Meandering Waters Issue

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Meandering water is a big issue, District 22 legislators said Feb. 16 at a legislative coffee in De Smet. And there are some 15 areas of concern in Kingsbury County that a bill making its way through the Legislature addresses.


Rep. Dick Werner (R-Huron) and Sen. Jim White (R-Huron) spoke to about 20 people at Ward’s Store & Bakery. They said the bill, which addresses the use of public water located over private land, has passed the House and now moves over to the Senate.


“It (the bill) doesn’t restrict the use of public water but it does address public water that rises over private land,” Werner said.


He said it’s basically an issue of flooding versus drought and when a lake or river rises onto private property, it’s still accessible to those who gain lawful public access. But the bill doesn’t allow anyone to set foot on private land just because they reach it by boat.


Kingsbury County State’s Attorney Gregg Gass said the bill raises some real enforcement issues. It would be clear that someone is trespassing if they set foot on private land, but less clear if they threw out an anchor over private land.


White agreed there are some enforcement issues. He said that Rep. Brock Greenfield, who used to represent this area, said last week that under the proposed bill he would not be trespassing if he were walking on ice above the land, but if he broke through the ice he would be trespassing.


Dale Blegen


The De Smet News

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