Official Government Website

Stream Channel Protection Program

The Idaho Stream Channel Protection Act requires that the stream channels of the state and their environment be protected against alteration for the protection of fish and wildlife habitat, aquatic life, recreation, aesthetic beauty, and water quality. This means IDWR must approve in advance any work being done within the beds and banks of a continuously flowing stream.

What is Covered by the Act?

In general terms, the Stream Channel Protection Act applies to any type of alteration work, including small scale dredge mining, done inside the ordinary high water marks of a continuously flowing stream.

The Act requires that you first get a stream channel alteration permit from IDWR before you begin any work that will alter the stream channel.

A stream channel alteration is defined as any activity that will obstruct, diminish, destroy, alter, modify, relocate or change the natural existing shape or direction of water flow of any stream channel. This includes taking material out of the channel or placing material or structures in or across the channel where the potential exists to affect flow in the channel.

Permit & Forms

Emergency Permits

Concerns about flooding due to rising water levels in Idaho creeks and rivers during periods of high water may prompt residents and local government leaders to pursue emergency work in stream channels to protect life or property. To prevent unnecessary damage to stream channels, Idaho law requires that all stream channel alteration work, including emergency work must have an approved stream channel alteration permit prior to beginning the work. Requests for expedited emergency stream channel alteration permits are available through the Joint Application for Permits found at the IDWR’s website and must completed according to the Instruction Guide and include a map and diagrams.

NOTE: Stream channel alteration projects may also require you to obtain permits under Federal laws administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The following link will take you to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulatory information page to help you make that determination.
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