Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Swamp Definition:

Lands which, from excessive rainfall or other causes, retain at some seasons of the year excessive water which damages and renders them unfit for use.

Also known as swamp lands.

Wetlands, land that is too wet for cultivation.

In Maitland Valley Conservation Authority v. Cranbrook Swine Inc., the defendant was suspected of building a liquid manure holding tank in a swamp and then charged under local environmental laws which stated: "no person shall construct any building or permit any building to be constructed in or on any pond or swamp....." The presiding officer of the Provincial Court of Ontario adopted these words as descriptive, in law, of a swamp:

"... wet spongy land or soft low ground saturated with water but not necessarily covered with it."

swampIn Drainage District #5 (1965), Justice Carter of the Supreme Court of Nebraska wrote:

"Swamp or overflowed lands ... apply to lands which, from excessive rainfall or other causes, retain at some seasons of the year excessive water which damages and renders them unfit for cultivation or profitable use."

But in State v Gerbing (1908), the Court had distinguished swamp land from overflowed lands by defining the former as water-covered land which requires drainage to dispose of water on or in the lands, in order to make them fit and useful for cultivation.

The 1931 case from Oregon, Campbell v Walker, described a swamp as land saturated by water but not usually covered by it, and other than land covered by water as a result of ocean tides.

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