Natural Resources

New legislation (HB 2437, 2019 Legislature​) authorizes maintenance activities without a Removal-Fill permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) in dry, traditionally maintained, agricultural drainage channels under certain circumstances. A new notice-based process will be developed and administered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). 

What do you need to know?

  • HB 2437 provides for the “… maintenance of channels used for agricultural drainage … in a manner that protects, maintains, or improves ecological function of the channels and that upholds state objectives for fish recovery.” It also makes it easier to remove built-up sediment in dry ditches and intermittent streams that have traditionally been maintained for agricultural drainage.

  • HB 2437 transitions a portion of the current regulatory program at the Oregon Department of State Lands to a notice-based program at the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The Oregon Departments of Agriculture, State Lands, and Fish and Wildlife are coordinating on implementation.

  • Until DSL adopts new administrative rules and ODA establishes a notification process to implement HB 2437, landowners should not conduct any removal or fill within a channel or wetland without contacting the Department of State Lands. 

​What's next?

The Departments of State Lands, Agriculture and Fish & Wildlife are working together to implement HB 2437. The objective is to establish a notice-based process to allow for agricultural maintenance in dry traditionally maintained channels to a limited geographic area by Fall 2020. 

Public comment period, public hearings set for draft rules

House Bill 2437 directed ODA to create a streamlined, notice-based process by which a person or water control district could engage in maintenance of channels used for agricultural drainage without a removal-fill permit from DSL under certain conditions. 

ODA has worked with staff from the Oregon Departments of State Lands and Fish and Wildlife, along with a Rules Advisory Committee consisting of multiple interests, to develop the Oregon Administrative Rules to implement HB 2437. These new rules create the notice process while ensuring that any maintenance is conducted in a manner that protects, maintains or improves ecological functions of the channels, and upholds state objectives for fish recovery, protects wetlands, waterways, and fish and wildlife habitats.

ODA has opened the Public Comment Period for these draft rules, OAR 603-095-4000 through 603-095-4060. The Public Comment Period will be open from June 1, 2020, through 5 p.m. June 30, 2020.  

ODA will also hold two virtual public hearings: 

Full rule text is available in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking​ or by emailing Amy Bingham​.   

You can submit public comments on these draft rules by email to ODA. Help us by including the following in the subject line: HB 2437 Ag Channel Rule Comments. 

You also can submit written comments by mail to: 

Amy Bingham
Public Records/Rules Coordinator
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Office of the Director
635 Capitol St. NE
Salem, OR 97301

Comments must be received at ODA by 5 p.m. June 30, 2020. 

New notice-based tools

ODA will be establishing the new notification process that will require a landowner to submit a notice prior to performing any agricultural maintenance under HB 2437. This includes the development of new forms and guidance for this notice-based process. 

Outreach and education

The agencies will be conducting outreach efforts prior to the implementation of HB 2437. This includes outreach and education to the public, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, agricultural, conservation, and other interest groups to ensure broad understanding of the bill. This will include an overview of the regulatory changes, what is expected for the new notice-based process, and conditions of approval. Agencies will also provide information on opportunities for public comment during the new administrative rules to be developed by DSL. ​

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Guidelines for Stream and Ditch Maintenance

Stream and ditch maintenance handout

House Bill 2437

Authorizes maintenance activities in dry, traditionally maintained channels to be conducted without removal or fill permit subject to certain conditions. House Bill 2437

House Bill 2437: What It Is, What It Does, and What It Does Not Do

HB 2437 informational document

Stream and Ditch Maintenance Regulations: Oregon departments of Agriculture, State Lands

Streamside areas handout

Waterways and Wetlands: Department of State Lands Permits and Authorizations

Information regarding removal-fill permits. Waterways & Wetlands webpage




Mike Powers
Water Quality Lead Policy Specialist
Agricultural Water Quality
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-986-4761
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