Beneficial Uses: Tribal Tradition and Culture (CUL), Tribal Subsistence Fishing (T-SUB), Subsistence Fishing (SUB)

On May 2, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted Resolution 2017-0027, which approved "Part 2 of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California—Tribal and Subsistence Fishing Beneficial Uses and Mercury Provisions."

Resolution 2017-0027 provides a consistent regulatory approach throughout the state by setting mercury limits to protect the beneficial uses associated with the consumption of fish by both people and wildlife. Additionally, the State Water Board established three new beneficial use definitions for use by the State and Regional Water Boards in designating Tribal Traditional Culture (CUL), Tribal Subsistence Fishing (T-SUB), and Subsistence Fishing (SUB) beneficial uses to inland surface waters, enclosed bays, or estuaries in the state.
Tribal Tradition and Culture (CUL): Uses of water that support the cultural, spiritual, ceremonial, or traditional rights or LIFEWAYS of CALIFORNIA NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES, including, but not limited to: navigation, ceremonies, or fishing, gathering, or consumption of natural aquatic resources, including fish, shellfish, vegetation, and materials.
Tribal Subsistence Fishing (T-SUB): Uses of water involving the non-commercial catching or gathering of natural aquatic resources, including fish and shellfish, for consumption by individuals, households, or communities of California Native American Tribes to meet needs for sustenance.
Subsistence Fishing (SUB): Uses of water involving the non-commercial catching or gathering of natural aquatic resources, including fish and shellfish, for consumption by individuals, households, or communities, to meet needs for sustenance.
The State Water Board approved one new narrative and four new numeric mercury objectives to apply to those inland surface waters, enclosed bays, and estuaries of the state that have any of the following beneficial use definitions: COMM, CUL, T-SUB, WILD, MAR, RARE, WARM, COLD, EST, or SAL, with the exception of waterbodies or waterbody segments with site-specific mercury objectives. These provisions will be implemented through National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits, water quality certifications, waste discharge requirements (WDRs) and waivers of WDRs.