The Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission was established in October 1997 by a joint resolution of Gaston, Lincoln and Mecklenburg Counties after the N.C. General Assembly passed legislation authorizing such commissions. Comprised of seven citizens appointed from the three counties, in which the lake and its shoreline are located, the commission is considered a unit of local government.
The Commission may make regulations that apply to Mountain Island Lake and its shoreline, including land up to 1,000 feet from the edge of the water at full pond. However its regulations may not conflict with the laws or regulations of higher government bodies, including county or state laws, which take precedence.
The Commission meets monthly, with the location rotating between the three counties. All meetings are open to the public and include public comment periods at the beginning and end.
Similar governing commissions were established for Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, the lakes in the Catawba River chain to the north and south of Mountain Island, respectively.