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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 in preparing the first Territorial Sea Plan, completed in 1994.
 
The need to amend the plan arose in 2007 when a number of wave energy companies submitted preliminary permit applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop energy production facilities off the Oregon coast. Marine reserves in the territorial sea also were being considered at that time.
 
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 Land Board in December 2009 adopted rules governing marine reserves. Two pilot reserves were established at Otter Rock north of Newport and at Redfish Rocks near Port Orford. 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.
 
Currently, three additional marine reserves – at Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua – are under consideration, despite no specific legislative action in 2011 directing OPAC and the state agencies to create additional reserves.
 
Information on marine reserves
 
 
 

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