Or. Admin. R. 141-085-0515 - Removal-Fill Jurisdiction by Type of Water

This section describes the types and jurisdictional limits of the waters of this state that are regulated by the Department of State Lands.

(1) Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean is jurisdictional from the line of extreme low tide seaward to the limits of the territorial sea. As defined in ORS 390.605(2), the land lying between extreme low tide and the statutory vegetation line or the line of established upland shore vegetation, whichever is farther inland, is known as the "ocean shore." "Ocean shore" does not include an estuary as defined in ORS 196.600. The "ocean shore" is regulated by the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.
(2) Estuaries, Tidal Bays and Tidal Rivers. Estuaries, tidal bays and rivers below the head of tide are jurisdictional to the elevation of the highest measured tide (excluding storm surge), or to the upper edge of wetland, whichever is higher. The head of tide is the farthest point upstream where a river is affected by tidal fluctuations. The highest measured tide elevation on a parcel may be determined by a land survey referenced to the closest tidal benchmark based upon the most recent tidal epoch and reference to both the tidal datum (MLLW) and the fixed geodetic datum (NAVD88). In lieu of surveyed elevations, subject to approval by the Department, highest measured tide elevation may be based upon actual tide gauge measurements during a wintertime spring tide or observation of the highest of the field indicators listed in subsections (a) through (f) below. These field indicators are often not observable within the upper riverine portion of an estuary, in which case a land survey is required:
(a) The uppermost drift or wrack (or debris) line containing small driftwood, mats of filamentous algae (algae that form long visible chains, threads, or filaments that intertwine forming a mat), seaweeds, seagrasses, pieces of bulrush or other emergent vascular plants, styrofoam or other buoyant plastic debris, bivalve shells, crab molts, or other aquatic invertebrate remains;
(b) The uppermost water mark line on an eroding bank;
(c) The uppermost water mark line (e.g., discoloration; sediment, barnacles, snails, or algae growth) visible on a hard shoreline or bank consisting of bedrock, boulders, cobbles, riprap or a seawall;
(d) The uppermost intertidal zone inhabited by a community of barnacles, limpets, and littorine snails along shorelines composed of bedrock, riprap, boulders, and/or cobble;
(e) The uppermost tidal marsh/upland boundary, as indicated by a dominant plant community characteristic of saltwater, brackish, or freshwater tidal plant communities changing to a dominant plant community typical of uplands; and/or
(f) The intertidal/upland boundary along sandy shores as indicated by the appearance of a distinct dune plant community.
(3) Waters, Including Rivers, Intermittent and Perennial Streams, Lakes and Ponds. These waters are jurisdictional to the ordinary high water line (OHWL). The OHWL can be determined by direct observation of the annual high water event, using local gauge data to estimate bankfull stage, and/or by using readily identifiable field indicators. Field indicators for OHWL include:
(a) Clear, natural line impressed on the shore;
(b) Change in vegetation from riparian (e.g., willows) to upland (e.g., oak, fir) dominated;
(c) Textural change of depositional sediment or changes in the character of the soil (e.g., from sand, sand and cobble, cobble and gravel to upland soils);
(d) Elevation below which no fine debris (needles, leaves, cones, and seeds) occurs;
(e) Presence of litter and debris, water-stained leaves, water lines on tree trunks; and/or
(f) Other appropriate means that consider the characteristics of the surrounding areas.
(4) Wetlands. Wetlands are jurisdictional within the wetland boundary.
(5) Reservoirs. The Department's jurisdiction over reservoirs extends to the higher of either the normal operating pool level or the upper edge of adjacent wetland.
(6) Artificially Created Wetlands and Ponds. These waters are jurisdictional when they are:
(a) Equal to or greater than one acre in size;
(b) Created, in part or in whole, in waters of this state; or
(c) Identified in an authorization as a mitigation site.
(7) Exempt Artificially Created Wetlands and Ponds. Artificially created wetlands and ponds created entirely from upland, regardless of size, are not waters of this state if they are constructed for the purpose of:
(a) Wastewater treatment;
(b) Settling of sediment;
(c) Stormwater detention and/or treatment;
(d) Agricultural crop irrigation or stock watering;
(e) Fire suppression;
(f) Cooling water;
(g) Surface mining, even if the site is managed for interim wetlands functions and values;
(h) Log storage; or
(i) Aesthetic purposes.
(8) Jurisdictional Ditches. Except as provided under section (9) and (10) below, ditches are jurisdictional if they are:
(a) Created in wetlands, estuaries, tidal rivers or other waters of this state; or
(b) Created from upland and meet the following conditions:
(A) Contain food and game fish; and
(B) Have a free and open connection to waters of this state. A "free and open connection" means a connection by any means, including but not limited to culverts, to or between natural waterways and other navigable and non-navigable bodies of water that allows the interchange of surface flow at bankfull stage or ordinary high water, or at or below mean higher high tide between tidal waterways.
(9) Non-Jurisdictional Irrigation Ditches. Existing irrigation ditches that meet the following tests are not jurisdictional:
(a) Are operated and maintained for the primary purpose of conveying water for irrigation; and
(b) Are dewatered for the non-irrigation season except for water incidentally retained in isolated low areas of the ditch or are used for stock water runs, provision of water for fire suppression, or to collect storm water runoff.
(10) Non-Jurisdictional Roadside and Railroad Ditches. Roadside and railroad ditches that meet the following tests are not jurisdictional:
(a) Ten feet wide or less at the ordinary high water line;
(b) Artificially created from upland or from wetlands;
(c) Not adjacent and connected or contiguous with other wetlands; and
(d) Do not contain food or game fish.


Or. Admin. R. 141-085-0515
DSL 1-2009, f. 2-13-09, cert. ef. 3-1-09; DSL 8-2009, f. 12-15-09 cert. ef. 1-1-10; DSL 1-2011, f. & cert. ef. 3-1-11; DSL 3-2012, f. 9-28-12, cert. ef. 9-29-12

Stat. Auth.: ORS 196.825 & 196.600-196.692

Stats. Implemented: ORS 196.600-196.692 & 196.800-196.990

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