Maintenance of channels used for agricultural drainage is critical to the viability of Oregon’s farms and ranches. Because of legislation passed in 2019 (HB 2437) specific maintenance activities may be eligible for a Notice (ORS 196.906 – 196.919, OAR 603-095-4000 to 603-095-4060), from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) instead of a Removal-Fill Permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL).
- The Notice provides a streamlined process by which landowners and water districts may, without paying a fee, maintain eligible agricultural channels.
- The four requirements of the Notice require channels:
- Be routinely maintained to facilitate draining related to agriculture;
- Could provide drainage in the last five years;
- Dry at the time of work; and
- Not ESH (Essential Indigenous Anadromous Salmonid habitat).
- Maintenance must:
- Protect, maintain, or improves ecological functions of the channels;
- Uphold state objectives for fish recovery; and
- Protects wetlands, waterways, and fish and wildlife habitats.
- Once validated by ODA, a Notice is good for five years.
For activities that don’t meet the requirements of a Notice, see information from DSL.
You must have a validated Notice or a DSL permit prior to maintaining channels.
See the Agricultural Drainage Channel Maintenance Program Before You File
document for information about eligible channels as well as what you need to know before you file a Notice.
Validated ODA Notices
Submission of forms does not guarantee validation or approval.
Submit your Notice at least 60 days before you want to start work.
- ODA has 45 work days in which to validate your notice.
- Both ODA and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will review the notice for eligibility and to determine if any additional conditions are needed to protect water quality, fish, and/or wildlife.
- ODA and ODFW may contact you to schedule a site visit.
- ODA and ODFW may consult with staff from DSL to determine final project conditions or prohibitions.
Variance request forms:
- At times a landowner or water district may need a variance from the default mandatory conditions in the Notice.
- There are two forms: one for requests to work outside the Regional Dry Maintenance Time Period and one for all other Mandatory Conditions.
- Once a complete variance request is filed, ODA will consult with ODFW to approve or deny the request.
- The variance form must be approved by ODA before that work begins.
- A variance form may be filed with a Notice when you anticipate the need for a variance.
- When an emergency occurs and you require a quick review of the Notice, you may use the Expedited Review form. An emergency is a natural or human-caused circumstance that poses an immediate threat to public health, safety, or substantial property.
- If an emergency is not eligible for this notification process, you must contact DSL for an emergency permit.
ESH (Essential Indigenous Anadromous Salmonid Habitat) review request form:
- If you do not agree with the ESH designation, you may submit the ESH review request form to ODA.
- ODA will coordinate with DSL and ODFW during the review. This process will take some time, and a decision may not be made until the next maintenance season. See map at https://maps.dsl.state.or.us/esh/.
Agricultural Drainage Channel Maintenance Program Legislative Report
Waterways and Wetlands: Department of State Lands Permits and Authorizations
Information regarding removal-fill permits. Waterways & Wetlands webpage