Recreational Placer Mining
NOTE: DSL is currently doing rulemaking to implement SB 838.|
The on-line application process for the placer mining general
authorization for the 2014 season will not be available until
after January 1, 2014. Note: To be eligible to apply for 2014,
monitoring reports from those who had an authorization in
2013 must be received by December 31, 2013.
Implementation of SB 838 Rulemaking
The Department of State Lands regulates recreational placer mining through two types of removal-fill permits: General Authorizations (GAs) and Individual Permits (IPs).
Non-Motorized Prospecting is exempt. Prospecting means to explore for samples of gold, silver and other precious minerals using non-motorized methods. Prospectors are limited to removing less than one cubic yard of material from within the bed or wet perimeter of any single State Scenic Waterway or Essential Salmon Habitat stream annually, and less than 50 cubic yards on other waters. Prospecting does not require a permit from DSL. Prospecting is not allowed at any site where fish eggs are present.
A General Authorization (GA) is required for activities involving less than 25 cubic yards of removal and fill annually in Essential Salmon Habitat (ESH) streams. Activities under this general authorization are not allowed in Oregon Scenic Waterways.
DSL has revised and simplified the GA application process for disturbing less than 25 cubic yards per year within ESH streams. You may apply for and receive a placer mining authorization online: www.statelandsonline.com (2014 Applications not availble until January 1, 2014).
A simplified paper authorization also is available online. The form serves as both the application and approval document. Fill out the top half, send it to DSL to review and we will return it with an approval signature. Keep this authorization with you when you are conducting mining activities.
You must submit an annual report by Dec. 31 to be eligible to apply for a recreational placer mining GA the following year.
An Individual Permit (IP) is required for placer mining activities when:
- Activities will disturb 25 cubic yards or more in ESH streams.
- Activities will disturb 50 cubic yards or more in non-ESH streams.
- Applicants plan to operate a large suction dredge with a hose intake greater than four inches in diameter.
- Applicants plan to recreationally placer mine in a SSW. Be aware that suction dredging is not allowed in scenic waterways, even under an individual permit.
IP applications are available online - use the Joint Permit Application form.
Some waterways have been closed to recreational mining by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Others are closed or their use is limited by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) because of water quality problems.
GAs for recreational placer mining cannot be used on State Scenic Waterways. An Individual Removal-Fill Permit is required, and a written form must be submitted.
When conducting recreational placer mining, be sure you can legally pan, dredge or sluice on the waterway. Check with the owner to be sure you can be there, even on publicly owned land. Remember that it is illegal to cross privately owned land without first obtaining the owner’s permission.
Information about which Oregon waterways are state-owned and available for prospecting and recreational placer mining is on the DSL website. Publications also are available.
You may also want to contact federal landowning agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for information concerning streams on federal land.
Placer Mining Administrative Rules (OAR 141-089-0820)
Placer Mining Fact Sheet