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South Dakota: GFP to Close Boat Ramps on Non-Meandered Waters

Post By: culinarypunk      Posted: 4/20/2017 8:37:47 AM     Points: 82031    
just something to read....

PIERRE, S.D. - In compliance with the recent Supreme Court ruling in Duerre v. Hepler, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is closing Department-managed boat launches on non-meandered bodies of water.

"Recreational access to non-meandered waters is a complex issue that has impacted our state for decades," said Kelly Hepler, GFP department secretary. "Under this Supreme Court decision, GFP cannot facilitate access to non-meandered waters for recreational purposes."

According to the Supreme Court, the South Dakota State Legislature must determine whether and how the public may use non-meandered waters for recreational purposes. GFP cannot facilitate access to these waters until the State Legislature acts.

To comply with the Supreme Court ruling, GFP is posting signage and limiting access to infrastructure at the following water bodies, with the potential of additional water bodies to be added:

Caseys Slough, Cottonwood Lake GPA, Dry Lake #1, Dry Lake #2 and Swan Lake in Clark County
Deep Lake and Goose Lake in Codington County
East Krause Lake, Lynn Lake, Middle Lynn Lake and Reetz Lake in Day County
North Scatterwood Lake in Edmunds County
Three Buck Lake in Hamlin County
Bullhead Lake, Cattail-Kettle Lake and Cottonwood Lake in Marshall County
Keisz Lake in McPherson County
Grass Lake, Loss Lake, Scott Lake and Twin Lakes in Minnehaha County
Twin Lakes in Sanborn County
Cottonwood Lake and Mud Lake in Spink County and
Dog Ear Lake in Tripp County.

Public notice signs will be posted in these areas by the end of April.

In accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, the Department has halted fish stockings, creel surveys, canoe and kayak rentals, permitting of fishing tournaments and special events, and facilitating access for ice fishing for the listed water bodies.

For more information, visit [log in for link]

 Reply by: gotafish      Posted: 4/20/2017 9:38:14 AM     Points: 123    
Dam, ANS inspections don't look so bad. I guess we should stop pissing and moaning, suck it up and go fishing.
 Reply by: Walleye Guy      Posted: 4/20/2017 11:40:18 AM     Points: 100    
I fish some of those lakes. One in particular has a private/ pay launch the others have state maintained ramps....not real sure what this means. I sent a email to my resort for a bit of clarification. If I get it I will report back.
 Reply by: rljb1      Posted: 4/20/2017 12:07:42 PM     Points: 1176    
[log in for link]

I grew up in Nebraska near South Dakota and fished in S.D. at times (non of these lake though). I was curious what "non-meandered" meant. I found the article in link above from the Argus Leader.

Here is a quote from the article:
The state for more than a century has surveyed bodies of water in the state. The bodies that are greater than 40 acres had lines clearly drawn around them in the survey, defining them as meandered. Water bodies that didnít meet the requirements were noted on the survey without lines around them, classifying them as non-meandered.

By law, the state owned the land under meandered bodies but private landowners owned title to land under non-meandered bodies, the conclusion being that non-meandered bodies of water were temporary and the land might be suitable for agriculture.

South Dakota Game Fish & Parks had long held that all water was accessible to the public if it could be reached without trespassing on private land, as did hunters and anglers. The most recent court decision forbid GF&P from facilitating access to the public on waters and ice over private property and said hunters and anglers aren't within their right to hunt or fish in non-meandered waters.

The committee unanimously appointed the task force to be chaired by House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, R-Platte, and co-chaired by Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield, R-Clark.

"This is an issue that we've been asked to act on (previously) and we haven't really been able to reach that consensus," said House Speaker Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls.

The Legislature has taken up the issue three times since the 2004 but hasn't voted to make non-meandered waters open to the public.

So, it appears that the issue is who owns the lake/pond/wetland bottom --- and because of that not allowing access to the public.
 Reply by: Dan Swanson      Posted: 4/20/2017 1:55:08 PM     Points: 1348    
These non-meandered lakes are really not much different than our reservoirs where the land and surface rights are dictated by the land and water owner.
 Reply by: jlimke      Posted: 4/21/2017 8:14:23 AM     Points: 415    
What does "non-meandered water" mean? I tried googling it but all I got were results of this news article.
 Reply by: esoxrocks      Posted: 4/21/2017 2:17:55 PM     Points: 2474    
If my memory serves, I think the term non-meandered came from when surveyors were originally mapping areas. If they could walk across a stream, lake or pond (i.e., they didn't have to walk around it or walk downstream to cross), then it was non-meandered. The term was used to define a intermittent or shallow stream or lake that wan't subject to regulations covering "public use" waterways. I think the term "navigable" is now used more often to classify waterways...but apparently the term non-meandered still has meaning in SD.
 Reply by: shiverfix      Posted: 4/21/2017 2:34:16 PM     Points: 3384    
It gives the definition in the link.

Meandered and Non-Meandered Waters Definitions

Meandered waters are waters that at the time of the original survey of South Dakota, the U.S. government surveyor estimated them to be larger than 40 acres and of a permanent nature. Land within the defined meander line, or surveyed boundary, became state trust property.

Non-meandered waters are all other lakes, ponds or sloughs that did not meet the above definition at the time of the original survey. The lands beneath the waters in these basins were made available for homesteading and would become privately owned. Over time, GFP or other government agencies may have acquired lands within some of these non-meandered basins.
 Reply by: SDangler      Posted: 4/21/2017 3:35:16 PM     Points: 583    
I grew up in this region of SD. Still not sure of the term "non-meandered." We never used it or heard it around our farm. In the glacial lakes - or "prairie pothole" region of the state, these bodies of water are very shallow - normally less than 15-20 feet at the deepest point. I believe these "non-meandered" waters are very vulnerable to natural fluctuations in the water table. Most started as sloughs and marshes. In times of heavy runoff, they fill up, flood over roads, and sometimes connect with "meandered" waters. Fish become displaced and inhabit these new ponds and small lakes. Forage fish grow like weeds, and fish populations explode, as long as the water levels are sustained. Pike move in first, followed by walleyes. This evolution happens quickly - over a period of just a couple of years. These lakes literally disappear over a couple of drought years. It's an amazing boon for the sportsman. It's catastrophic for farmers. Their ag production land lies underneath the waters. The can't grow crops and struggle to maintain livestock. Their livelihood is washed out.

Farmers then wait for their cropland to reemerge. The challenge is whether or not a landowner can prevent access to sportsmen. Some farmers embrace it and open makeshift boat ramps, charging parking and access fees to their ramps and docks. Others do what they can to prevent access, trying to keep trespassers off of their lands.

Much like our own CPW (who assumes that the state of Colorado owns the animals), the SD GFP assumes they own the waterways - whether permanent or temporary. In trying to do a good thing, they can be overzealous. While trying to add access for sportsmen, they can create environments that pit landowners (former landowners) and citizens at odds with one another.
 Reply by: Icebuster      Posted: 4/21/2017 8:25:41 PM     Points: 37    
I'm torn between the decision. We fish many of these lakes while owning a cabin in the Glacial Lakes Region. These oversized ponds have generated some of the best fishing in the Northern States. Game & fish have also stocked these lakes with state $. Some have eneded being great brood lakes for walleye supporting stocking in the region.

Fishing those lakes shouldn't be affecting landowners land below the water. It's not tillable until its dried up & that's been 20 years ago since they may have been tilled. I do understand access through private land should be up to the land owners descresion.

I hope their can be a compromise in the future.
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: 4/21/2017 9:21:19 PM     Points: 4216    
I rarely enter into political Bullshit, but this seedms to be in line with the new administrations way of making the General Public suffer, while they save government Dollars for things they like...Health care, social services, {lanned Parenthood.

Sure, cut off services to the bulk of the citizens, especially at the bigger bodies of water, (non-meandered) blame it on the Supreme Court, and then leave South Dakota's Sportsmen out in the cold.

I bet the body of Duerre vs. Hepler never mentioned cutting funding or services in large lakes in South Dakota.

I'm sorry your State Government in SD SUCKS BALLS!
 Reply by: Walleye Guy      Posted: 4/22/2017 7:11:37 AM     Points: 100    
They do need to get this fixed. I fish 3 of these lakes often, Mid Lynn, Lynn and Reetz. All have some specific issues. LYnn is one of the only Musky lakes in SD. THe state has planted many muskies in it over the recent years. It is not uncommon to catch fish over 40 inches while walleye fishing, I have done it. This lake has a private launch 5 dollars a vehicle, it is now closed, in order to reopen the private ramp owner has to get approval from all the other land owners whose land is currently under water. The state currently traps and gets walleyeeggs from Mid Lynn, this year they collected about 90 million eggs from there, eggs that benefit a lot of lakes in SD.

Reetz may be the best fresh water lake I have ev r fished. It has a state ramp on a leased piece of land. It is managed for trophy walleyes, the limit is one over 28 inches. A couple of years ago 3 of us caught 16 over 28 and dozens over 20 inches. All released. This plus our limit of crappies all over 12 inches AND many SMB, all this in one day. Although that day sticks out there have been many great days on the water. I once saw a shocking boat go by us pulling in fish that you would not believe.

My resort owner indicated to me that the state., landowners, resort owners and Sportsmans groups are scrambling to figure this out, maybe by this summer.

We shall see.

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