What are your riparian property rights?

Riparian is an adjective that describes all things related to riverbanks or shorelines

Property owners who own land that includes the shoreline of a river or lake have riparian property rights.

Property owners with riparian rights may:
• Access the water from their property
• Install a dock from the shore of their property

It’s important to note there are limitations to those riparian rights. Court rulings make clear that riparian property owners may not encroach on another’s property or infringe on others use of the lake.

Riparian property owners may not:
• Install a dock that interferes with the riparian rights of neighboring property owners
• Restrict the use of the lake or stream by members of the public
• Construct a seawall without a DEQ permit
• Alter or modify their riparian shoreline or remove aquatic plants without a DEQ permit

Lake/river access and use can become contentious when property owners are not clear about their riparian rights. Those considering purchasing waterfront property are advised to become familiar with the riparian property rights.

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