Trusted stewards of Idaho's resources, from main street to mountain top


top left photo The IDL administers all public trust lands including navigable rivers in Idaho. The Idaho Department of Water Resources may administer the Stream Alteration Act for encroachments along rivers, but IDL still administers ownership of the public trust lands through issuance of easements and land disclaimers. The IDL also administers riverbed leasing for commodities such as sand and gravel.


Applications for riverbed leases are reviewed on a case by case basis.

Each application is advertised in a newspaper legal notice in the county or counties where the riverbed under application is located. The Land Board may order a public hearing to receive oral and written testimony if requested by 10 individuals whose lawful right to use the water applied for may be injured.

The IDL does not regulate suction dredge mining in Idaho rivers, unless the operation involves a hose greater than 8 inches in diameter.

Any applicant seeking to lease riverbed minerals must acquire all necessary permits from the Environmental Protection Agency and Idaho Department of Water Resources before operating on a lease.

Exploration Locations

Exploration is the activity performed to locate mineral bodies and to determine their mineability and merchantability [Idaho Code 47-1503(8)]. All state lands, endowment lands and navigable waters, are open for casual exploration unless they have been withdrawn [Idaho Code 47-702(1)].

Read more about exploration locations (pdf)

Withdrawn River Segments

Under the authorities of Idaho Code 47-702(2), 47-1323, and 58-104(9) certain river segments have been withdrawn from mineral entry and exploration.


  • For questions specific to a location
    10 Supervisory Areas
  • For statewide programmatic questions
    Minerals Leasing Program
    Boise Staff Office
    (208) 334-0200

Public Hearing Orders

Recreational Gold Mining

    The IDL does not regulate recreational suction dredge mining. Recreational dredge mining applies when miners use power sluices, small recreational suction dredges with a nozzle five (5) inches in diameter or less, and equipment rated at a maximum of fifteen (15) horsepower or less. Recreational dredge mining is regulated by the Stream Channel Protection Act administered by the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). If a miner has a recreational dredging permit issued by IDWR they do not need any additional permits from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) to mine in a navigable stream.
    Visit the Mining Regulation page for more information.