Texas Water Code

Sec. § 61.117
Limitations on Sales and Use of State Lands and Flats


The State of Texas shall retain its rights in all mines and minerals, including oil, gas, and geothermal resources, in and under the land, together with the right to enter the land for the purpose of development when it leases land under Section 61.116 (Lease of State Owned Lands and Flats) of this code.


All leases of land under Section 61.116 (Lease of State Owned Lands and Flats) are subject to oil, gas, or mineral leases in existence at the time of the lease to the district.


Any land which has been franchised or leased or is being used by any navigation district or by the United States for the purpose of navigation, industry, or other purpose incident to the operation of a port shall not be entered or possessed by the State of Texas or by anyone claiming under the State of Texas for the purpose of exploring for oil, gas, or other minerals except by directional drilling. No easement, lease, or permit may be granted on land which has been leased to a navigation district which will interfere with the proposed use of the land by the navigation district, and the prior approval of the navigation district shall be obtained for such purpose.


No surface drilling location may be nearer than 660 feet and special permission from the Commissioner of the General Land Office is necessary to make any surface location nearer than 2,160 feet, measured at right angles from the nearest bulkhead line designated by a navigation district or the United States as the bulkhead line or from the nearest dredged bottom edge of any channel, slip, or turning basin which has been dredged, or which has been authorized by the United States as a federal project for future construction, whichever is nearer.


In the event land is leased to a navigation district for construction of a navigation project, the School Land Board may in the lease designate the district to be the agent of the State of Texas with authority to grant to the United States of America such easements for dredging and disposal of dredged material as may be required for federal participation in the project. In designating the district to be the agent of the State of Texas for the purpose of granting spoil easements, the board may include a requirement that the district obtain the approval of the board before granting any such easement. Such approval may be given in the form of accepting a master plan for spoil disposal.


Districts which, prior to the enactment of this provision, have obtained patents to state owned lands or flats under Article 8225, Revised Civil Statutes of Texas, 1925, or under any general or special act, and which still claim title to any such lands or flats, may not hereafter dispose of any such lands or flats which were conveyed to them by the State of Texas and may not lease such lands or flats for a use for which districts are not authorized to lease their other lands; however, in the event a district possesses lands it finds to be in excess of its needs, it may sell such surplus lands or flats back to the State of Texas for the same consideration as originally paid to the state or exchange them for other lands with the State of Texas. It is further provided that the limitation on resale of lands or flats acquired from the State of Texas shall not prevent a district from exchanging such lands or flats for land, or rights in land, of an adjacent littoral owner for the purpose of adjusting or straightening the boundary between such lands. All such exchanges made after December 31, 1973, shall be subject to the approval of the School Land Board.


Any district which, prior to the effective date of this Act has maintained, and which at the effective date of this Act is maintaining, any channel, dredged material disposal site, or other navigational aid or improvement on state owned lands to which the district holds no patent or lease from the state shall notify the General Land Office of the boundaries of such submerged land used by furnishing a map or other drawing acceptable to the General Land Office.
Acts 1971, 62nd Leg., p. 110, ch. 58, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1971. Amended by Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 555, ch. 237, Sec. 2, eff. June 11, 1973; Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 803, ch. 310, Sec. 3, eff. May 27, 1975.

Last accessed
Jun. 7, 2021