S.D. House grants some privacy on flooded lands

Farm Forum

PIERRE — It turns out the Legislature isn’t done yet with the dilemma over public access to water over flooded private lands.

In the process, Rep. Brock Greenfield left the rest of the House of Representatives speechless on Feb. 25. House members voted 63-6 for his legislation that would close some waters to motorized vehicles. No one else spoke on House Bill 1208, which now goes to the Senate.

Greenfield, R-Clark, wants to bar motorized vehicles or any combustion engine on non-meandered waters, such as flooded private land within 660 feet of an occupied dwelling, church, school house or livestock. The privacy zone is similar to the 660-feet safety zone that landowners use along highways to prohibit hunting.

Greenfield had introduced two bills dealing with flooded private lands. He had one killed and amended the other on Feb. 20 to become the privacy-zone measure. Greenfield’s move came just days after the Senate on Feb. 18 scrapped a broad proposal from Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, for regulating public use of flooded private lands that can be reached from a public access point.

Greenfield said on Feb. 25 that the 660-feet zone is “one element we can find common ground on” among the various sides in an unresolved dispute that is now more than a decade old.

The exceptions to the proposed ban include obtaining permission from the landowner; traveling directly to or from a ramp a dock with a point of public access on a non-meandered lake; or adjacent to land along a non-meandered lake that has been developed for lakeside dwellings.

The legislation also defines a non-meandered lake as any natural body of water for which a meander line survey wasn’t part of the official original U.S. survey. The legislation also clarifies that a manmade impoundment on private land isn’t a non-meandered lake.