River and Lake Boundaries
Surveying Water Boundaries - Second Edition
By James A. Simpson, PE and LS
PATENTS AND GRANTS OF LAND ALONG RIVERS AND LAKES
Property rights and boundaries all relate back to the original grant and the law at the time of the grant.
Cases described range from Houston Bros. v. Grant in which a metes and bounds description was held not to include riparian rights to Jefferis v. East Omaha Land Co. which clarified that a government lot description along a water body includes accretions even when they are not mentioned in the sale.
1984 USGS Map“Meander lines are run, not as boundaries of the tract, but for the purpose of defining the sinuosities of the banks of the stream, and as a means of ascertaining the quantity of land…” See Railroad Company v. Shurmeir, a leading case since 1868.
Spanish land grants, federal grants to states as well as to individuals are discussed as they apply to navigable waters as well as non-navigable waters.