Potential bill concerning non-meandered water causing a stir in South Dakota

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A problem is brewing around non-meandered water in South Dakota.

Non-meandered water is a body of water or lake that is 40 acres or smaller and can be privately owned.

Recently a South Dakota legislative committee received a draft bill that would give landowners the ability to section off parts of lakes that lie over their property.

On Wednesday night in Rapid City members of the community discussed how the bill would affect tourism and agriculture.

One concerned citizen says the potential bill is unfair because it would commercialize public water and wildlife.

Prairie Hills Audubon Society President Nancy Hilding says, "If you want to get to your lakes, Game, Fish, & Parks is going to have to buy the access and then some fee is going to go up, some taxes are going to go up to pay for that so then will your fishing license go up in order for the public to go where you currently are now allowed to go?"

Some landowners are frustrated with anglers fishing on water above their land.

And Game, Fish, and Parks has blocked or removed boat access to 25 lakes in South Dakota.

Nancy Hilding says, "People in South Dakota and in neighboring states have read about this and they're scared to go out in the lakes and they're scared to go fishing. They don't know whether they're allowed to go on that lake or not so they're just staying home and doing something else on their weekend so that's harming the tourism business in South Dakota."

The committee will meet again in Pierre on June 2 to make a decision on the piece of legislation.

If there's a consensus, the committee will ask Governor Dennis Daugaard to call a special legislative session around June 12.

To learn more, visit the websites of Prairie Hills Audubon Society or Game, Fish, & Parks.