I would like to take just a few rocks from a local river bed to use in my aquarium. Is this legal?

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    In the US it is illegal. If the riverbed is in a protected park then the rocks are protected like plants. If the riverbed is on private property it is legal with the property owners permission. – Justin C May 23 '12 at 15:30
  • Voted to close as off topic - I'm not convinced decorating your aquarium should be on topic for TGO :-) – Graham May 24 '12 at 11:59
  • @Graham Perhaps the purpose isn't greatly on topic, but I'd say the act (of removing them) probably does come as on topic. – berry120 May 24 '12 at 12:32

I could find no authoritative source, but I would imagine taking a "few rocks" wouldn't cause a problem - unless you're taking it from a protected area or area of scientific interest of course.

My reasoning is that I would imagine the situation is similar for UK beaches - technically taking stones, sand etc. is illegal but if your 5 year old son decides there's a couple of stones he likes and wants to take home, no-one is going to care one bit. Rock up with a couple of land rovers / trailers and fill them up with shingle, the situation will be very different!

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IANAL, but...

The riverbed is owned by the landowner (although the water isn't), so removing rocks (or any other item) from the riverbed is the same as removing them from anywhere else on the land.

In other words, it's probably theft, so NOT legal. If you're concerned about it, ask the landowner's permission.

Also note that the CROW act is pretty restrictive about what you can do in rivers and lakes even when they're on access land. No boating or bathing... : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivers_Access_Campaign

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