Riparian Rights

Riparian rights concern properties abutting moving water such as streams and rivers. If a property abuts a stream or river, the owner’s riparian rights are determined by whether the water is navigable or not navigable.

If the property abuts a non-navigable stream, the owner enjoys unrestricted use of the water and owns the land beneath the stream to the stream’s midpoint. If the waterway in question is navigable, the waterway is considered to be a public easement. In such a case, the owner’s property extends to the water’s edge as opposed to the midpoint of the waterway. The state owns the land beneath the water.