In 2016, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife created residential dock guidelines for homeowners with waterfront property. According to Phillip Elden, the guidelines have the express intent of protecting Oregon’s diverse aquatic wildlife. Here, Elden shares information about them.
Q: What is the purpose behind the residential dock guidelines?
Phillip Elden: The new rules were put into place to protect fish habitats and reduce predation of local species. According to some studies, man-made structures, including ramps, boathouses, and docks, alter fish behavior and have a negative impact on natural habitats. As residential developments continue to thrive, the state found it necessary to enact regulations to protect endangered species.
Q: How have size regulations been affected?
Phillip Elden: The new standards express that the preferred dock layout is no more than 24 feet in length and 6 feet in width. Docs cannot exceed 144 ft.² of area in direct contact with the water. These length, width, and square footage recommendations will accommodate most recreational watercraft.
Q: Do the new regulations address the issue of light penetration?
Phillip Elden: Yes, the regulations state that docks cannot be covered and the float surface must be made of materials that are at least 50% grated. Dock ramps must allow light to pass completely and may not be used for any purpose that could reduce natural light penetration, including as storage or a fish cleaning station.
Q: What materials can docks be made of?
Phillip Elden: Docks may continue to be made of wood; however, wood cannot be treated with chemicals. The regulations explicitly state that no products treated with copper-based protectant may be used. It should also be noted that these rules apply to pilings and any other material that would come in contact with water. Permits are required to build and docks on moving bodies of water may not extend more than 10% of the total width of the stream.