Do I need a water right to prospect or placer mine?
In some cases, yes. Removing water from state waters for any beneficial use, including highbanking and other mineral prospecting and placer mining activities that take water from the stream channel, requires a water right issued by Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) before you start work. Dredging, sluicing, or panning within a stream when you do not remove water from the stream does not require a water right. For more information, contact Ecology or the Office of Regulatory Assistance at 1-800-917-0043 or ora.wa.gov.
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