South Dakota Legislative Discussion of Regulation of Small Lakes

Non-meandered study committee
A recent ruling by the South Dakota Supreme Court (Duerre v. Hepler, 2017 S.D. 8) on regulation of small lakes – also called “non-meandered waters” – led to creation of an Interim Legislative Study Committee in the South Dakota legislature. The committee’s first meeting was held April 27 at the capital in Pierre. The committee began discussions on private property protections, public access to these waters, and the definition of recreational use on non-meandered waters and will review of past legislation on these topics.

Non-meandered waters have been contentious in South Dakota. Former small wetlands have increased in size have become popular fishing destinations for resident and nonresident anglers year-round. After the recent Supreme Court ruling, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks closed public access to 25 non-meandered lakes. The League has been involved in this issue in the past and we will continue to follow developments as the Interim Legislative Study Committee moves forward.