Lakebed Management

Lakebed Management is responsible for maintaining the public trust lands below the high-water mark in Clear Lake in accordance with Lake County Code, Chapter 23, the Shoreline Ordinance, and Chapter 639 in the State Statutes of 1973 (PDF). Its purpose is to improve and protect the public's interest in the waters and the bed of the waters in and around Clear Lake, and to ensure that the lands will be used for general statewide interests in the furtherance of commerce, navigation, fishery, recreation, and, wherever possible and appropriate, preservation of the land and waters in their natural state by establishing minimum standards for the construction, alteration, removal, and maintenance of structures or other prescribed activities in the lake.

The lake bottom lakeward of 0 feet Rumsey (low-water mark) is land held in the public trust by the State of California for the people of the State, while the land between 0 and 7.79 feet Rumsey (PDF) (high-water mark) are private, but overlaid with a public trust easement. Lakebed Management:

  • Processes permits and encroachment leases for all structures lakeward of 7.79 feet Rumsey
  • Maintains navigation aides, swim markers, and swim areas
  • Performs water quality monitoring
  • Provides support to the Sheriff's Department, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Corps of Engineers, and the State Lands Commission

In 2010, the Clear Lake Integrated Watershed Management Plan (CLIWMP) was completed. The goal of the CLIWMP is to plan and work toward an environmentally and economically healthy watershed that benefits the community and is sustainable for future generations. The CLIWMP provides background on existing lake and watershed conditions and management and identifies opportunities to improve watershed conditions and provides guidance for continuing watershed planning efforts.

Lakebed Management is supported by lease payments and permit fees assessed to and collected from Clear Lake shoreline property owners who have placed structures (i.e. - piers, docks, walls, etc.) within the public trust lands (lakeward of Zero Rumsey) which are approximately $164,000 annually. These funds may only be spent on those activities authorized by state statute. The primary expenditures are for the administration of encroachments, maintenance of navigation facilities, and various lake enhancement/monitoring projects.

Lakebed Management - Sunset Docks