public trust doctrine

This doctrine protects the right of the public to use State sovereign lands and waters for commerce, navigation, hunting, fishing, bathing, swimming, boating, and general recreational purposes, and also protects trust lands and waters in their natural state, so that they may serve as ecological units for scientific study, as open space, and as environments that provide food and habitat for birds and marine life, and which favorably affect the scenery and climate of the area. There is also a separate branch of the Public Trust Doctrine that protects the fishery resources in all State waters, including those in nonnavigable waterways, as public trust resources in and of themselves.

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