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Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC)

Dredge and Fill

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Wetlands and waterways in Oregon are protected from dredge and fill activities by two major regulatory programs: (1) the federal section 404 dredge and fill permit program, and (2) Oregon’s state removal-fill permit program.

Section 404

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

Removal and Fill

By 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)Or. Rev. Stat. 196.795-990.  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. 

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

Comment on removal-fill permits

Check out permits issued for Oregon Department of Transportation projects

Attend public meetings throughout Oregon

Proposed rulemakings

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Public notices for comment opportunities and public meetings in Oregon

National notices and program initiatives