Advancing Racial Equity in the North Coast Region

Welcome to the North Coast Water Board's Racial Equity Initiative Site


    Regional Water Board held four engagement events to inform a Draft Racial Equity Resolution. Regional Water Board staff are now reviewing and responding to comments and recommending revisions to the Racial Equity Resolution accordingly. The revised Racial Equity Resolution will be brought to our Board to consider adoption in February 2023.

Call to Action

Racial equity is a priority for the North Coast Water Board. We are working toward a future where we equitably implement our mission to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health, and all beneficial uses, and to ensure proper water resource allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations. We envision a California where:

  1. Race is not a predictor of water and sanitation access a person receives;
  2. Race is not a predictor of professional outcomes for Regional Water Board staff; and
  3. A racial equity lens is consistently applied to the Regional Water Board decision-making processes.

The North Coast Racial Equity Initiative

The Regional Water Board and its staff are taking the first steps to achieve an equitable future by drafting a Racial Equity Resolution (Resolution) that will acknowledge historical and present-day racial inequities and injustices and commit to developing an Action Plan with specific actions to advance racial equity in the North Coast Region. The Resolution will build upon the State Water Resource Control Board’s Racial Equity Resolution adopted in November 2021 (see State Water Board Racial Equity Initiative below). Staff will bring a proposed draft Resolution to the Regional Water Board for adoption in February 2023.

The Regional Water Board held four engagement events to seek input on the draft Resolution from tribes, communities of interest, and other members of the public prior to proposing the draft Resolution to the Regional Water Board for adoption. These engagement events consisted of the following:

  1. A hybrid (in-person and online) Board workshop:
    • October 7, 2022 – 1:30 p.m.
      North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board - David C. Joseph Room
      5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A
      Santa Rosa, CA 95403
  2. Two in-person listening sessions:
    • October 18, 2022, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or later as necessary
      Blue Lake Casino and Hotel - Sapphire Palace Room
      777 Casino Way
      Blue Lake, CA 95525

    • October 19, 2022, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or later as necessary
      Happy Camp High School – Gymnasium
      234 Indian Creek Road
      Happy Camp, CA 96039

  3. A virtual listening session via Zoom:
    • October 25, 2022, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or later as necessary

The purpose of the engagement events were to:

  1. inform communities of interest, tribes, and the public about the Regional Water Board’s racial equity initiative, the draft resolution and its review period, and future Action Plan; 
  2. create a space for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other people of color to share their input, experiences, perspectives, and wisdom related to racial inequities and environmental injustices in the North Coast Region; and 
  3. invite comments and conversation from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other people of color communities, tribes, and other members of the public related to the draft resolution, future action plan, and racial equity at large. 

After the Resolution is adopted, staff will transition to Action Plan development to identify specific actions that the Regional Water Board and its staff will take to implement the Resolution and advance racial equity. Staff will offer tribal consultations and continue to engage with other communities of color to inform the content of the Action Plan.

State Water Board Racial Equity Initiative

The California State Water Resources Control Board and nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards, collectively known as the Water Boards, are committed to ensuring that every Californian enjoys equitable protection from environmental harm. Through public and employee engagement, the Water Boards are working toward better understanding the needs of the communities we serve, providing equitable access to resource and services, confronting barriers to progress, and incorporating diverse perspectives into programs and policies to ensure that our work equitably benefits every Californian, regardless of race.

On August 18, 2020, staff presented an informational item to the Board on the Framework for Addressing Racial Equity. The Board acknowledged the historic effects of institutional racism that must be confronted throughout government, and it directed staff to develop a priority plan of action.

In fall 2020, Executive Director Eileen Sobeck established a Racial Equity Team, which comprises a diverse group of employees who represent various job classifications and areas of expertise throughout the State and Regional Boards.. The Racial Equity Team was directed to 1) establish a foundation of internal and external engagement that values listening and collaboration to drive action; 2) draft a resolution on racial equity to be considered for adoption by the State Water Board and leveraged by the Regional Water Boards to adopt their own resolutions; and 3) develop a subsequent racial equity action plan to implement the resolution and drive the Water Boards’ efforts to institutionalize racial equity. North Coast Regional Water Board staff have served as members of the Racial Equity Working Group since it was established and continue to be active participants.

On November 16, 2021, the State Water Board adopted Resolution No. 2021-0050, Condemning Racism, Xenophobia, Bigotry, and Racial Injustice and Strengthening Commitment to Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access, and Anti-Racism (State Water Board Resolution). The State Water Board Resolution acknowledged the role racism has played in creating inequities in affordability and access to clean and safe water, committed to advancing racial equity within the Water Boards and the communities they serve, directed its staff to develop a racial equity action plan, and encouraged the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards to adopt similar resolutions. The North Coast Water Board Resolution will build upon the State Water Board Resolution.

The next step in the State Water Board’s Racial Equity Initiative is to develop the Racial Equity Action Plan, which will include specific actions the State Water Board will take to address racial inequities, as well as metrics to measure its progress. Beginning in spring 2022, Racial Equity Team members engaged in action plan scoping, visioning, and strategizing. Public and employee engagement and tribal consultations are key to achieving the action planning process. In April, the Racial Equity Team notified tribal governments of the opportunity to consult with the State Water Board on the draft racial equity action plan. In July, the Racial Equity Team partnered with several community groups to host four public workshops to hear recommendations and ideas from the public and tribes on the Water Boards’ action plan. The Racial Equity Team is reviewing and incorporating comments received into a draft Action Plan, which they anticipate presenting to the State Water Board in December 2022.

For more information on the Water Boards’ Racial Equity Team and the State Water Board Racial Equity Initiative, please visit the State Water Board’s Racial Equity webpage: Racial Equity | California State Water Resources Control Board.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgments

In development.

We Want to Hear From You!

North Coast Racial Equity General Email Inbox:

North Coast Racial Equity Liaison
Devon Jorgenson
(707) 576-2701

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Email Subscription List

Interested parties are encouraged to sign up on the email list below to receive information about engagement opportunities and updates on progress to develop the various programs and permits:

Email List Subscription Page | North Coast Regional Board (