Indiana Navigable Waterways Act Glossary: Key Terms & Definitions for Developers and Consultants

Indiana Navigable Waterways Act Key Terms & Definitions

Abandoned Watercraft: A watercraft that has been left unattended on a navigable waterway for more than 15 days without the permission of the riparian owner or the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). (IC 14-29-1-4)

Alteration: Any change to the bed or banks of a navigable waterway, including dredging, filling, or the construction of structures. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Bank: The rising ground bordering a navigable waterway, which serves to confine the water to the natural channel during the normal course of the flow. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Bed: The land lying beneath the water of a navigable waterway, up to the ordinary high water mark. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Construction: The act of building, erecting, or placing any structure, fill, or excavation in or along a navigable waterway. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Debris: Any material, including but not limited to, garbage, refuse, trash, or litter, that is deposited or placed in a navigable waterway or along its banks. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Dredging: The removal of material from the bed or banks of a navigable waterway, often to maintain or improve navigation channels or to extract resources such as sand or gravel. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Excavation: The act of removing material from the bed or banks of a navigable waterway, often for construction or resource extraction purposes. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Filling: The act of depositing material in a navigable waterway or along its banks, often to create new land or to stabilize shorelines. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Highway of Commerce: A navigable waterway that is used or susceptible to use for trade, travel, or transportation, either by itself or in connection with other waterways. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Lake Preservation Act: An Indiana law that provides additional protections for certain public freshwater lakes, requiring permits for activities such as dredging, filling, and the construction of piers or seawalls. (IC 14-26-2)

Material: Any substance, including but not limited to, soil, debris, or waste, that is deposited or placed in a navigable waterway or along its banks. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Navigable Waterway: Any river, stream, or lake in Indiana that was navigable in fact at the time Indiana became a state (1816), and that has since remained navigable. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Navigation: The use of a navigable waterway for trade, travel, transportation, or recreation, by watercraft or other means. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Ordinary High Water Mark: The line on the shore of a navigable waterway established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by physical characteristics such as a clear, natural line impressed on the bank, shelving, changes in the character of soil, destruction of terrestrial vegetation, or the presence of litter and debris. (312 IAC 6-1-3)

Permit: A written authorization issued by the IDNR that allows an individual or entity to engage in a regulated activity, such as dredging, filling, or construction, in a navigable waterway. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Public Trust Doctrine: A legal principle that holds that certain natural resources, including navigable waterways, are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the public and must be protected for public use and enjoyment. (IC 14-29-1-1)

Riparian Owner: A person who owns land bordering a navigable waterway and has certain rights and responsibilities related to the use and management of the waterway. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Riparian Rights: The rights of a riparian owner to use and enjoy the navigable waterway adjacent to their property, subject to reasonable restrictions and the rights of the public. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Shoreline: The intersection of a navigable waterway and the land, typically defined by the ordinary high water mark. (312 IAC 6-1-3)

Structure: Any man-made object or improvement that is placed or constructed in a navigable waterway or along its banks, including but not limited to, piers, wharves, bridges, and seawalls. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Submerged Land: Land lying beneath the water of a navigable waterway, up to the ordinary high water mark, which is owned by the state and held in trust for the public. (IC 14-29-1-2)

Utility Crossing: The placement of utility infrastructure, such as pipelines or cables, across or beneath a navigable waterway, which requires a permit from the IDNR. (IC 14-29-1-8)

Watercraft: Any boat, vessel, or other floating conveyance used or capable of being used for navigation on water. (IC 14-8-2-305)

Water Quality Certification: A certification issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) that a proposed activity will not violate Indiana's water quality standards, which is required for activities that require a permit under the Navigable Waterways Act. (IC 13-18-4)

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