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.
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.
New administrative rules
DSL will be developing new administrative rules, which are targeted for adoption by spring 2020. There will be opportunity for public engagement. To view DSL’s rulemaking page, visit Department of State Lands rulemaking - HB 2437.
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.