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State Scenic Waterways

Working in state scenic waterways

The Oregon Scenic Waterway Act was passed 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 Parks and Recreation Department administers the scenic waterways program.

The act (ORS 390.805 – 390.925) specifies that all fill and removal in a SSW requires an individual removal-fill permit from the Department of State Lands. 

Exemptions: State law allows three exempt activities to be conducted in a SSW without a removal-fill permit:
  • Recreational prospecting – 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.

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