River and Lake Boundaries
Surveying Water Boundaries - Second Edition
By James A. Simpson, PE and LS
GRADUAL CHANGES IN LAKE AND RIVER BANKS BY WATER ACTION
The natural forces exerted by the water on alluvial soil cause movement of the river banks over time. Addition to river banks or lake shores is called accretion. Erosion is the opposite of accretion and is caused by the grain-by-grain removal of soil by the action of water.
The legal effect of accretion is that the upland owner gets to keep the additions attached to his land. The ordinary high water mark is the limit of the ownership in many states. The low water mark is used in some other states while a few states use a hybrid system.
Extensive discussion of leading cases involving accretion is held. How to distinguish between accretive and avulsive changes is discussed. And accretion surveys procedures are suggested. Disputes involving the ordinary high water mark and accretions are also found in Chapter 7.