Navigable Waterways and your rights

Discussion in 'TEXAS RIVERS TALK' started by Blind In Texas, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Blind In Texas

    Blind In Texas New Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    Houston, T-E-X-A-S
    Recently I have had a couple of issues with Sugarland and Stafford police departments. The issue being that I can not park under the freeway and fish my favorite section of the Brazos. The new u-turn has a poured curb on both sides of the lane. There is a striped shoulder, vehicle width, a six foot wide sod shoulder, and then concrete barricades. Both PDs have told me that I can not park in that location.

    The following link is directly from the TPWD site.

    "Public access to rivers is legally protected, and physical entry is easy in many parts of Texas. Indeed, it is a criminal offense to obstruct the inter­section of a public road and a navigable waterway.10" - TPWD

    Link:
    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/nonpwdpubs/water_issues/rivers/navigation/sweeney/

     
  2. Blind In Texas

    Blind In Texas New Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    Houston, T-E-X-A-S

  3. catfishjon

    catfishjon New Member

    Messages:
    156
    State:
    texas
    I wish I had some answers. I see lots of public highways crossing rivers that have no public access. They have been fenced off by the land owner to keep people out. It seems a vague law with no clear answers. Catfishjon
     
  4. drpepper

    drpepper New Member

    Messages:
    6,133
    State:
    Indiana
    http://tpwd.state.tx.us/publication...s/rivers/navigation/kennedy/kennedy_faq.phtml

    It is an offense to fish from the deck or road surface of any bridge or causeway on a road maintained by the Texas Dept. of Transportation.Parks and Wild. Code Secs. 66.008 and 66.012 However, no law prohibits fishing in public water from a highway right of way, or underneath a highway bridge. Keep in mind that, in private bodies of water, the owner of the bed controls the right to fish above his portion of the bed. But in some cases the state or county owns the right of way, which indicates that the public may lawfully wade and fish in the portion of the stream which lies over the publicly-owned right of way. In other cases, the entity which built the road has only acquired an easement for road construction and maintenance, leaving the fishing rights with the landowner.
     
  5. Blind In Texas

    Blind In Texas New Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    Houston, T-E-X-A-S
    Thank you much, Bill. That is exactly the type of info I am looking for!
     
  6. Blind In Texas

    Blind In Texas New Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    Houston, T-E-X-A-S
    Public Access to Navigable Streams

    For assistance with accessibility on any TPWD documents, please contact accessibility@tpwd.state.tx.us

    Access must usually be obtained through the use of public property. The typical access may be from the right of way of a public road that crosses the stream, through a publicly owned boat launch area, or from some other public land (a park, for example) adjacent to the stream. There is no general right to cross private property to get to a navigable stream. There are a number of privately owned parks or campgrounds where members of the public may have access to a navigable stream by paying a small fee to the landowner. If the private landowner forbids access, an attempt to use the private land would be a trespass.
    State law prohibits parking on a highway bridge and generally forbids (with certain exceptions) parking in the main traveled part of a highway.
    Within a public roadÂ’s right of way, private fencing that restricts public passage to the stream is illegal.



    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publica.../rivers/navigation/riddell/publicaccess.phtml
     
  7. drpepper

    drpepper New Member

    Messages:
    6,133
    State:
    Indiana
    Your sure welcome... glad I help a little. I've had simular problems just last summer. BTW, Welcome to the BOC man! Glad you're here!
     
  8. Blind In Texas

    Blind In Texas New Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    Houston, T-E-X-A-S
    I also checked with the city's ordinance section pertaining to parking, standing, and stopping. It states that those activities are NOT unlawful unless that exact area is posted as such at the time of the alleged offense. It is NOT marked and can not BE marked by the city.

    Without special permission from the state, posting of such signage or restrictions would fall under the crimminal offense section of Navigation Rights. Unless the property along the banks is privately held, obstruction of the intersection of a navigable or public waterway and a public road is crimminal offense.

    Simply put, that police officer was breaking state law. Rather than argue with him, I sent an email, to that department, containing the links to the sections of state law and their OWN city ordinance, which, describes in detail what can and can not be marked and under which conditions.

    I asked the department to make all the officers aware that harrassing me or anyone else at that crossing is a crimminal offense.

    According to Texas: while the state may not make any efforts to provide access to navigable rivers and streams, it certainly does not make the access illegal so long as it is acquired from publicly held lands and rights of way, or, by permission of owner for private lands.

    Did I miss anything? Any comments? Anyone? This is good stuff.

    For example: Lake Tawakoni. Parking at the ends of the causeways, walking down the shoulders, then hopping the guardrails to stand on the slopes and fish is perfectly legal. As long as we do NOT fish from the road deck, we are good.
     
  9. centexcop

    centexcop New Member

    Messages:
    3,013
    State:
    Texas
    I'm glad you got it figured out. I wouldn't think that the officers were out to harass you though. The officers may have had calls there before and had problems with people at the water. The water attracts a weird crowd sometimes, and not everyone that goes down there may not have the same good intentions as you. As fishermen, we look at it as a place to fish. Officers look at it that there may be someone down there involved in criminal activities.

    This has been a long battle through the years and there are lots of similar stories out there. I say let's just go fishing....:big_smile:
     
  10. coach

    coach New Member

    Messages:
    1,564
    State:
    Greenville , Ms
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
  11. gilmafam

    gilmafam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,466
    State:
    California
    Thanks for the rivers information link Steve. Very informative and I'm sure that I might use the infor at a later time.

    Merry Christmas Bayrunner Ray
     
  12. Blind In Texas

    Blind In Texas New Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    Houston, T-E-X-A-S
    Thanks Joey. I didn't look at the first couple of times as harassing, though. Two different officers. I hope that after the department sees the issue and laws that there will be no further trouble. Anything after this would be harassing.

    I agree with you about officers being on the look out for shenanigans of shady sorts. I don't blame them for their caution. It's why complied. They were just doing what they thought was right. Can't blame a soul for doing what he thinks is the right thing when so many are out there doing wrong. Gott love em.
     
  13. tufffish

    tufffish New Member

    Messages:
    1,196
    State:
    Texas
    texas has a listing of the navigatable streams. it will tell you at what bridge or landmark a stream starts to be considered navigatable by state law. just because you can put a boat in it is not navigatable by texas law. every state is different, so don't get confused by what people from each state say. you can look it up. i did once and was surprised by what is listed.
     
  14. Blind In Texas

    Blind In Texas New Member

    Messages:
    143
    State:
    Houston, T-E-X-A-S
    It was waaaaay too early in the morning when I posted this on the wrong thread ;)=====

    I was right in all aspects of MY findings. Sgt. Coleman did send a bit of statute stating that there must be, outside a residential or business district, at least 200 feet of visibility at all times. This simply means that I must park as far away as possible from the blind curve at the beginning of the u-turn.

    Sgt. Coleman actually drove out to the location in question and surveyed where he understood me to have been parked. 200 feet. That is the only stipulation. I WON!!!! Patience and respect. I recieved as much as I gave.

    He did inform me, however, that the city will be putting in no trespassing signs. This is obviously another issue altogether. Hopefully I will be able to understand why they can or will do that. Hopefully that will never happen.

    Sgt. Coleman did inform me that I should check at the beginning of subsequent visists for these signs.