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Riparian Rights

michiganriparianWith its 10,000 lakes, Riparian rights becomes a very complex subject in the state of Michigan. Much confusion has led to several court cases that have tried to define riparian rights for home owners.

If you are a Michigan lakefront or waterfront property owner, riparian rights entitle you to enjoy the waterfront of the lake, river or stream. You are also able to reasonably use and enjoy of the surface waters of the lake, river or stream. That means you can fish, swim and boat on the water. You are able to install a dock (reasonable length) and anchor it to your bottomland. You also have the right to moore a boat to your bottomland.

You are considered to have exclusive rights to use your beach.

Riparian rights belong to the adjacent upland. The Riparian rights are transferred to the new owner of the upland as the property is sold. The Riparian rights cannot be separated from the adjacent land. They are permanently attached.

Waterfront owners have many rights, there are some restrictions. It is not permissible to place fill material in the lake, river or stream without a permit from the DNR. Nor may you remove or dredge any soils or minerals from the waterfront.

As you may enjoy the riparian rights, you may not restrict the use of the surface waters by the others that have riparian rights to the same body of water.

So, enjoy your waterfront privileges, but exercise these rights in a way that also allow your neighbors to enjoy their rights.

Written by Dave.