Meaningful engagement with California Native American Tribes is fundamental to the mission of the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (collectively, the Water Boards). Collaboration and input from all Californians help the Water Boards advance decisions and policies that better protect the environment, public health, and beneficial uses by effectively managing California’s water resources. Working with California Native American Tribes holds a special value at the Water Boards because of our parallel relationship to the people we serve and because of Tribes’ historic knowledge and experience managing California’s water resources since time immemorial.
By working together over the past decade, we, the Water Boards and California Native American Tribes, have strengthened our relationships, held meaningful government-to-government consultations, and deepened our discourse to great success. For example, in the policy realm, together we developed and defined statewide Tribal Beneficial Uses for water quality purposes—thus acknowledging the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the unique concerns and needs of Tribes.