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Work in State Scenic Waterways

Calm river with kayaker and tree in foreground.Projects that remove or fill any amount of material in a State Scenic Waterway require a removal-fill permit. More than 20 rivers and one lake are State Scenic Waterways that are protected by the law due to their scenic, wildlife, resource, or recreational values to the people of Oregon.
The State Scenic Waterway Act is administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. OPRD collaborates with the Department of State Lands to enforce state removal-fill law for State Scenic Waterways, coordinating with DSL to review removal-fill applications or violations.

Permits for Projects in State Scenic Waterways

Permits are required for many activities that remove or fill material in Oregon’s wetlands and waters. If your project is located within a quarter mile of a State Scenic Waterway, you will need to apply for an individual removal-fill permit using a joint permit application.

Application Process

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department maintains a map of State Scenic Waterways. Review the map to see if your project is near a State Scenic Waterway and then contact DSL to determine permitting requirements.    
Next, apply for an individual removal-fill permit using by submitting the joint permit application form to DSL and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. DSL staff will review the application, then the public will have the opportunity to comment on it, followed by a final Department review.
You will need to notify OPRD of all activities proposed with a quarter mile of a State Scenic Waterway. OPRD may require additional authorizations.

Recreational Prospecting

State permits are not required for recreational prospecting, searching or exploring for precious metals using non-motorized methods. A permit is not required for prospecting that involves:
  • Removing, filling, or moving less than one cubic yard of material at one individual site within a given year; or
  • Removing, filling, or moving less than five cubic yards of material cumulatively in any single waterway in any year.