The Watershed Protection District requires a permit for any work or activity in, on, over, under, or across a District channel, or for temporary or long-term use of District easement or property.

A watercourse permit is required by the Watershed Protection District for any work or project affecting the bed, banks and overflow areas of District jurisdictional red-line channels. When the work or project encroaches into the right-of-way of the District, an encroachment permit is required. Watercourse and encroachment permits are issued by the Permits Section of the Watershed Protection District.

For all permits, an application, location map, trust deposit, and insurance documents must be submitted. For construction projects, complete construction plans must be submitted as well. Additional documents, such as a hydrology and hydraulics report, structural analysis, and a geotechnical evaluation, may also be required. For all types of permits, all reports, plans, calculations, specifications, and construction submittals must undergo review and approval by the District.

Types of Permits – Please see type of permit (A-G) to get the full list of requirements. If proposed project falls under more than one category, the more stringent requirements must be followed.

A) Watercourse Permit (no ROW): minimal impact on channel
Installation of overhead lines crossing channel, biological activities within bed & banks of channel

B) Watercourse Permit: significant impact on channel
Bank protection, Arizona crossing, bridge, grading in/near channel, vegetation removal or planting in bed and banks of channel, utility line crossing under channel or over channel above ground, connection to channel:

On individual basis:

  • Hydrology & Hydraulics (H&H) report
  • Geotechnical report
  • Scour analysis
  • Structural calculations

C) Encroachment Permit: Access Only onto District ROW (property or easement)
One-time or short-term use of District road or Right-of-Way

  • Completed application
  • Site Plan showing District Right-of-Way limits, the extents of the requested access, and the proposed access points

D) Encroachment Permit: Work in District ROW not directly affecting channel
Staging in District ROW, underground utility line crossing under channel, underground utility line crossing over the channel, utility line crossing channel above ground, longer route or repeated trips on District access road, installing utility line along District access road, removing vegetation (including trees & branches)

  • Completed application
  • Insurance
  • Location map including APN
  • Engineered plans showing work and signed & stamped by registered civil engineer
  • Geotechnical report
  • Security for completion of work - See PWA Bond Book for more information

E) Encroachment Permit: Work in ROW directly affecting District channel
New connection to channel, bridge

  • Completed application
  • Insurance
  • Engineered plans showing proposed work and signed & stamped by registered civil engineer
  • H&H report
  • Geotechnical report
  • Scour calculations
  • Structural calculations
  • Engineering cost estimate
  • Security for completion of work - See PWA Bond Book for more information

F) Encroachment Permit: Work in existing or future ROW constructing or rebuilding District facilities that will be owned & maintained by the District (plans will be on Y-drawings)

  • Completed application
  • Insurance
  • Plans, reports, calculations, and specifications shall be per District standards.
  • Engineered plans showing work and signed & stamped by registered civil engineer
  • H&H report
  • Geotechnical report
  • Scour calculations/sediment study
  • Structural calculations
  • Engineering cost estimate
  • Security for completion of work - See PWA Bond Book for more information

G) Encroachment Permit: CONTINUAL USE or MAINTENANCE PERMIT: Ongoing use of District ROW subject to conditions, or ongoing permission to maintain a facility (e.g. outlet, utility line) in District ROW


Watercourse Permits and Encroachment Permits use the same forms for processing. The instructions, information about fees, application form, permit form, and list of standard conditions may be downloaded here pdf icon.

For insurance requirement information and acceptable forms please see this document: click here pdf icon.

For those permits that will require a Performance and Payment Security as determined after the initial project review, a fill-in PDF Surety Bond Performance and Payment may be downloaded here pdf icon.

Guide for Hydrologic and Hydraulic Study and Reports

The District has prepared a Guide for Hydrologic and Hydraulic Study Reports that may be downloaded here pdf icon to assist in preparing these documents as part of your application for a permit.


Watercourse Permit and Encroachment Permit fee and deposit information can be found at the following link for forms and instructions:

For typical applications a Trust Deposit of $2,000.00 is taken towards Plan Review, Investigation, and Inspection. An initial standard Permit Application Fee is deducted from the trust deposit automatically. For permits requiring plan check and inspection, fees are charged against your trust deposit for actual costs. As checking, construction and inspection progress, an additional trust deposit fee may be required.  A refund will be processed or additional fees required upon closing of the permit.

After your application is received you may opt to pay by credit card. If so, please visit our VC Citizen Access information page. Once a record is created for your account, you will be able to pay with your credit card and you will be able to access your account throughout the permit process. In order to initiate your account, visit the User Account Registration pdf icon page. A small percentage fee will be charged to your credit card in order to use this automated method to pay your permit fees.

The Board of Supervisors of the Ventura County Watershed Protection District adopts a resolution establishing fees for services. The last resolution adopted can be found here: Fiscal Year 2023-24 fees and resolution

The adopted fee schedule and current hourly rates are available here: Fee Schedules and Hourly Rates pdf icon

For typical applications, a trust deposit of $2,000 is collected to cover staff time spent working on the application process. Additional funds will be collected as needed to cover actual costs.  Any remaining funds will be returned once the permit is closed.

In addition to the basic permit fee shown in resolution, hourly rates are charged for staff time.
Download permit application form, in Forms, (new FY24 Permit App form linked here) which includes updated hourly rates.

Checks are payable to:

Ventura County Watershed Protection District

800 South Victoria Avenue – Mail Code 1610

Ventura, CA 93009-1610


  1. There’s water coming from my neighbor’s yard. Isn’t this illegal? Can the Watershed Protection District stop them from diverting runoff onto my property?

Generally speaking, the District only has jurisdiction over channels, so cases of runoff between adjacent properties are typically NOT under the authority of the District. Drainage issues between neighbors are a private matter.

  1. How do I prevent erosion from runoff on my property?

For information on preventing erosion caused by runoff, please consult our brochure here.

  1. What are the requirements for a permit?

Please see above Types of Permits in (A) through (G)

  1. Am I in a floodplain?

Click on this link to read information on floodplains in Ventura County. PWA, Land Development and Inspection Services

  1. Who do I give my submittal or insurance or check to?

Anyone at the front desk can take your submittal or check and date-stamp it.

  1. What is a redline channel?

A redline channel is a channel under the jurisdiction of the Ventura County Watershed Protection District. The list of redline channels was adopted by the District Board of Supervisors in 1960, and then updated and confirmed by them in 1994. Most of the redline channels convey about 500 cfs or more in a 100-year runoff event.

  1. What’s the difference between a watercourse and encroachment permit?

An encroachment permit is a permit for work in District right-of-way. Any type of activity within District right-of-way, even crossing District property, requires a permit. A watercourse permit is a permit for work in a channel under the jurisdiction of the District (redline channel) where the District has no right-of-way.

  1. How do I get a key to the District gate so I can drive on the District access road?

Use of a District access road requires a permit. In the course of obtaining the permit for this use, the permittee will be able to get a key or put their lock in series with the District lock so they can use the gate.

  1. Can I get an easement over District property?

The District typically does not grant easements over its property. Long-term use of District property is allowed by permit, but not by the granting of an easement


Submittals and Inquiries
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(805) 662-6882