately below Cougar Dam downstream to its confluence with the McKenzie River.   
 
 
(5) The Deschutes Scenic Waterway which includes the segments of the Deschutes River from Little Lava Lake downstream to Crane Prairie Reservoir, from the gaging station immediately below Wickiup Dam downstream to General Patch Bridge, from Harper Bridge downstream to the Central Oregon Irrigation District´s diversion structure (near river mile 171), from Robert Sawyer Park downstream to Tumalo State Park, from Deschutes Market Road Bridge downstream to Lake Billy Chinook Reservoir (excluding the Cline Falls hydroelectric facility near river mile 145), and from immediately below the existing Pelton reregulating dam downstream to the confluence of the Deschutes River with the Columbia River, excluding the City of Maupin as its boundaries are constituted on October 4, 1977.
 
 
(6) The Santiam Scenic Waterway which includes the Little North Fork of the Santiam River from the confluence of Battle Ax Creek and Opal Creek downstream to the boundary of the Willamette National Forest, as constituted on September 20, 1985.
 
 (7) The John Day Scenic Waterway which includes:
 
    (a) The John Day River from its confluence with Parrish Creek downstream to Tumwater Falls;
 
    (b) The North Fork John Day River from the boundary of the North Fork John Day Wilderness (near river mile 76), as constituted on December 8, 1988, downstream to river mile 20.2 (northern boundary of the south one-half of Section 20, Township 8 South, Range 28 East, Willamette Meridian)
 
    (c) The Middle Fork John Day River from its confluence with Crawford Creek (near river mile 71) downstream to the confluence of the Middle Fork John Day River with the North Fork John Day River; and
 
    (d) The South Fork John Day River from the Post-Paulina road crossing (near river mile 35) downstream to the northern boundary of the Murderer´s Creek Wildlife Area, as constituted on December 8, 1988 (near river mile 6).
 
 
(8) The Illinois Scenic Waterway which includes the Illinois River from its confluence with Deer Creek downstream to its confluence with the Rogue River.
 
 
(9) The Rogue Scenic Waterway which includes the segments of the Rogue River from the boundary of Crater Lake National Park, as constituted on December 8, 1988, downstream to the east boundary of the Rogue River National Forest, as constituted on December 8, 1988 (near river mile 173), and from the confluence of the Rogue River with the Applegate River downstream to Lobster Creek Bridge.
 
(10) The Umpqua Scenic Waterway which includes the segments of the North Umpqua River from the boundary of the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness, as constituted on December 8, 1988, downstream to Lemolo Reservoir, and from the Soda Springs Dam powerhouse downstream to its confluence with Rock Creek (near Idleyld Park).
 
 
(11) The Nestucca Scenic Waterway which includes:
 
    (a) The Nestucca River from immediately below the McGuire Dam downstream to its confluence with East Creek (near Blaine); and
 
    (b) Walker Creek from its source downstream to its confluence with the Nestucca River.   
 
 
(12) The Wallowa-Grande Ronde Scenic Waterway which includes:
 
    (a) The Grande Ronde River from its confluence with the Wallowa River downstream to the Oregon-Washington border; and
 
    (b) The Wallowa River from its confluence with the Minam River downstream to the confluence of the Wallowa River with the Grande Ronde River. 
 
 
(13) The Minam Scenic Waterway which includes the Minam River from Minam Lake downstream to its confluence with the Wallowa River.
 
 
(14) The Elk Scenic Waterway which includes:
 
    (a) The Elk River from the confluence of the North Fork Elk River and South Fork Elk River downstream to the Elk River fish hatchery;
 
    (b) The North Fork Elk River from its source downstream to its confluence with the South Fork Elk River; and
 
    (c) The South Fork Elk River from its source downstream to its confluence with the North Fork Elk River.
 
 
(15) The Owyhee Scenic Waterway which includes:
 
    (a) The South Fork Owyhee River from the Oregon-Idaho border downstream to Three Forks; and
 
    (b) The Owyhee River from Crooked Creek (near river mile 118) downstream to the mouth of Birch Creek (near river mile 76)
 
 
(16) The North Fork of the Middle Fork Willamette Scenic Waterway which includes the North Fork of the Middle Fork Willamette River from Waldo Lake downstream to a point one mile upstream from the railroad bridge near the town of Westfir.
 
 
 
(17) The Waldo Lake Scenic Waterway which includes Waldo Lake in Lane County.   
 
 
 
(18) The Sandy River Scenic Waterway which includes the Sandy River from its confluence with the Bull Run River downstream to the Stark Street Bridge.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back to the Top  
 

​​​​​