CWA Dredge and Fill Permits

Two major regulatory programs protect wetlands and waterways in Oregon: (1) the federal section 404 dredge and fill program, and (2) Oregon’s state removal-fill permit program.

Section 404

Under the Clean Water Act, any person seeking to discharge dredged or fill material into navigable waters must obtain a section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  See 33 U.S.C. § 1344.  The Portland District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers implements the 404 permit program in Oregon as well as southwestern Washington.

Removal and Fill

By Oregon state statute, any person who plans to “remove or fill” material from or within “waters of the state” must obtain a permit from Oregon’s Department of State Lands (“DSL”).  See Or. Rev. Stat. 196.795-990;OAR 141-085-0500 et seq.  DSL administers the state removal-fill permit program through the Wetlands and Waterways Conservation Division, whose mission is to conserve and protect waters of the state, including wetlands.  The division makes wetland determinations, reviews wetland delineation reports, responds to wetland land use notices, conducts pre-application meetings, and processes permit applications.

DSL’s guide to removal fill permits

Applicants who propose a project that will impact waters of the state are required to mitigate the adverse impacts to those waters.  Mitigation reduces the effects of a proposed project by avoiding and minimizing adverse impacts where possible, and compensating for impacts that cannot be avoided.  Compensation seeks to replace the ecological characteristics and societal benefits that will be permanently lost by a removal fill project.

Keep Informed: Public Involvement Opportunities

Department of State Lands

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers