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Essential Salmonid Habitat and Removal-Fill Permitting

A permit is often required to remove or fill materials in Oregon streams, side channels, and adjacent wetlands that have been mapped as essential salmonid habitat (ESH).

The ESH designation protects the streams where salmonid species lay eggs and where young fish grow before traveling to the ocean. Chum, sockeye, Chinook, and coho salmon, as well as steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout are all sensitive, threatened, or endangered salmonid species whose habitat may be designated as essential.

The Department of State Lands maintains Oregon's official essential salmonid habitat map. The map uses scientific data from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify areas that are critical for salmonids to thrive and require a permit to remove or fill any material. Click the link below to view the current ESH map (published Feb. 2023).

Permit Requirements for ESH Areas

Under Oregon state law, a DSL removal-fill permit is required for projects that remove or place any amount of material into the beds or banks of ESH waterways and some wetlands. Types of projects that likely require a permit include building a dock, adding riprap, and other activities that may seriously affect important ESH habitat.

Some activities are exempt and do not require a removal-fill permit, including non-motorized activities involving less than one cubic yard, many fish passage and fish screening structures, some agricultural projects, and several others. A full list of exempt activities is in chapter three of A Guide to the Removal-Fill Permit Process.

Check the current ESH map to see if your project is in an ESH area. If it is, contact the removal-fill permit coordinator for your county.

ESH Map Updates

The ESH map is updated on February 1 of each year, as long as new or updated data are available. Prior to the update, Tribes and interested members of the public who have requested updates are notified and given the opportunity to provide comment

Individuals can propose map edits using the ESH Review Request Form. DSL and ODFW accept map edit requests at any time, not just during a map update comment period.

Proposed edits should correct map inaccuracies – for example, if the mapping does not reflect current on-the-ground conditions, or if there is a new barrier that prevents fish from reaching an area.


Peter Ryan, Aquatic Resource Specialist
Stay Informed

Get updates about ESH map changes.


Request a revision to the ESH map


Current ESH map (released Feb. 2023)