Riparian Boundaries

May 13, 2009
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Posted By Jason D. Willes on 5/12/2009 at 3:10 PM

A parcel of land (Parcel “A”) runs from the southwest corner of a section; thence northerly along the section line to the west quarter corner of said section; thence easterly along the quarter section line to the center of said section; thence diagonally along a line to the southwest back to the point of beginning.

A non-navigable river (not called for by deed) runs roughly parallel to, and about 30 to 50 feet southeasterly from, the diagonal line. So basically, the river in its entirety is on the adjoining parcel (Parcel “B”) – with one exception. A portion of the river has “migrated” onto Parcel “A” such that both banks now lie within the bounds of said parcel. This migration has been over a long period of time and is the result of man-made and natural causes over the years. A portion of the channel was realigned upstream in the 60’s and based on flow has subsequently changed course downstream to now fall within the bounds of Parcel “A”.

Do the boundaries of Parcels “A” and “B” change to follow the river? Does Parcel “A” lose area while Parcel “B” gains? Does the owner of Parcel “A” now own the entire bed of the river where it crosses his parcel? Do the boundaries stay where they were originally by description? (Neither deed calls for the river).

Your opinions are appreciated.

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