Nearly every moving stream, intermittent or not in South Dakota, has supported a pre-settlement Amerindian or European explorer pulling and propelling a canoe over it.
Even before Statehood the US Army Corps of Engineers have had purview over water that flows into bodies that can support navigation. In South Dakota, once it leaves its source, all surface water that flows from or through private property is owned by the state.
Property owners can harvest and possess rainwater and with a permit can pump from aquifers; but, the moment runoff reaches another body of water outside that boundary, contaminated by whatever residue it encounters along the way, within state borders, it's the property of the State of South Dakota.
Unfortunately, in South Dakota, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is governed by those same offenders and therefore effectively neutered.
Rapid City environmental lawyer David Ganje does work for the South Dakota Farmers Union. He believes the legislature's non-meandered waters fix is deeply flawed.
The summer committee of the Legislature voted approval of a nonmeandered waters bill June 2. The bill includes several workable and good provisions. Still, the committee opted for a bill that is unfinished, even for the limited, immediate issues the bill seeks to remedy. This use of public waters cannot be bought or leased by the state. If the purpose of the bill is to buy or lease property rights from private landowners, the bill does not achieve this purpose. [David Ganje]This legislation is simply an extension of the watershed buffer bill that has no teeth either.
Longtime Democratic politico, Nick Nemec said, "the simplest and easiest solution is to forgive all property taxes on submerged land and open it to recreation. Possibly include 50-100 foot setbacks from shore and expanded no wake zones as an answer to some of the complaints of landowners."
Largely created by tiling East River lakes are mostly eutrophic shit holes filled with toxic algae and unable to even support fish populations: why they're not tapped for irrigation instead of pumping fossil water from depleted aquifers remains a mystery.
Ranchers and farmers who pump aquifers to water hay crops are running out of hay again after giving it to other ag welfare recipients last Spring.
That's not self-reliance; it's moral hazard. Moral hazard is the flip side of self-reliance and the livestock industry knows emergency declarations will provide bailouts for those who chose risk instead of burning off dry grasses minimizing losses. Domestic livestock have contributed to catastrophic wildfire conditions and Republican welfare ranchers are the real ecoterrorists who hate subsidies unless they benefit from them.
Despite greater than average mountain runoff into the Missouri River permanent disaster area South Dakota is banking on drought to coax relief from the Trump Organization even as the Prairie Pothole Region suffers from the ravages of industrial agriculture.
Little wonder the federal government wants ag welfare and crop insurance reform.
A teevee meteorologist based in Rapid City has compiled a three-part series on South Dakota's current drought cycle affirming the writings of this blogger. Andrew Shipotofsky's series is archived here.
The South Dakota Senate approved lifting the sunset date from non-meandered water laws 20-15.
Warming weather and dry conditions will raise the grassland fire danger West River later this week.