Riparian Rights – Accretion to an Island

Accretions to an island, when occupied for more than the statutory period, may be acquired by title by prescription by the owner of the island, rather than the riparian owner to whom it would otherwise belong. Hartwig v. Berggren, 179 Neb. 718, 140 N.W.2d 22 (1966).

Where the accretion from the shore of an island extends to the mainland or any distance short thereof, all the accretion belongs to the owner of the island, but where the accretion and the mainland eventually meet, the owner of each owns the accretions to the line of contact. Durfee v. Keiffer, 168 Neb. 272, 95 N.W.2d 618 (1959). See also Valder v. Wallis, 196 Neb. 222, 242 N.W.2d 112 (1976); Krimlofski v. Matters, 174 Neb. 774, 119 N.W.2d 501 (1963); Burket v. Krimlofski, 167 Neb. 45, 91 N.W.2d 57 (1958); Roll v. Martin, 164 Neb. 133, 82 N.W.2d 34 (1957).

An owner of land on shore, in the absence of restrictions on his grant, owns to the thread of the stream, and his riparian rights extend to existing and subsequently formed islands. 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).

The owner of an island has title to any land between the island and the center or thread of each surrounding channel. If title to an island which is surrounded by a nonnavigable stream is in the name of one owner, and title to the land on the shores opposite the island is in the name of other owners, the same riparian rights pertain to the island as to the mainland. For example, when land reappeared between an island owned by one person and the shore which was owned by another, the islands in the middle belong to the owner of the original island. Winkle v. Mitera, 196 Neb. 821, 241 N.W.2d 329 (1976); Heider v. Kautz, 165 Neb. 649, 87 N.W.2d 226 (1957). See also 78 Am. Jur. 2d, Waters, § 437, p. 883.

Island property that was surrounded on three sides by land owned by others and on the fourth side by the main channel of a river was “isolated” within the meaning isolated land statute. Young v. Dodge Co. Bd. of Sup’rs, 242 Neb. 1, 493 N.W.2d 160 (1992).


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