Navigable rivers in Kansas

Discussion in 'KANSAS RIVERS TALK' started by River Outlaw, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. River Outlaw

    River Outlaw New Member

    Messages:
    2,836
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas,
    NAVIGABLE RIVERS IN KANSAS
    ==========================


    Kansas River
    ------------
    From river mile 0.0 to mile 170.4 (confluence with the Missouri
    River upstream to its confluence with the Republican and Smoky
    Hill Rivers in the vicinity of Junction City, in Geary County,
    Kansas)


    Arkansas River
    --------------
    From the Oklahoma State Line in Cowley County, Kansas to the
    Colorado State Line in Hamilton County, Kansas at approximate
    Latitude 38.029817 N, Longitude -102.044558 W.


    Big Blue River
    --------------
    From the confluence with the Kansas River upstream to the Nebraska
    State Line at approximate Latitude 40.00105885 N, Longitude
    -96.60161357 W.


    Cottonwood River
    ----------------
    From the confluence with the Neosho River upstream to the
    confluence
    with Doyle Creek at approximate Latitude 38.23938335 N, Longitude
    -96.91396668 W.


    Delaware River
    --------------
    From the confluence with the Kansas River upstream to the
    confluence
    with Grasshopper Creek at approximate Latitude 39.56261273 N,
    Longitude -95.53492821 W.


    Fall River
    ----------
    From the confluence with the Verdigris River upstream to the
    confluence
    with Otter Creek at approximate Latitude 37.7196301 N, Longitude
    -96.15852723 W.


    Little Arkansas River
    ---------------------
    From the confluence with the Arkansas River to the confluence with
    Turkey Creek at approximate Latitude 38.121681 N, Longitude
    -97.659472 W.


    Little Blue River
    -----------------
    From the confluence with the Big Blue River upstream to the
    Nebraska
    State Line at approximate Latitude 40.00161678 N., Longitude
    -97.01110148 W.


    Marais des Cygnes River
    -----------------------
    From the Missouri State Line upstream to the confluence with Long
    Creek at approximate Latitude 38.52049275 N, Longitude - 95.61061474 W.


    Neosho River
    ------------
    From the Oklahoma State Line upstream to, and including Council Grove
    Lake, at approximate Latitude 38.73448035 N, Longitude - 96.58845280 W.


    Ninnescah River
    ---------------
    From the confluence with the Arkansas River to the upstream end of the
    named reach at approximate Latitude 37.56758996 W, Longitude
    -97.70495625 W.


    Republican River
    ----------------
    From the confluence with the Kansas River upstream to the Nebraska
    State Line at approximately Latitude 40.00219267, Longitude N.
    -98.08730471 W.


    Saline River
    ------------
    From the confluence with the Smoky Hill River upstream to the
    confluence with Wolf Creek at approximate Latitude 39.00365024 N.,
    Longitude -98.42881981 W.


    Smoky Hill River
    ----------------
    From the confluence with the Kansas River upstream to and including
    Kanopolis Lake to elevation 1466 feet MSL, at approximate Latitude
    38.66614931 N, Longitude -98.16472781 W.


    Solomon River
    -------------
    From the confluence with the Smoky Hill River upstream to and
    including Waconda Lake to elevation 1455.6 feet MSL, at approximate
    Latitude 39.490719 N., Longitude -98.493372 W.


    Verdigris River
    ---------------
    From the confluence with the Arkansas River upstream to the confluence
    with Dry Creek at approximate Latitude 37.85638361 N., Longitude
    -95.97771612 W.


    Wakarusa River
    --------------
    From the confluence with the Kansas River upstream to the confluence
    with Bury's Creek at approximate Latitude 38.88624287 N.,
    Longitude -95.62924722 W.


    Walnut Creek
    ------------
    From the confluence with the Arkansas River upstream to the confluence
    with Dry Creek at approximate Latitude 38.460606 N., Longitude -99.018197 W.


    Walnut River
    ------------
    From the confluence with the Arkansas River upstream to the confluence
    with Whitewater River at approximate Latitude 37.65660219 N.,
    Longitude -96.99055229 W.


    Whitewater River
    ----------------
    From the confluence with the Walnut River upstream to the confluence
    with the West Branch Whitewater River at approximate Latitude
    37.81417666 N., Longitude -97.02223782 W.
    Wilson Lake Multipurpose pool plus 3 feet, elevation 1519 feet
    MSL,


    Arkansas River
    --------------
    From the Oklahoma State Line in Cowley County, Kansas to the
    Colorado State Line in Hamilton County, Kansas at approximate
    Latitude 38.029817 N, Longitude -102.044558 W.


    Big Blue River
    --------------
    From the confluence with the Kansas River upstream to the Nebraska
    State Line at approximate Latitude 40.00105885 N, Longitude
    -96.60161357 W.


    Cottonwood River
    ----------------
    From the confluence with the Neosho River upstream to the confluence
    with Doyle Creek at approximate Latitude 38.23938335 N, Longitude
    -96.91396668 W.
     
  2. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    You the man JJ! I always wondered why they have boat ramps on rivers that are not considered navigable.Ive wanted to fish alot of different rivers and now I know where I can go.
     

  3. River Outlaw

    River Outlaw New Member

    Messages:
    2,836
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas,
    it said last updated Oct. 2007
     
  4. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    where did you find the information? I want to read the whole report.
     
  5. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    I think you are headed for trouble if you follow that list. Kansas has clearly defined what it considers to be navigable rivers for the purpose of public access, and it's the Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas Rivers. Many have challenged that legally and lost.

    http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/fishing/about_kansas_fishing
    “There are more than 10,000 miles of streams and rivers in Kansas, most of which are privately owned. The three navigable rivers - the Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas - are open to the public, although one must have permission to access the river through private land. The rest of our streams are privately owned, but some reaches are leased by the department through the Fish Impoundments and Stream Habitats (F.I.S.H) Program, while other reaches are in public ownership.”
     
  6. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Non navigable is a relative term.
    Depending on the state ripary laws its definition and classification can vary.
    There are non navigable classified waters all over the US that you could run any boat you would ever want to catfish from on.

    For the most part the difference in non navigable and navigable waters defines who owns the river bottom.
    In NC navigable water bottom is placed into a state trust.
    The non navigable water bottom is in private ownership.
    The only way you would be trespassing if you were in contact with the bottom.
    Although the landowner may own the bottom of the river he doesn't own the water but he does have more right to the water then a landowner that does not own river bottom. His rights are limited though.
     
  7. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    I know that that works in some states, but in Kansas back in the 80's a canoe trip operator doing business on a non navigable stream lost that argument in court and had to shut down. He had financial support from various river access organizations and threw a lot of money into the legal fight, but still lost despite all of the resources invested.
     
  8. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    That depends on the state laws.
    Each state has written its ripary laws. Its part of states rights.
     
  9. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    Exactly. :sad2:
     
  10. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    Down here in southern Kansas we only have the Arkansas that is owned by the state. There is only one boat ramp on it that I know of. The Walnut has two ramps in one county. I know of ramps on the Neosho river too.So in my understanding you can use a boat if you dont use an anchor and you can only fish if your sinker is not on the bottom? That doesnt make much sense.The boat ramps are really only used by fisherman.IMO if there is a ramp on public property you should be able to use that ramp with no questions asked.Maybe the areas that have ramps are public wildlife areas or somethin, I dont know.Would like to hear more about it.
     
  11. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I fish alot of non navigable water in NC.
    I've never had a problem with wading, fishing, or dropping anchor.
    I'm not the type to hoop and holler all through the night louder and louder as the beer goes in.
    I dont think the majority of land owners really care as long as you are respecting what's theirs and not inserting your activities into their lives.

    Is there some that make an issue with it? I'm sure there are somewhere. I've never managed them on the waters I've fished.

    arkrivercatman, to answer your question that would depend on the state laws.
    We have public use ramps on non navigable waters. Miles and miles before you get to any navigable water.
    If the state owns the land the ramp is on the state only owns to the center of the river. Thats here.

    You'll have to look for your state's ripary laws.
    Hard to find the laws for some states. Other states easy as pie.


    I wouldnt fish without knowing what access rights I have and where they stop though. I know that technically I am trespassing fishing where we fish alot by wading down river to a bar. I do know and understand if a landowner has a problem with it and tells me to vamoose, I better get in gear. He is in the right.
    You would be surprised how many people actually know the laws.
    There is a bunch of folks around here that know their property line is the middle of the run of the creek or river but thats about it.
    They've never heard of ripary laws and therefore haven't a clue where their rights as a landowner begin and end. Same with fishermen.
    If you think a deputy can straighten it out, dont hold your breath. Chances are great he has never heard of them before either or his captain or the county high sheriff. Chances are even greater he'll side with the landowner even if you aren't doing anything wrong.
    It's just the way the cookie crumbles.

    I would print those laws out from a state government site and keep them on me. You might get a chance to learn somebody something somewhere along the line.
     
  12. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    Messages:
    1,797
    State:
    greatbend kansas
    as far as navigatable rivers i know that here in kansas there are three
    but the rest have public access for some parts of the river like the big blue it is only about a mile stretch that is public access
     
  13. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    Just to clarify one thing, in Kansas the definition of criminal trespass includes entering non navigable waters, period. It doesn't mater if anchor or anything ever touches bottom.

    I agree with Mark though, in a lot of places nobody will care, just realize that the land owners are within their rights to run you off, and you could get cited by the law if they make a complaint. Absent permission, being polite and friendly, and leaving if told to do so will go a long ways toward avoiding problems.
     
  14. uttatoo

    uttatoo New Member

    Messages:
    1,797
    State:
    greatbend kansas
    even fishing off of a bridge on a river that is non navigatable is against the law here in kansas
     
  15. catfisherman_eky3

    catfisherman_eky3 New Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    State:
    Kentucky
    Thanks for the info enjoyed my read
     
  16. River Outlaw

    River Outlaw New Member

    Messages:
    2,836
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas,
  17. River Outlaw

    River Outlaw New Member

    Messages:
    2,836
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas,
    Review of the relationship of federal and state law regarding rivers:
    The section on National River Law discusses river ownership, use, and conservation law throughout the United States. Following is a review of what individual states can and cannot lawfully do with the rivers within their borders.
    1. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that rivers that are navigable, for title purposes, are owned by the states, "held in trust" for the public. This applies in all fifty states, under the "Equal Footing Doctrine."
    2. Rivers that do meet the federal test are automatically navigable, and therefore owned by the state. No court or government agency has to designate them as such.
    3. The federal test of navigability is not a technical test. There are no measurements of river width, depth, flow, or steepness involved. The test is simply whether the river is usable as a route by the public, even in small craft such as canoes, kayaks, and rafts. Such a river is legally navigable even if it contains big rapids, waterfalls, and other obstructions at which boaters get out, walk around, then re-enter the water.
    4. The states own these rivers up to the "ordinary high water mark." This is the mark that people can actually see on the ground, where the high water has left debris, sand, and gravel during its ordinary annual cycle. (Not during unusual flooding.) It is not a theoretical line requiring engineering calculations. Where the river banks are fairly flat, this mark can be quite a distance from the edge of the water during medium water flows. There is often plenty of room for standing, fishing, camping, and other visits.
    5. States cannot sell or give away these rivers and lands up to the ordinary high water mark. Under the "Public Trust Doctrine," they must hold them in perpetuity for public use.
    6. The three public uses that the courts have traditionally mentioned are navigation, fishing, and commerce. But the courts have ruled that any and all non-destructive activities on these land are legally protected, including picnics, camping, walking, and other activities. The public can fish, from the river or from the shore below the "ordinary high water mark." (Note that the fish and wildlife are owned by the state in any case.) The public can walk, roll a baby carriage, and other activities, according to court decisions.
    7. States do have authority and latitude in the way they manage rivers, but their management must protect the public uses mentioned above. They can (and must) prohibit or restrict activities that conflict with the Public Trust Doctrine. "Responsible recreation" must be allowed, but activities that could be harmful, such as building fires, leaving trash, and making noise, can legally be limited, or prohibited, in various areas. Motorized trips and commercial trips can legally be limited or prohibited by state governments.
    8. State and local restrictions on use of navigable rivers have to be legitimately related to enhancing public trust value, not reducing it. Rivers cannot be closed or partially closed to appease adjacent landowners, or to appease people who want to dedicate the river to fishing only, or to make life easier for local law enforcement agencies.
    9. State governments (through state courts and legislatures) cannot reduce public rights to navigate and visit navigable rivers within their borders, but they can expand those rights, and some states have done so. They can create a floatage easement, a public right to navigate even on rivers that might not qualify for state ownership for some reason, even if it is assumed that the bed and banks of the river are private land. Note that this floatage easement is a matter of state law that varies from state to state, but the question of whether a river is navigable, for title purposes, and therefore owned by the state, is a matter of federal law, and does not vary from state to state. Note that a state floatage easement is something that comes and goes with the water: When the water is there, people have a right to be there on it, and when it dries up, people have no right to be there. But rivers that are navigable for title purposes are public land up to the ordinary high water mark, so that even when the river runs dry, people still have the right to walk along the bed of the river.
    10. Only federal courts can modify the test of standards that make a river navigable for title purposes. States cannot create their own standards, either narrower or wider in scope. They can’t make definitive rulings about which rivers are navigable for title purposes, only a federal court can.
    11. The situation gets confusing when a state agency or commission holds hearings about navigability and public use of rivers. Landowners, sheriffs, and other people tend to think that such an agency or commission can create state standards that determine which rivers are public and which are private. But these are matters of federal law which state agencies cannot change.
    12. State agencies should make provisional determinations that various rivers meet the federal test of navigability for title purposes. These provisional determinations should be based simply on the rivers' usability by canoes, kayaks, and rafts. They should then proceed to the question of how to manage navigation and other public uses of the river. In these days of government cut-backs, the agency should look for solutions that use existing enforcement agencies rather than setting up new ones. Littering, illegal fires, offensive behavior, trespassing on private land, and numerous other offenses are all covered by existing laws, and offenders can be cited by the local police, sheriff's office or state police.
     
  18. River Outlaw

    River Outlaw New Member

    Messages:
    2,836
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas,
    if there are only 3 navigatable rivers and the wakarusa & dragoon aint on the list then why are there state ramps on them ??
     
  19. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    yea i thought it was leagle but i was wrong or the rercently changed it because i read that myself. oooh new post gotta read
     
  20. Dsage

    Dsage Active Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    I posted this in an earlier thread on here but here it is again


    From going to the meeting that the Fish and Game had at the Center in Topeka the anwser that I received is that there are 3 rivers/streams that are navigable. Others have sections that are but these are short runs or they have areas to fish at. Like the places listed below.

    Big Blue River - Rocky Ford Dam below Tuttle Creek Reservoir
    Big Blue River - Tuttle Creek Reservoir Wildlife Area
    Big Blue River - Marysville
    Delaware River -Perry Reservoir Wildlife Area, Valley Falls
    Kansas River - Mouth of Big Blue River, Manhattan
    Marais des Cygnes River - low-water dam, Osawatomie
    Republican River - Milford Reservoir Wildlife Area
    Rock Creek - Clinton Reservoir Wildlife Area
    Wakarusa River - Eudora
    Wakarusa River - Clinton Reservoir Wildlife Area