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Tribal Relations - Office of Public Participation

Welcome to the California Water Boards’ Tribal Relations page. The information provided on this site can help better assist you in understanding the Water Boards, how our Tribal Liaison, office, and agency can serve you and provide information on administering your own water quality programs that help protect your health and quality of life.

The State Water Resources Control Board through its Office of Public Participation (OPP) have followed Governor Brown’s commitment via Executive Order B-10-11 to strengthen the State’s relationship with California Native American Tribes by improving overall communication, transparency, and government-to-government engagement through AB 52 consultations, Tribal Beneficial Uses and overall relationship building. OPP also works in coordination with CalEPA, USEPA, the Governor's Office of the Tribal Advisor, and other state agencies. A California Native American Tribe refers to either a federally-recognized California tribal government listed on the most recent notice of the Federal Register or a non-federally recognized California tribal government listed on the California Tribal Consultation List maintained by the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC).

SWRCB Regions and California Native American Tribal Land Map

Funding for California Native American Tribes

The Water Boards are pleased to offer various financial programs and opportunities to assist state and federally-recognized California Native American Tribes to help protect and improve California’s waters. Funding for the loan and grant programs primarily comes from bonds passed by voters and monies provided by the federal government. Each program has its own guidelines, application process and funding cycle.

For additional information on the Water Boards financial assistance programs visit our Division of Financial Assistance page.

Funding for Californian Native American Tribes

Other funding opportunities offered include:

Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are environmentally beneficial projects that are included as part of a settlement for environmental violations. Violators can voluntarily agree to undertake such projects in lieu of (up to 50%) of the penalty that they are required to pay for the violations. If you are have a project that you would like to have considered for listing as a SEP, please submit your SEP proposal here. CalEPA will route your SEP proposal to the appropriate board or department for consideration. View the Water Boards Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) policy and additional information here.


CalEPA Small EJ Small Grants Program offers funding opportunities, up to $50,000 per application to assist eligible non-profit community organizations and federally-recognized Tribal governments to address environmental justice issues in areas disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and hazard. For additional information, including contact information visit the CalEPA Small EJ grants page. Approximately $1 million in grants are available.

Consultation

The California Water Boards are committed to improving our communications and working relationships with California Native American Tribes. In June 2019 the California Water Boards finalized our Tribal Consultation Policy, where we reaffirm that collaboration and input from all California Native American tribes helps the Water Boards craft decisions and policies that better protect California’s water quality, resources, and systems. To do so, we find it valuable and we encourage California Native American tribes to be a part of the State Water Board’s AB 52 contact list. Please see below for the process in which California Native American tribes can request to be included on our AB 52 list.

  1. Consistent with the government to government process, we request that your request to be placed on our AB 52 List is submitted on formal letterhead from your Tribal leadership, in writing, and mailed to:

    Tribal Liaison
    State Water Resources Control Board
    1001 I Street
    P.O. Box 100
    Sacramento, CA 95814

  2. We also kindly request that you provide us with maps or a way for our agency to be aware of the geographic area that is traditionally and culturally affiliated with your Tribe.

  3. Lastly, we kindly request that your Tribal leadership designate a lead contact person to receive formal notification of proposed projects.

Unless you instruct otherwise, a request to be placed on the State Water Board’s AB 52 List will be interpreted as a notification request for both the State Water Board and any geographically appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

New: California Water Boards’ Tribal Consultation Policy

Regional/Divisional Tribal Coordinators

To further collaboration and input from Tribes, we have designated Regional/Divisional Tribal Coordinators within the agency. This contact list will assist you in finding the coordinator for the respective Regional Water Quality Control Board(s) and other key points of contact within Divisions of the State Water Board. Note that Gita Kapahi is the Tribal Liaison to the California Water Boards and oversees the coordination of Tribal Affairs within our agency.

Training and Resources

CalEPA Tribal Training

Water Rights & Water Quality Training for Tribes (2014) - Part 1 | Part 2 | Agenda | Flyer

 

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Contacts

For any general inquiries, questions or concerns related to Tribal Relations please reach out to the Tribal Liaison and staff at:

Tribal-Liaison@waterboards.ca.gov

Tribal Liaison, Gita Kapahi
(916) 341-5501

Any inquiries regarding AB 52:

Assistant Tribal Liaison, Moy Moreno-Rivera
(916) 341-5261

Regional/Divisional Tribal Coordinators


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