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Shale Gas and Publicly-Owned Streambeds

In Pennsylvania, the beds and subsurface rights of waterways such as rivers, creeks and lakes that are considered to be navigable are publicly owned. Riverbeds are not managed as state park or forest lands.

DCNR has developed a list and map of waterways that are or may be navigable and, therefore, could require a lease for the removal of natural gas beneath them.

Operators should contact DCNR prior to development beneath any of these waterways to obtain a lease or determine the appropriate course of action if ownership of the bed of the waterway is in dispute.

DCNR’s authority is explained in Shale Gas Development Beneath Publicly-Owned Streambeds (PDF).

A list of executed agreements for publicly-owned streambeds is available on the Pennsylvania Treasury e-Contracts Library by using the keyword “streambeds” under “Subject Matter Contains.”