Alert: This Notice is currently available for Washington, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Benton, and Linn counties. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is conducting a soft-rollout of this new program, beginning with these counties. Through initial implementation of the program in these counties, ODA will be able to use adaptive management to improve the program and ensure environmental protections as ODA implements the program in the rest of the state.
Landowners and water districts who wish to maintain agricultural drainage channels in September 2020 must contact ODA immediately to file a notification. ODA staff can work with producers to file a Variance request to allow work to occur beyond the Regional Dry Maintenance Time Period. Once a complete Variance request is filed, ODA will consult with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider the request and determine if work may proceed beyond the Regional Dry Maintenance Time Period.
New legislation (HB 2437, 2019 Legislature) now codified as ORS 196.906 – 196.919 and implemented through OAR 603-095-4000 to 603-095-4060, authorizes maintenance activities without a Removal-Fill permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) in dry, traditionally maintained channels under certain circumstances. The Oregon Department of Agriculture recently developed a new notice-based process that landowners and irrigation, drainage, and other entities organized under ORS 545, 547, 552, 553, or 554 (water districts) must use if they are interested in agricultural maintenance of eligible ditches and streams that drain agricultural lands. This new process was developed in coordination with an interagency project team consisting of ODA, DSL and ODFW, as well as a Rule Advisory Committee (RAC) consisting of multiple stakeholders, to draft administrative rules (OAR 603-695-4000 to-4060 implementing ORS 196.906-196.919.
What do you need to know?
- The new ODA Agricultural Drainage Channel Maintenance program provides for a simplified process “… by which agricultural landowners may maintain channels used for agricultural drainage … in a manner that protects, maintains, or improves ecological function of the channels and that upholds state objectives for fish recovery [OAR 603-095-4000].”
- The new program transitions a portion of the current regulatory program at DSL to a notice-based program at ODA. ODA, DSL, and ODFW will coordinate on implementation.
- The notice-based program allows for a more streamlined process to remove material from dry, traditionally maintained channels.
- Once validated by ODA, a Notice is good for five years. This means that the work described in the Notice may be completed according to all the mandatory and prohibited conditions anytime within a five year period starting when ODA validates the notice.
- Landowners and water districts should not conduct any removal or fill within a channel without contacting ODA or DSL.
- Please note work that permanently impacts a wetland likely requires a permit from DSL. Contact DSL for more information.
The Agricultural Drainage Channel Maintenance program is now operable and can receive notifications from the following counties: Washington, Yamhill, Marion, Polk, Benton, and Linn. The Notice and related forms are available below. The remainder of the Willamette Valley along with the South Coast Basin and Umpqua Basin will come on line next year. Other regions of the state will follow.
What you should know before you file a notification
Confirm the channels and maintenance activities are eligible under this new program. For more information, see the before-you-file details document.
What you should know about the notification process
ODA must receive a Notice form at least 45 days before you wish to do the work. When determining the 45 day requirement for when work may begin, ODA will not include the day of receipt, Sundays, or holidays, and the last day cannot end on a weekend or holiday. Oregon does provide options for quick review and approval of work in emergencies. For more information, see the notification process details document.
Request for Variance from Mandatory Conditions in a Valid Notice Issued under Agricultural Channel Rules
House Bill 2437
Authorizes maintenance activities in dry, traditionally maintained channels to be conducted without removal or fill permit subject to certain conditions. House Bill 2437
Waterways and Wetlands: Department of State Lands Permits and Authorizations
Information regarding removal-fill permits. Waterways & Wetlands webpage