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FAQs: State-Owned Land
FAQs: Waterways & Wetlands
FAQs: Unclaimed Money & Estates
Yes, on a leash. Please remember to pick up after them.
Most of state-owned rangelands in eastern Oregon are currently leased (about 90 percent). For more information about the leasing program, see the Rangeland web page.
Yes. Depending on the proposed area, there may be opportunities for alternative energy development on state lands. Contact DSL’s office in Bend – 541-388-6112 – for more information.
Yes, the public may use the waterway if it has the capacity in terms of length, width and depth, to enable boaters to make successful progress through its waters. Under the Public Use Doctrine, the public has the right to use waterways for navigation, commerce, recreation and fisheries, even where the bed is privately owned, and to make “reasonable, incidental use of the bed and banks.” The public may use adjacent land only if it necessary for the lawful use of waterway. However, it is clear that river users have no right to trespass on privately owned uplands – that is, land above the ordinary high water mark.
Yes - the Education Program staff offer a wide variety of educational field trip experiences for classes, as well as in-classroom training. Check the website for current offerings. All field trips are offered at no charge.
Yes - The South Slough Reserve has a robust volunteer program, overseen by the Public Involvement Coordinator who works with community partners, Reserve staff and the Friends of Sough Slough to raise awareness of public involvement opportunities. There are many ways to become involved: • Trail guide • Visitor services • Program publicity • Education • Field work • Clerical tasks • Trail maintenance Volunteers contribute more than 4,463 hours annually, which translates to approximately $102,961. Contact the Public Involvement Coordinator to get involved.
DSL offers a free service to landowners to evaluate the likelihood of wetlands on your property. To request this service, use the Wetlands and Waters Determination Request Form, found under Forms: Waterways & Wetlands, then click on Wetland Conservation & Planning. Please note that this service only provides a preliminary assessment; if wetland mapping (delineation) is needed, e.g., to apply for a removal-fill permit, the services of a wetland delineation consultant will be required.
You can hunt in designated areas of the Reserve. Recreational fishing is allowed in the Reserve, subject to any rules, regulations, and license requirements put in place by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The removal-fill permit application requires that you provide certain technical information about the wetland or waterway involved with your project. If mitigation is required, a detailed mitigation plan involving numerous technical elements is required. An experienced consultant can help prepare the application materials and provide you technical support though the permit process to help avoid unnecessary delays.
If the stream is designated Essential Salmon Habitat you may collect up to one cubic yard of material per year using non-motorized equipment without needing a removal-fill permit. If the stream is a designated State Scenic Waterway, you will need a scenic waterway removal-fill permit for collecting materials. For all other waterways, you may collect up to 50 cubic yards of material per year without needing a removal-fill permit.
A federal Clean Water Act permit is usually required from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Some local jurisdictions also require a permit for work in a wetland or waterway. Contact your local planning department for more information.
If you are clearing vegetation that does not involve digging, grubbing or plowing the ground surface, you do not need a Removal-Fill Permit. It’s always a good idea to contact your local planning department for any local ordinances that might regulate this activity. If clearing vegetation will involve digging, grubbing or plowing the ground, contact the DSL permit coordinator for your county.
The Reserve has a robust community education program that offers classes, workshops and hikes for all ages. Check the website often for upcoming events, and for the summer camp schedule.
The Oregon Unclaimed Property Program is no longer under the Department of State Lands, and has transferred to Oregon State Treasury. Call 503-378-4000 to speak with the Unclaimed Property Program.
Private uses and smaller structures on state-owned waterways require a registration, which is a lower-cost, simplified authorization.
State lease agreements require the lessee to control noxious weeds on their leasehold. DSL works cooperatively with lessees on weed control where it can be most effective. The agency’s own efforts include participation in three cooperative weed management areas (CWMAs) through contract ground spraying along roads, and initiating efforts to control some larger patches of noxious weeds. DSL contributes funds to the CWMAs, which enables their weed coordinators to better treat across ownership boundaries between state and private lands.
The State Land Board has exclusive jurisdiction to assert title to the submerged and submersible lands within the state. However, only after state ownership has been confirmed through litigation or upon completion of a navigability study by the Department of State Lands, is a waterway deemed “navigable.”
It depends on which type of permit you are applying for. General Authorizations are reviewed within 30 days. Most General Permits are issued within 40 days of application submittal. Individual Permits typically take up to 120 days but may be longer if there are issues that delay the review process.
It depends on the scope and scale of the improvement work. Some work can be done without needing a permit, .e.g., weed removal and planting native species. If you will be digging, grubbing or plowing in the wetland or below the ordinary high water line, then some form of approval from DSL will likely be needed.
Yes, if your project involves removing or filling more than 50 cubic yards of material in the wetland or waterway (or any amount of material in Essential Salmon Habitat waters or State Scenic Waterways). Check with the permit coordinator for your county before doing any work in the wetland or waterway on your property.
No. Sunset Bay and Bullards Beach State Parks and Bastendorff Beach County Park all provide public camping facilities.
Yes, much of South Slough Reserve is currently open and accessible to the public. Trails and waterways are open; restrooms are open on weekdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The Reserve visitor center remains closed. Most programs, field trips, events, and meetings have been cancelled until further notice. Limited programming for adults and children is available. Last date updated: January 11, 2020
Yes, there are hiking and water trails at the South Slough, as well as a Visitor Center with exhibit space and a bookstore. Trails are for foot traffic only, no bikes, ATVs or horses. Trails are open every day from sunrise to sunset, and the center is open Tuesday Through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
It is free to visit and enjoy the Reserve; however, there are fees associated with some classes and activities.
Yes, but if you plan to use what you find for commercial purposes or if the value is over $500, you will need an authorization from DSL.
It depends on what you intend to do and where. On land where the Department of State Lands owns both the surface and underlying mineral rights, you may take an occasional hand-sized sample and geologically map an area without obtaining an authorization. However, if you intend to dig holes or trenches, or conduct exploratory drilling, you will need to contact DSL. If the surface is owned by someone other than DSL or under lease to another entity, you’ll need to obtain permission from the owner or lessee.
The general policy of the State Land Board is to retain all mineral and geothermal resource rights unless they are determined to be of no significant value, in which case they may be sold upon approval by the Board.
The word “navigable” is a legal term that means a waterway has been determined to have enough depth, width and length for passage, and that it was used “in its natural and ordinary condition” at statehood for purposes of travel and trade. The public has certain rights associated with the use of navigable waterways.
Regardless of who owns the submerged and submersible land of a waterway, one thing is clear: certain misbehaviors (such as offensive littering, reckless burning, etc.) are crimes no matter where they occur. If you observe criminal acts being done on the submerged and submersible land of a waterway, and want to end those activities, contact your local law enforcement agency.
Deeds sometimes describe property that could not be legally conveyed. Although title companies work hard to ensure that the buyer is legally entitled to all of the property described on a deed, their research relies in large part on verifying the “chain of ownership” contained in historical records. If a transfer of property many years or even generations ago was erroneous, and has not been contested over time, the mistake may go uncorrected. If the submerged and submersible land underlying a waterway is determined by the courts, or through the navigability study process, to be state-owned, the state has what is termed a “prior existing right” to the land in that waterway. Since a deed can only convey interests actually owned by the seller, and since the submerged and submersible land underlying all navigable rivers was given to the state at statehood in 1859, there will be situations where the state is the true owner of the submerged and submersible land regardless of what a deed may say. These issues depend on the facts of the particular situation, property, waterway or deed.
If the emergency involves an immediate threat to public health, safety or substantial property, DSL can issue you an emergency permit within five days, or if absolutely necessary, can approve the emergency work by phone. It is important to remember that emergency permits only authorize the minimum amount of work necessary to reduce or eliminate the threat.
The 5,900-acre Reserve, the first established in the United States, is a joint partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Oregon Department of State Lands. Its main functions are research, stewardship and education.
Full-time science staff work with visiting scientists and student interns on a wide range of topics, including water quality and weather monitoring, climate change research, species and habitat research and monitoring, and restoration and stewardship projects.
See the State Land Sales web page for information on any current land being offered for sale.
Big Cedar Trail is open during Reserve business hours. It is wheelchair accessible and leads from the lower parking lot to the marsh observation deck. The trail is a quarter mile. Request an appointment to check out a gate key at the Visitor Center by calling 541-888-5558 ext. 121. Please leave a message and someone will call you back within 24 hours (M-F) with appointment availability.   The gate key can be picked up M-F (10 - 4pm) at the Visitor Center.  The key must be turned back in on the same day by 4pm. Please Note: The gate access key is reserved for persons with mobility disabilities only.
The people of Oregon own the submerged and submersible land underlying all navigable streams, rivers, and lakes in most cases up to the ordinary high water line. In addition, the people of Oregon also own portions of waterways that are subject to tidal influence. Exceptions to this public ownership are those parcels the state may have sold since statehood or that the federal government reserved or granted before statehood.
DSL uses criteria and direction provided in the Real Estate Asset Management Plan to evaluate difficult-to-manage and/or isolated parcels that are not generating money for the Common School Fund. All land sales and exchanges are processed through rules established in OAR 141-067. Parcels are carefully evaluated for financial, natural, cultural and recreational impacts before sales. Adjacent property owners, interested parties, and federal, state and local agencies are notified during the evaluation. The Land Board approves all final transactions and sale methods, such as public auction.​