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Territorial Sea
State Ownership
Tillamook Head  
Oregon’s territorial sea is defined as the waters and seabed extending three geographical miles seaward from the Pacific coastline. The State Land Board, and the Department of State Lands as its administrative arm, have jurisdiction over the submerged and submersible land of the territorial sea. DSL has both proprietary (ownership) and regulatory responsibilities within the territorial sea.                  
 
Proprietary responsibilities: authorizing all uses of the seafloor, including placement of fiber optic cables; installation of wave and wind energy devices and research equipment; kelp removal; and exploration for minerals. DSL manages the seafloor to ensure the public has the right to use and enjoy this resource for commerce, navigation, fishing and recreation, in accordance with the Oregon Constitution and Public Trust Doctrine.
 
Regulatory responsibilities: administering Oregon’s removal-fill law which governs the removal, fill and alteration of sediments, rock and other materials comprising the submerged and submersible land underlying the territorial sea.
 
Both a proprietary authorization and a removal-fill permit are required if a project takes place on state-owned land within the territorial sea and will involve removal and/or fill of more than 50 cubic yards of material in the sea bed.

State Partners
In managing the territorial sea, DSL works closely with other state agencies, particularly the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation (OPRD), the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. It also is a member of the Ocean Policy Advisory Council, which is charged with developing recommendations for and updating the Territorial Sea Plan, and providing advice to the Governor and other agencies on ocean resource issues.
 
Within the area of the shoreline between the line of mean high tide and mean low tide (the “wet sand area”), DSL shares management authority with OPRD, though OPRD has responsibility for implementing the “beach bill” which protects the public’s access to Oregon’s beaches. 
                   
Information on OPRD
Information on OPAC 
Ocean planning information                  

Territorial Sea Plan

 
Legislation in 1991 gave primary responsibility to the Department of Land Conservation and Development for ocean planning and for providing assistance to the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) in preparing the first Territorial Sea Plan, completed in 1994.

The Territorial Sea Plan has been amended several times since its adoption in 1994, but most noticeably for the inclusion of Telecommunications Cables (Part IV) and Marine Renewable Energy (Part V). The Ocean Policy Advisory Council is working on another amendment of the plan to update Part III, the Rocky Shores Management Strategy, which was identified through a survey of the Council as a high priority issue in December of 2015. The Territorial Sea Plan Working Group (TSPWG) is leading that effort. To learn more, visit the OPAC website at: http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/OPAC/.
 
The Department of State Lands participates in a work group established to update the Territorial Sea Plan, along with representatives from other state agencies, tribes, ocean-related organizations and the private sector. The amended plan is expected to be completed in late 2012, after public input into the revised plan.

Information on amending the Territorial Sea Plan

Seafloor Mapping
Seafloor Mapping  
 
In 2009, the Legislature earmarked $1.3 million from unused New Carissa settlement funds for mapping the territorial sea floor. With an additional $4 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oregon State University began the first phase of the mapping project in spring and summer 2010. About 50 percent of the seafloor mapping has been completed, and additional federal funds are being sought to complete the project.
 
Project Information
Interim Report
 
 

Marine Reserves
The State of Oregon has implemented a limited system of Marine Reserves, as required through HB 3013 from the 2009 legislative session. DSL's rules specify that the agency will issue authorizations in marine reserves and marine protected areas only for activities focusing on monitoring, evaluating, protecting or otherwise furthering the study of these two areas. The Department of State Lands collaborated with State Parks and the Department of Fish and Wildlife on the rulemaking and public outreach.

Information on Oregon's Marine Reserves
 
 
 

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