Saturday, May 15, 2010

Who owns the bed of the Salt River?

Catching up on my inbox, I see that the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously that a special commission was wrong and the Salt River was navigable at the time of Arizona statehood. That affects who owns the land in the riverbed, and that affects rights of sand and gravel companies and others who thought they had legally purchased land. The new ruling says the state owns the river lands. [right, historical photo fo the Roosevelt dam on the Salt River. Credit, Salt River Project]

Arizona Republic reporter Howard Fischer runs through the legal history and quotes an attorney for a public interest group saying the ruling will set standards for examining ownership of the Verde, San Pedro, Santa Cruz, and Gila rivers as well.

1 comment:

  1. West Virginia has an interesting river problem.

    The state owns to the high water mark on the Ohio side of the river. Then to enhance navigability the Corps of Engineers built locks and dams that changed the elevation of the river and created/submerged some islands. Dredges can now move from one state to another but apparently still be in West Virginia.

    Another level down, there are underground coal mines that have portals in one state travel under the Ohio River and remove coal from the adjacent state. Taxation is often levied at the portal but the coal came from another state.