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The Commission also manages lands granted by Congress to support public schools.The Commission protects and enhances these lands and natural resources by issuing leases for use or development, championing public access, resolving boundaries between public and private lands, and implementing regulatory programs to protect state waters from oil spills and invasive species introductions.The hallmark of the Public Trust Doctrine is that trust lands belong to the public and are to be used to promote publicly beneficial uses that connect the public to the water.The Public Trust Doctrine is steeped in history traceable to Roman law concepts of public rights and common property ownership that the air, the rivers, the sea and the seashore are incapable of private ownership because they are dedicated to public use.

With over forty groups seeking to be federally recognized tribes, California has the second largest Native American population in the United States.These lands, often referred to as sovereign or public trust lands, stretch from the Klamath River and Goose Lake on the north to the Tijuana Estuary and Colorado River on the south, and from the Pacific Coast three miles offshore on the west to world-famous Lake Tahoe on the east, and includes California’s two longest rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin.The Commission also monitors sovereign lands granted in trust to approximately 75 local jurisdictions and administers the mineral rights on lands under the jurisdiction of other agencies.The Commission consists of two Constitutional Officers; the Lieutenant Governor and the State Controller, and the Governor's Director of Finance.Established in 1938, the Commission manages four million acres of tide and submerged lands and the beds of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits.