OAR 690-051-0010

Terms used in ORS 537.170 (Contested case hearing on application), 543.015 (Policy), 543.017 (Minimum standards for development of hydroelectric power), 543.220 (Notice of filing of application), 543.225 (Hearing on application), 543.255 (Determination of cumulative impacts of proposed hydroelectric power projects), and in these rules are given the following meanings:


“Affected Local Government” means any local government, as defined in OAR 690 005 0015, within whose jurisdiction the use of water for hydroelectric purposes, or the construction of all or part of proposed or existing project facilities would be located.


“Anadromous Salmon and Steelhead” means an individual fish, or a run, stock, or population of any species of salmon or any steelhead trout that:


Is naturally or hatchery spawned in freshwater;


Spends a portion of its life in the ocean; and


Returns to fresh water to spawn.


“Approved Project” means a Permit application filed under ORS Chapter 537 (Appropriation of Water Generally) for hydroelectric power use or a Preliminary Permit or License application filed under ORS Chapter 543 (Hydroelectric Projects) which has been approved by the Water Resources Commission or Director.


“Available Water” means water not subject to statutory limits on use and which would not interfere with amounts needed for existing water right permits, certificates, or decrees including minimum perennial streamflows, and instream water rights as established under ORS 537.332 (Definitions for ORS 537.332 to 537.360) through 537.360 (Relationship between application for in-stream water right and application for certain hydroelectric permits) and OAR 690-077. Available water shall be based on stream gage records or, if stream gage records are not available, flow estimates using generally accepted methods of hydrologic analysis. At the location where water from a hydroelectric project would be returned to the stream and is available for other instream or consumptive uses downstream, it is not considered to be contributing to over-appropriation of any downstream water availability sub-basin.


“Commission” means Water Resources Commission.


“Compensate” means to recover, replace, or substitute for loss from unavoidable or unforeseen adverse impacts of an action.


“Cumulative Impact” means the collective effect resulting from incremental actions of past, present, or pending projects, developments or facilities.


“Director” means the Water Resources Director or staff authorized by the Director to administer these rules.


“Enhance” means to improve natural resource conditions over pre project levels.


“Existing Facility” means any permanent physical structure for the diversion, conveyance, control, or use of water, whether or not in current use.


“Governmental Entity” means any federal or state agency and local government as defined in ORS 294.004 (Definitions), irrigation district formed under ORS Chapter 545 (Irrigation Districts) and a water control district formed under ORS Chapter 553 (Water Control Districts).


“Agency Representatives” means any representatives of the following state agencies and other agencies as necessary that may be consulted by the Water Resources Department on the particular natural resources for which each is responsible:


Department of Agriculture;


Water Resources Department;


Department of Environmental Quality;


Department of Energy;


Department of Fish and Wildlife;


Department of Forestry;


Department of State Lands;


Parks and Recreation Department;


Department of Land Conservation and Development.


“Improve” means to enhance.


“License” means a hydroelectric license containing a time-limited water right issued to non-municipal applicants as provided in ORS 543.210 (Preliminary permits)543.320 (Effect of amendment or repeal of law).


“Major Hydroelectric Project” means any hydroelectric project greater than 100 theoretical horsepower.


“Minor Hydroelectric Project” means any hydroelectric project less than or equal to 100 theoretical horsepower.


“Maximum Economic Development” means achievement of the greatest net practical economic gain to the people of the state.


“Minimum Perennial Streamflow”, also minimum streamflow, means the minimum flow in a stream designated by an administrative rule adopted in a basin program by the Water Resources Commission or its predecessors to implement ORS 536.235 (Policy on minimum streamflows), 536.300 (Formulation of state water resources program)(2), and 536.310 (Purposes and policies to be considered in formulating state water resources program)(7) to support aquatic life, to minimize pollution and to maintain recreation values.


“Mitigation” means taking action or measures that avoid, minimize, rectify, reduce or compensate for impact.


“Modify” means to alter the appearance, character, structure, function or operation of an existing facility.


“Net Loss” means that the magnitude, quality or type of natural resource lost, exceeds the magnitude, quality or type of natural resource provided by mitigation, restoration or enhancement.


“Permit” means a Permit to appropriate water for hydroelectric development issued to municipal corporations as provided in ORS Chapter 537 (Appropriation of Water Generally).


“Preliminary Permit” means a Preliminary Permit issued to non-municipal hydroelectric applicants as provided in ORS 543.210 (Preliminary permits)543.320 (Effect of amendment or repeal of law).


“Project” means any hydroelectric power project as defined in ORS 543.010 (Definitions for ORS 543.010 to 543.610).


“Project Facilities” means all parts of the project necessary for or related to power generation. Project facilities shall include dams, diversion structures, reservoirs, forebays, conveyance structures, penstocks, turbines, tailraces, navigation locks, fish ladders, fish screens, recreation facilities, tunnels, transmission lines, substations, buildings, structures and other such works necessary or related to the project.


“Project Vicinity” means:


All lands and waters required for project facilities; and


All lands and waters which project construction or operation could reasonably be expected to affect.


“Proposed Project” means a project for which an application has been received but not acted on by the Commission or Director.


"Protected Area” means an area where the Northwest Power and Conservation Council believes hydroelectric development would have unacceptable risks of loss to fish and wildlife species of concern, their productive capacity or their habitat as designated in the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program (2014); including Protected Areas adopted on August 10, 1988, and subsequently amended (September 14, 1988 and August 8, 1990, August 13, 1992) pursuant to P.L. 96-501.


“Public Facilities” means private and public lands and structures that provide for transportation, power, communication, water supply, waste treatment, drainage, flood control, recreation and community services to meet public needs for health, safety and welfare.


“Public Utility” means a utility regulated by the Public Utility Commission, under ORS Chapter 757 (Utility Regulation Generally), that provides electric power to consumers.


“Restoration” means to return the condition of a natural resource to its pre project state.


“River Basin” means:


A subbasin designated by the Commission; or


A major river drainage not otherwise divided by the Commission.


“Significant” means having importance in terms of the context and intensity of an action and its result.


“Study Plan” means a document prepared by or on the behalf of the applicant which provides detailed descriptions of proposed methods for evaluating project impacts and effectiveness of potential mitigation measures.


“THP” means theoretical horsepower, computed by multiplying the flow in cubic feet per second by the amount of fall in feet and dividing the product by 8.8.


“Wasteful, Uneconomic, Impracticable or Unreasonable” as used in ORS 537.170 (Contested case hearing on application) and 543.225 (Hearing on application) shall have the following meanings:


A use of water in greater quantities or at greater rates than necessary to achieve proposed project purposes;


A use of water for which quantifiable public and private economic costs exceed quantifiable public and private economic benefits over the life of the project as demonstrated in the record;


A use of water which could not reasonably be developed with the available means or methods;


A use of water which would preclude present beneficial uses or other uses with a reasonable expectation of being developed during the proposed life of the project, which have a greater value to the public.


“Water Dependent Recreational Opportunity” means a recreational opportunity that can occur only on or in water, such as swimming, boating, water skiing, and fishing.


“Water Dependent Recreational Opportunity of Statewide Significance” means a recreation opportunity that, combined with natural qualities of the water resource involved, has exceptional value. Factors that may contribute to statewide significance include special designation, high demand, uniqueness, outstanding or unusual natural surroundings, irreplaceable qualities or relatively limited availability. Recreation opportunities readily available on other waters shall not be considered of statewide significance.


“Wild Game Fish” means any fish, run, stock or population of fish belonging to a family of fish listed in ORS 496.009 (“Game fish” defined) and which is sustained through natural reproduction.
Projects to be Considered by the Commission
Restriction on Filing
Preliminary Permit not Required
Applications: Filing Procedure
Applications for Preliminary Permits: Contents and Scope of Evaluation
Application of Standards to Preliminary Permits
Applications for Minor Projects: Contents, Scope of Evaluation and Application of Standards
Applications for Major Projects: Scope of Evaluation and Application of Standards
Application for Major License or Permit: Contents, Scope of Evaluation
Hearings Requirements for Preliminary Permits, Licenses and Permits
Time and Place of Hearings
Filing of Protest and Remonstrances
Standards for Evaluation
Protection of Designated Resource Areas and Special Management Areas
Mitigation, No Net Loss
Water Resources
Fish Resources
Plant Life
Hist.: Cultural and Archaeological Resources
Land Resources
Land Use
Need for Power
Consolidated Review
Interim Orders
Competing Applications
Minor Projects, Waiver of Provisions of Act Where the Licensee is Not a Public Utility
Water Rights
Failure to Construct Project or Utilize Water
Fees: Filing and Annual
Agreements Between Municipal and Private Applicants
Last Updated

Jun. 24, 2021

Rule 690-051-0010’s source at or​.us