Summer Study To Look At Recreational Use Of Non-Meandered Waters

Apr 18, 2017

Credit Sd Legislature

This summer state lawmakers will take a closer look at a South Dakota Supreme Court ruling on the use of non-meandered waters.

A 15-member commission will set out to define recreational use of non-meandered waters and look at legislation that’s been proposed in the past.

Under South Dakota law, the state manages water in trust for public use.

But a recent Supreme Court decision ordered Game, Fish and Parks to remove boat ramps providing access to non-meandered bodies of water over private land… That is unless the legislature clarifies otherwise.

Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson says any legislation will affect thousands of landowners and sportsmen in the Northeast part of the state for generations to come…

“This is an issue that, really, we’ve been asked to act on. We’ve tried a couple times and we’ve just not been able to find that consensus," Mickelson says. "So it’s important that the committee that we appoint be balanced in terms of landowners and sportsmen, and it have a broad constituency base reflective of the legislature so when that committee gets to that consensus and everyone is a little unhappy, which is how this is going to work, they can sell it to the legislature and they can go ahead and actually pass some legislation.”

In the 1990’s heavy snowfall and spring rains fill dozens of sloughs in the northeast side of the state. When the state was first surveyed, these areas were considered viable for agricultural use.

State House Majority Leader Lee Qualm and Senate President Pro Temp Brock Greenfield will chair the committee.

The last time the legislature called a summer study to discuss the issue was in the year two-thousand.