The Delaware River and Riparian Land

Kellie Patrick has written an article for on the issue of riparian rights and how it affects riverfront planning along the Delaware River, as well as the 2 proposed casino developments.

Along the Delaware in Philadelphia, riparian land is not always under water. Its eastern boundary is the pier head line – the line that marks the boundary of the shipping channel, beyond which no pier can be built. Its western boundary is the bulkhead line. A bulkhead is a retaining wall built along the bank, but the bulkhead line is trickier than that. Sometimes, there is no bulkhead, but the line is at the place where one would be or once was. Other times dry land now stretches beyond what used to be the river’s edge.


Right now, no business is being granted any riparian rights. Governor Rendell announced a moratorium in April, and it won’t be lifted until after the state’s study of the riparian rights process is completed.

“It was important that we put a hold on conveying these waterfront rights in part so that we don’t negatively impact (Pennsylvanians who live near the water) or the infrastructure,” Myslewicz said. The state has not set a timetable to complete its study.

Read the full article here.