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Work in Essential Salmonid Habitat

Colorful Coho salmon swimming in dark waters.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.

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

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, 
  • installing culverts, and
  • other activities that remove or add any materials in those streams.
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. See the list of exempt activities in chapter three of the DSL guide to removal-fill permits.
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.

Updates to the ESH Map

The ESH map is updated on February 1 of each year, as long as new or updated data are available. Prior to the update, DSL seeks input from the Tribes and also holds a public comment period. 

DSL opened a comment period on December 15, 2023 regarding changes to the map for 2024. Early in the public comment period DSL received multiple comments and questions regarding the 97 stream miles no longer designated as essential habitat on the proposed map. After careful review, DSL determined the proposed map for 2024 did not accurately reflect available data and an alternative analysis required revisions of the map.

Because of the limited time constraints, those revisions could not happen within the timeframe required to meet the February 1, 2024, adoption date. For this reason, there will be no changes to the map for 2024. There will be no new stream miles added or stream miles removed until the next habitat map update for 2025.

Join the email list here to be notified of proposed map updates. For questions, please contact

You can propose map edits through the ESH Review Request Form at any time of the year. 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.