Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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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 the Governor's Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance at 1-800-917-0043 or oria.wa.gov.

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Last Updated
20th of May, 2014

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