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When is a Permit Required?
Oregon's Removal-Fill Law (ORS 196.795-990) requires any person who plans to "remove or fill" material within "waters of the state" to obtain a permit from the Department of State Lands. Removal means taking rock, gravel, sand, silt and other inorganic substances from the bed or banks of a waterway, or their movement by artificial means within the bed or banks, including channel relocation. Fill means the deposit by artificial means of any material (organic or inorganic) at any one location in the bed or banks. Waters of the state include wetlands on private and public land.
Types of "Waters of the State" and Jurisdictional Limits:
  • Pacific Ocean: extreme low tide to 3 miles out
  • Tidal Bays and Estuaries: highest measured tide or upper edge of wetland
  • Perennial Streams, Lakes and Ponds: to ordinary high water
  • Intermittent Streams: to ordinary high water
  • Wetlands: wetland boundary
  • Artificial Ponds and Ditches: ordinary high water
  • Artificial Wetlands: wetland boundary
  • Reservoirs: normal operating pool level or upper edge of adjacent wetland
Highest measured tide (HMT) is determined by using tidal station data, installing a tidal gage on site, or by using field indicators. Ordinary high water (OHW) is determined by direct observation of an annual event, gauge data or field indicators. The wetland delineation method adopted by the Corps of Engineers is used to determine wetland boundaries.
For most waters, a permit is required if a project will involve 50 cubic yards of fill and/or removal (cumulative) within the jurisdictional boundary. For activities in Essential Salmon Habitat streams, State Scenic Waterways and compensatory mitigation sites, a permit is required for any amount of removal or fill. Removal is calculated on an annual basis. Fill is calculated on a cumulative basis.
Removal-Fill Guide: Chapter 2 - When is a Permit Required? 
Removal-Fill Guide