It is hereby declared that the waters of Lake Erie consisting of the territory within the boundaries of the state, extending from the southerly shore of Lake Erie to the international boundary line between the United States and Canada, together with the soil beneath and their contents, do now belong and have always, since the organization of the state of Ohio, belonged to the state as proprietor in trust for the people of the state, for the public uses to which they may be adapted, subject to the powers of the United States government, to the public rights of navigation, water commerce, and fishery, and to the property rights of littoral owners, including the right to make reasonable use of the waters in front of or flowing past their lands. Any artificial encroachments by public or private littoral owners, which interfere with the free flow of commerce in navigable channels, whether in the form of wharves, piers, fills, or otherwise, beyond the natural shoreline of those waters, not expressly authorized by the general assembly, acting within its powers, or pursuant to section 1506.11 of the Revised Code, shall not be considered as having prejudiced the rights of the public in such domain. This section does not limit the right of the state to control, improve, or place aids to navigation in the other navigable waters of the state or the territory formerly covered thereby.
The department of natural resources is hereby designated as the state agency in all matters pertaining to the care, protection, and enforcement of the state's rights designated in this section.
Any order of the director of Natural Resources in any matter pertaining to the care, protection, and enforcement of the state's rights in that territory is a rule or adjudication within the meaning of sections 119.01 to 119.13 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 03-15-1989