Swamp and Overflowed Land Act Law & Legal Definition


The Swamp and overflowed land Act (“Act”) refers to a federal legislation enacted by Congress in 1849. The Act recognizes certain lands as wetlands which are found unfit for cultivation. The Act entrusts certain wetlands to the federal states for the purpose of constructing necessary levees and drains to reclaim the swamp and overflowed land.

The Act explicitly provides that federal land can be transferred only when the majority of a parcel of land was wet and unfit for cultivation. The selection of swamp lands in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Oregon, and in Indian reservations within Minnesota, is based upon investigations and reports by representatives of the State and of the Bureau of Land Management. However, the sale and conveyance of swamp and overflowed lands can be taken free of the common law public trust for commerce, navigation, and fisheries. [Cal Pub Resources Code § 7552.5].