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      RS 56:425     


§425. Lease of water bottoms; stipulations; boundary disputes

            A. The secretary may lease to any resident, any firm composed of residents, or any corporation domiciled in or organized under the laws of this state any state-owned water bottoms and natural reefs in the water bottoms of this state under the limitations stipulated or authorized in this Subpart. No lease shall be granted until a reasonable investigation into the question of ownership is complete and, based on the findings, a determination is made that the state owns the water bottoms to be leased. Any lease for the taking of oysters granted by the secretary prior to June 15, 2006 which affects privately owned water bottoms shall be subordinate to the rights of the private landowner or recorded land title owner effective on that date.

            B. All leases and renewals of leases made under the provisions of this Subpart shall stipulate as a matter of contract that the lessee will operate both under the laws of this state and the rules and regulations of the department.

            C. The secretary may make such stipulations in the leases made by him as he deems necessary and proper to develop the industry; however, these stipulations must be consistent with the provisions of this Subpart. The secretary may also make such stipulations as he deems necessary and proper in relation to coastal protection, conservation, or restoration.

            D. The department may fully settle all disputes as to boundaries between lessees of bedding grounds, subject to appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction.

            E. No lease shall be granted for any water bottom for which any lease was previously acquired by the state for integrated coastal protection, unless the executive director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority determines that leasing would otherwise be appropriate under the provisions of this Subpart and the executive director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority affirms that the water bottom is not necessary for integrated coastal protection. Unless this determination has been made prior to issuance of the lease, a lease of water bottom for which a lease was previously acquired shall be null and void for such water bottom and shall be of no force or effect. No person shall have any claim against the state of Louisiana, its political subdivisions, the United States, or any agency, agent, contractor, or employee thereof or any other person in relation to the nullity of such lease.

            F. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority shall determine areas of the coast where buffer zones between oyster leases and the shoreline may be necessary to protect sensitive and eroding coastal lands. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority shall review each application for an oyster lease or renewal or expansion of an oyster lease to determine if the water bottom applied for is located in an area where a buffer zone may be necessary and shall delineate the extent of the buffer zone necessary for each application.

            Acts 1981, No. 925, §1; Acts 1987, No. 458, §1; Acts 1987, No. 809, §1; Acts 2006, No. 425, §1, eff. June 15, 2006; Acts 2009, No. 523, §4, eff. July 10, 2009; Acts 2016, No. 430, §7; Acts 2016, No. 595, §1, eff. July 1, 2016.

NOTE: See Act 595 of the 2016 Regular Session, §2, for details of moratorium lifting procedure.

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