The three-member State Lands Commission consists of the Lieutenant Governor, the State Controller, and the Governor's Director of Finance. The Commission manages, as a trustee for the people of the state, California's sovereign public trust lands and resources, which the state received upon admission into the Union in 1850. It also manages certain other lands subsequently conveyed to the state by the federal government. The Commission serves the people of California by providing stewardship of the lands, waterways, and resources entrusted to its care through economic development, protection, preservation, and restoration of those lands and resources. Since its inception in 1938, the Commission has generated over $11 billion in revenues to the General Fund.
Sovereign lands include the beds of all navigable waterways, including non-tidal rivers, streams and lakes, and tide and submerged lands within tidal rivers, sloughs, bays and the Pacific Ocean extending from the mean high tide line seaward to the three-mile offshore limit. Other lands acquired from the United States include swamp and overflow lands and state school lands. Nearly all of the millions of acres of swamp and overflow lands were conveyed into private ownership in the 19th century. Likewise, of the five and one-half million acres of school lands, all but 487,000 acres were also conveyed to private parties. All lands and reserved mineral interests remaining under the Commission's jurisdiction total more than four and one-half million acres.