Civil and Government Code

Civil Code Section 670

The State is the owner of all land below tide water, and below ordinary high-water mark, bordering upon tide water within the State; of all land below the water of a navigable lake or stream; of all property lawfully appropriated by it to its own use; of all property dedicated to the State; and of all property of which there is no other owner.

Civil Code Section 830

Except where the grant under which the land is held indicates a different intent, the owner of the upland, when it borders on tide water, takes to ordinary high-water mark; when it borders upon a navigable lake or stream, where there is no tide, the owner takes to the edge of the lake or stream, at low-water mark; when it borders upon any other water, the owner takes to the middle of the lake or stream.

Civil Code Section 1014

Where, from natural causes, land forms by imperceptible degrees upon the bank of a river or stream, navigable or not navigable, either by accumulation of material or by the recession of the stream, such land belongs to the owner of the bank, subject to any existing right of way over the bank.

Civil Code Section 1015

If a river or stream, navigable or not navigable, carries away, by sudden violence a considerable and distinguishable part of a bank, and bears it to the opposite bank, or to another part of the same bank, the owner of the part carried away may reclaim it within a year after the owner of the land to which it has been united takes possession thereof.

Government Code Section 113

The Legislature of California hereby consents to the retrocession of jurisdiction by the United States of land within this state upon and subject to each and all of the following express conditions:

  1. The United States must in writing have requested state acceptance of retrocession, and unless there is an officer of the United States empowered by a United States statute to cede jurisdiction, the request shall be by the act of Congress. The retrocession may return all jurisdiction to the state or may provide for concurrent jurisdiction.
  2. When the conditions of subdivision (a) have been found and declared to have occurred and to exist, by the State Lands Commission, the commission shall hold a hearing to determine whether acceptance of the retrocession is in the best interests of the state. Notice of the hearing shall be published pursuant to Section 6061 in each county in which the land or any part of the land is situated and a copy of the notice shall be personally served upon the clerk of the board of supervisors of each such county. The State Lands Commission shall make rules and regulations governing the conditions and procedure of the hearings.
  3. The determination of the State Lands Commission shall be final and jurisdiction accepted shall become effective when certified copies of its orders or resolutions have been recorded in the office of the county recorder of each county in which any part of the land is situated. The State Lands Commission shall keep copies of its orders or resolutions and make them available to the public upon request.

Government Code Section 126

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, general or special, the Legislature of California, acting through the State Lands Commission, hereby cedes concurrent criminal jurisdiction to the United States within lands identified and held by the United States upon and subject to each and all of the following express limitations, conditions, and reservations, in addition to any other limitations, conditions, or reservations prescribed by law:
    1. Before making a cession, the State Lands Commission shall make the following findings:
      1. The United States has requested in writing the state to cede concurrent criminal jurisdiction within the identified lands.
      2. The lands are held by the United States for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings within the purview of clause 17 of Section 8 of Article I of the United States Constitution, or for any other federal purposes. For purposes of this section, lands held by the United States are defined as: (i) lands acquired in fee by purchase or condemnation, (ii) lands owned by the United States that are included in the military reservation by presidential proclamation or act of Congress, (iii) any other lands owned by the United States, including, but not limited to, public domain lands that are held for a public purpose, and (iv) leaseholds acquired by the United States over private lands or state-owned lands that are held for a public purpose.
      3. The cession is made pursuant to and in compliance with the laws of the United States.
      4. A notice of the proposed cession has been given to the clerk for the board of supervisors of the county in which the federal lands are located at least 15 days before the proposed cession.
      5. The proposed cession is in the best interests of the State of California.
      6. The United States has agreed to bear all costs and expenses incurred by the State Lands Commission in making the cession.
    2. The cession shall continue only so long as the lands are owned by the United States and used for the purposes for which jurisdiction is ceded or for 10 years, whichever period is less.
    3. The cession shall be made at a publicly noticed meeting of the State Lands Commission. The cession shall vest when the State Lands Commission has received notice of the United States’ acceptance of the cession and certified copies of the State Lands Commission’s orders or resolutions making the findings described in paragraph (1) have been recorded in the office of the county recorder of each county in which any part of the land is situated. The State Lands Commission shall keep copies of its orders or resolutions in its records and make them available to the public upon request.
  2. In ceding concurrent criminal jurisdiction, the Legislature and the state reserve jurisdiction over the land, water, and use of water with full power to control and regulate the acquisition, use, control, and distribution of water with respect to the land affected by the cession.


Government Code Section 127

In addition to other records maintained by the State Lands Commission, the commission shall prepare and maintain an adequate index or record of documents with description of the lands over which the United States acquired jurisdiction pursuant to Section 126 of this code or pursuant to any prior state law. Said index shall record the degree of jurisdiction obtained by the United States for each acquisition.

Government Code Section 56740

  1. No tidelands or submerged lands, as defined in subdivision (g), which are owned by the state or by its grantees in trust shall be incorporated into, or annexed to, a city, except lands which may be approved by the State Lands Commission.
  2. If those tidelands or submerged lands are included within the boundaries of any territory proposed to be incorporated into, or annexed to, a city, a description of the boundaries, together with a map showing the boundaries, shall be filed with the State Lands Commission by the proponents of the incorporation or annexation. The filing with the State Lands Commission shall be made prior to the executive officer issuing a certificate of filing for the proposal.
  3. The State Lands Commission shall approve or disapprove all portions of the boundaries located upon the tidelands or submerged lands. In making that determination, it shall, where feasible and appropriate, require any extensions of land boundaries of the city or proposed city to be at right angles to the general direction of the shoreline at each point of intersection of the shoreline with the land boundaries of the city or proposed city. However, in the interest of ensuring an orderly and equitable pattern of offshore boundaries, the State Lands Commission may establish angles and other courses for each offshore boundary it deems necessary considering any irregularity of the shoreline, other geographical features, the effect of incorporation or annexation of the offshore or submerged lands on the uplands of the city, or proposed city, and adjoining territory, and the existing and potential boundaries of other cities and of unincorporated communities.
  4. Within 45 days after the filing of the boundary description and map with the State Lands Commission, the State Lands Commission shall make a determination of the proper offshore or submerged lands boundaries. That determination shall be final and conclusive. If the State Lands Commission does not make the determination within that time, the proposed offshore or submerged lands boundaries shall be deemed approved.
  5. The State Lands Commission shall report its determination to the executive officer and to each affected city, affected county, affected district, or person, if any, that has filed the boundary description and map. Thereafter, filings and action may be taken pursuant to this part.
  6. The local agency formation commission may review and make determinations as to all portions of the boundaries, other than those offshore or submerged lands boundaries.
  7. “Submerged lands,” as used in this section, includes, but is not limited to, lands underlying navigable waters which are in sovereign ownership of the state whether or not those waters are subject to tidal influences.