18.44 Swamp Land And Overflowed Lands


In General

"Overflowed lands" are lands which are covered by non-navigable waters, or are subject to such periodical or frequent overflows of water, salt or fresh, (not including lands between high and low water marks of navigable streams or bodies of water, nor lands covered or uncovered by the ordinary ebb and flow of normal tides of navigable waters), as to require drainage or levees or embankments to keep out the water, and thereby render the lands suitable for successful cultivation.

"Swamp lands", as distinguished from overflowed lands, are lands which require drainage to dispose of needless water or moisture on or in the lands, in order to make them fit for successful and useful cultivation.

Swamp and overflowed lands, when constituting a portion of the United States public land, were granted by different Acts of the Congress to the several states within whose limits they lie, on the theory that the states were best prepared to construct or arrange for the construction of levees and drains necessary for making said lands available for any beneficial use.

While these grants have been held to have given inchoate title to the states, it is generally held that legal title remained in the United States, in trust for the states, until the lands could be identified by the method provided by the act. Nevertheless, subsequent grants by the United States of land found to be covered by these state grants have been held invalid unless ratified by the state. State law must be researched in this respect.