Rights to Navigable River Bed

March 19, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

I had someone ask me to review a survey plat of a tract of his land that was performed by someone else . The property is adjacent to a major navigable river in the area (not the Ohio River). The survey, as is typical in the area, described the low water mark as the boundary, and the acreage to that line. The owner asked me about the ownership of the bed of the river (which would add about 35 acres assuming the center of the river is the thread of the stream). My initial thought was that the state of Kentucky owned the property under the stream bed from low water mark to low water mark, and I found several quotes in some of my survey books to back that up. His deed calls for the bank of the river.

Then he presented me with copies of several cases where courts had reversed lower court decisions, on several rivers, including the Ohio and Mississippi, and determined that the riparian owner actually did own the bed of the river to the thread of the stream, although that ownership is subordinate to the public’s right of use and navigation.

As far as I could tell, the only thing that any of the determined owners actually gained by owning the bed of the stream was that if anybody else tried to use it (to dredge, install mooring facilities, etc.) they were able to prevent it.

What he wants to know is, if he decides to sell, can he include the extra 35 acres in his total acreage? It appears from what I have read, he can. I can't see that it is worth much, though. Any construction in the area would have to be by permit from the Corps of Engineers whether it was owned by an individual or the state.

Anybody been involved in any cases where this came up? If so, what happened?

Click here to read the rest of this thread...

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB

Recent Articles by Randy Gray

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.

POB

POB August 2014

2014 August

In the August 2014 issue, POB explores how John McAslan + Partners used 3D modeling to facilitate the update design of King's Cross Station. Also, read how keeping workers safe on a rocky, steeply sloped mountainside requires precise, reliable monitoring.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Drones

How long until drones will be commonly used in business?
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif
Surveyor Statues

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +