The State Lands Commission, established in 1938, manages four million acres of tide and submerged lands and the beds of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits. Along the California coast, the Commission’s jurisdiction is the ambulatory boundary of the mean high tide line out to the state/federal water boundary three nautical miles offshore. The Commission protects the lands and resources entrusted to its care through balanced management, marine protection and pollution prevention, adaptation to climate change, and ensuring public access to these lands and waters for current and future generations. The Commission manages these lands in accordance with the Public Trust Doctrine, which means that it determines the appropriate uses in the best interest of the state for the maximum public benefit.
The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities. The Port champions commerce, navigation, fishing, recreation, and environmental stewardship all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.
Collaboration between the State Lands Commission and the Port of San Diego is a natural proposition as we share many of the same responsibilities as trustees and grantees of Public Trust lands. To achieve objectives in their Strategic Plan (adopted in 2015), the State Lands Commission spearheaded this effort to proactively plan for future and expanding uses in their jurisdiction in the ocean space. As a land and resource trust manager, the Commission is responsible for sustainable public land management and balanced resource protection throughout tide and submerged lands.
The Port of San Diego is an ideal partner for such an endeavor for many reasons: the Port is a hub for a large variety of marine uses, it has strong relationships with local and regional stakeholders, and has a diverse and broad knowledge of the environmental, social, and economic issues in and around San Diego. Plus, an area of the Pacific Ocean off of Imperial Beach is a part of the Port of San Diego’s management responsibilities. As a trustee, the Port of San Diego was selected by the Commission to join this strategic partnership.