Riparian Rights – Accretion and Reliction

The basis of the riparian doctrine, and an indispensable requisite of it, is actual contact of the land and the water. Proximity or closeness short of contact is unavailing. The right to acquisition through an accession or reliction is one of the riparian rights. Stratbucker v. Junge, 153 Neb. 885, 46 N.W.2d 486 (1951). In Stratbucker v. Junge, 153 Neb. 885, 890, 46 N.W.2d 486, 488 (1951), the Nebraska Supreme Court quoted from the Restatement of Torts:

Land is riparian by virtue of the fact that it is so located in respect to a watercourse or lake that the possessor of it has lawful access to the water for his private use. The mere fact that a parcel of land is close by or adjacent to the water does not make that land riparian when the water itself is on another’s land, for insuch case there is no access to the water, for private use at least, without intruding on the land on which the water lies.

Where by process of accretion and reliction, or either, the water of a river gradually recedes, changing the channel of the stream and leaving the land dry that was theretofore covered by water, such land belongs to the riparian owner. Monument Farms, Inc. v. Daggett, 2 Neb. App. 988, 520 N.W.2d 556 (1994); Krumwiede v. Rose, 177 Neb. 570, 129 N.W.2d 491 (1964). See alsoFrank v. Smith, 138 Neb. 382, 293 N.W. 329 (1940); 134 A.L.R. 458; Conkey v. Knudsen, 141 Neb. 517, 4 N.W.2d 290, vacated, 143 Neb. 5, 8 N.W.2d 538 (1943).