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Regional Water Board Updates on Tribal Beneficial Uses within Basin Plans

Welcome to the Regional Water Board Updates on Tribal Beneficial Uses within Basin Plans page. The nine Regional Water Boards are in different stages of their Basin Plan amendment processes to include the Tribal Beneficial Uses and designate surface waters. Below are ways to get involved:

  • Contact your Regional Water Board Tribal Coordinator(s) to set up a time to meet and learn about Tribal Beneficial Uses efforts and timeframes in your region.
  • Share information about Tribal Beneficial Uses with your Tribal Council and/or community.
  • Submit a letter of support to a Regional Water Board, attend a Regional Water Board meeting, and encourage your Tribe or allies to submit letters of support.

For any questions or assistance on this page, please contact: Tribal-Liaison@waterboards.ca.gov

  Regional Water Boards' Quarterly Updates

[Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Trinity counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Cody Walker
Cody.Walker@waterboards.ca.gov
(707) 576-2642

TBU Update

The Regional Tribal Coordinator has finalized a draft work plan for this project and conducting a number of “pre-consultation briefings” with Tribes and Tribal organizations in Region 1. Region 1 may partner with the CA Indian Environmental Alliance (CIEA) on the Tribal outreach strategy. CIEA currently facilitates the tribal outreach functions of the North Coast Resource Partnership (NCRP - North Coast IRWM), and they received an EJ grant from CalEPA which included a support task for this project. We will be conducting Tribal outreach on this project (early and meaningful) separate and apart from “public engagement”. Public engagement will largely follow the standard approach for Board items in 2022.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

None Scheduled

  Visit the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara (north of Morgan Hill), Solano, Sonoma counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Sami Harper
Sami.Harper@waterboards.ca.gov
(510) 622-2415

TBU Update

The 2021 Triennial Review is ongoing and an outreach effort to all Tribes with cultural and/or ancestral land in the San Francisco Bay Area. We mailed hard copy letters and followed up with emails and phone calls for tribes in the region per the NAHC list. The prioritization process for the Triennial Review will conclude in Fall 2021.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

None Scheduled

  Visit the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Kern (small portions), Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo (southern portion), Santa Barbara, Santa Clara (south of Morgan Hill), Santa Cruz, Ventura (northern portion) counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Angela Schroeter
Angela.Schroeter@waterboards.ca.gov
(805) 542-4644

TBU Update

Tribal Beneficial Uses are included in our 2017 Triennial Review, as priority #15 out of 21 issues. Therefore, it may be some time before they are finalized. The next triennial review public comment period is tentatively scheduled for 2021, at which time the public could comment on the prioritization of a tribal beneficial uses BPA.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

None Scheduled

  Visit the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Kern (small portions), Los Angeles, Santa Barbara (small portions), Ventura counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Susana Lagudis
Susana.Lagudis@waterboards.ca.gov
(213) 576-6694

TBU Update

On November 12, 2020, the Los Angeles Regional Water Board adopted a Resolution (R20-004) approving Basin Planning projects to be addressed during the 2020-2022 Triennial Review period. These projects included (i) inclusion of the State Water Board's tribal and subsistence beneficial use definitions into the Los Angeles Region's Basin Plan, and (ii) initiation of outreach efforts with Tribal Representatives for potential waterbody-specific designations of the tribal beneficial uses.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

The Los Angeles Regional Water Board will host a public meeting on September 23, 2021 from 1-3pm via zoom to discuss a proposed non-regulatory amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Los Angeles Region (Basin Plan) to add three new beneficial use definitions - tribal tradition and culture (CUL), tribal subsistence fishing (T- SUB), and subsistence fishing (SUB). The aim of this meeting is to discuss the proposed Basin Plan amendment and to receive stakeholder input on the proposed amendment.

Please register for this workshop via the Zoom registration link: https://waterboards.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwocu-orDovE9FlUzGM8meOxS6NWRJ_bsx6

  Visit the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa (East), El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Nevada, Napa, (N. East), Placer, Plumas, Lake, Sierra, Shasta, Sutter, Solano (West), Sacramento, San Joaquin, Tuolumne, Tehama, Tulare, Stanislaus, Yolo, Yuba, (Very small portions of San Benito, San Luis Obispo) counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Robert L’Heureux
Robert.LHeureux@waterboards.ca.gov
(916) 464-4736

TBU Update

Central Valley Regional Water Board staff are preparing to bring a Resolution to the Central Valley Water Board to add the Tribal Beneficial Use definitions to the Central Valley Water Quality Control Plans in 2021.

Central Valley Regional Water Board staff have begun soliciting input from California Native American Tribes in the Region on the process and information needs to move forward with designations. Central Valley Regional Water Board staff are looking to begin the process by designating waters not impacted with mercury in upper watersheds for the CUL beneficial use. That will enable staff to formalize discussions with Tribes on the proposed process while developing a “template” for expanding designations to include waters with mercury impacts and the T-SUB and SUB beneficial uses. Staff are also preparing to release a Draft Resolution, Staff Report (with Amended Basin Plan Language), and a Notice of Public Comment to add the TBU Definitions to the Central Valley Region's Water Quality Control Plans.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

Central Valley Water Board staff coordinated two Tribal Summits focused on Tribal Beneficial Uses on March 18th and March 25th and a TBU Public Stakeholder Scoping Meeting on April 28th. Staff brought an Informational Item on the process forward for designating TBUs to the June 17, 2021 Board Meeting. The Board was enthusiastic about staff's progress to date and approved staff to proceed with the proposed process.

  Visit the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Alpine, El Dorado, Inyo, Kern (East), Lassen (East side and Eagle Lake), Los Angeles (N/E corner), Modoc (East), Mono, Nevada, Placer, San Bernardino, Sierra counties]

Tribal Coordinator

To Be Determined
Tribal-Liaison@Waterboards.ca.gov
(916) 216-1126

TBU Update

In November 2018, the Lahontan Regional Water Board adopted its Triennial Review that lists Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan) priorities for the next three years (Resolution No. R6T-2018-0050). One of the top ten priorities in the Resolution was to add Tribal Cultural, Tribal Subsistence Fishing, and Subsistence Fishing beneficial uses (CUL, T-SUB, SUB) to the Basin Plan, and to engage with Tribes to identify waters that support Tribal beneficial uses. At the September 16, 2020 Board Meeting, the Lahontan Water Board adopted Resolution No. R6T-2020-0057 to add the Beneficial Use definitions for CUL, T-SUB, and SUB as a Basin Plan amendment (BPA). The BPA added only the definitions and did not include designation of water bodies with those uses. The State Water Board approved the BPA at its May 18, 2021 meeting. Staff submitted the administrative record for the BPA to the Office of Administrative Law on August 17, 2021 and will soon submit the record to the USEPA for the required consideration. Staff is developing plans for outreach to tribes to “kick-off” the beneficial use designation process for the CUL, T-SUB, and SUB uses in the Region.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

The 2021 Triennial Review of the Lahontan Basin Plan is underway, which is a process to prioritize potential basin planning projects, and a virtual public workshop is planned for September 15, 2021 to receive comments on future basin planning priorities.

  Visit the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Maria Davydova-Flores
Maria.Davydova-Flores@waterboards.ca.gov
(760) 776-8947

TBU Update

On December 10, 2020, the Colorado River Basin Water Board approved the 2020 Triennial Review. The Triennial Review list contains 29 projects ranked 1-9. The project for Tribal Beneficial Uses is ranked 8 and is titled "Incorporate Tribal Beneficial Use Definitions and Designate Tribal Beneficial Uses for Specific Water Bodies." Two Tribes submitted comment letters in support of this project. At this time this project is not expected to be started before the end of 2023 based on its ranking.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

None Scheduled

  Visit the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Claudia Tenorio
Claudia.Tenorio@waterboards.ca.gov
(951) 782-4963

TBU Update

The Santa Ana Water Board did not identify the Tribal Beneficial Uses as a priority for the 2019 Triennial Review. However, the Santa Ana Water Board will add the Tribal Beneficial Use definitions to the Basin Plan as part of the non-regulatory Basin Plan Amendment (BPA) to include the new REC1 statewide bacteria water quality objectives. Currently, Santa Ana Water Board staff have prepared the draft language for the proposed BPA. Staff hosted a Tribal Workshop on March 3rd. Three tribes paticipated in the workshop - Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

None Scheduled

  Visit the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board website.


[Imperial, Riverside, San Diego counties]

Tribal Coordinator

Cynthia Gorham
Cynthia.Gorham@waterboards.ca.gov
(619) 521-3921

TBU Update

Efforts to incorporate the new beneficial uses adopted by State Water Board in 2017 into the San Diego Water Board's Basin Plan began on March 8, 2020, with the San Diego Water Board adopting a Basin Plan Amendment (BPA) for Non-Regulatory Updates that includes these new Tribal Beneficial Uses and subsistence fishing. Since then, significant formatting changes have been added to make the Basin Plan chapters compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Those changes and several additional non-substantive edits are still considered to be “non-regulatory” in nature. However, to be transparent, staff recirculated the updates for a second public review period prior to submitting them to the State Water Board for further approval. The BPA was adopted again on December 8, 2020. It is anticipated that it will be finalized in fall 2021.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

The San Diego Water Board and State Water Board held a Tribal Summit on August 4, 2021. Representatives from 5 local Native American Tribal governments attended which include the Campo Band of Mission Indians, Jamul Indian Village of California, La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. Michael Connolly, consultant to the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA) gave a presentation on Tribal Beneficial Uses. Also in attendance was Jennifer Mattox, the Tribal Liaison from State Lands Commission.

The purpose of the Tribal Summit was to inform tribes of the ongoing 2021 Basin Plan Triennial Review, to seek input from the Tribes on water quality concerns, and to hear the Tribes’ interest in designating Tribal Beneficial Uses to help protect waterbodies within the San Diego Water Board’s jurisdiction that may have cultural and traditional importance to local Tribes. One of the proposed projects on the 2021 Triennial Review list is to designate TBUs to specific waterbodies.

  Visit the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board website.

  Regional Water Boards Map

  State Water Board Division's Quarterly Updates

Tribal Coordinator

Anna Holder
Anna.Holder@waterboards.ca.gov
(916) 341-5096

TBU Update

SWAMP's Bioaccumulation Monitoring Program is undergoing a realignment. One key piece of this effort is to have comprehensive, diverse, and intentional engagement with communities and Tribes who consume fish or shellfish for cultural or subsistence purposes. Part of the engagement process will be to identify what bioaccumulation data and information gaps exist for each region's Tribes and communities, and then to develop a plan for filling in those gaps through regular Program monitoring or special studies, as appropriate. We will be conducting Region by Region realignment efforts over the coming years, starting with San Diego Regional Water Board (Region 9). The second Advisory Committee meeting will be held on Sept. 1, 2021. For information about timelines, products, etc. see the Realignment Webpage: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/swamp/bioaccumulation_monitoring/program_realignment.html.

SWAMP's Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom (FHAB) Program is modernizing their data infrastructure. As part of this effort, we are partnering with the Internet of Water and the Commons to engage and work with NGOs and Tribes involved in FHAB work to figure out how they can more easily submit data to the FHAB Program, which will be used to inform Program monitoring, event response, and risk communication. Initial engagement was conducted in 2020 (referred to as Phase 1), and initial recommendations were developed (see: https://internetofwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FHAB-Data-Ingestion-Model-Recommendation-Document1.pdf). An update on the effort will be conducted via a webinar on Dec. 2, 2021 from 11:30 am - 1 pm PT.

If you have questions about any of these efforts, please don't hesitate to contact Anna (anna.holder@waterboards.ca.gov) directly.

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

The Water Data Science Symposium was held on June 28-30, 2021. The event was virtual, free to attend, and highlighted and elevated Tribal voices, concerns, issues in the water data realm. For event summaries and recordings see: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/data_databases/wq_science_symposium.html

Brook Thompson, OIMA Summer EPIC Fellow and Yurok & Karuk Tribal Member, will be giving a webinar presentation on August 30th from 12 pm -1 pm titled: Indigenous Racism in US Water Infrastructure. Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://waterboards.zoom.us/j/95345649861?pwd=Rkg5amVOUzc1Ni8raGZ6cXJKaVZHQT09
Passcode: 636797


Tribal Coordinator

Daniel Ellis
Daniel.Ellis@waterboards.ca.gov
(916) 322-7787

TBU Update

None

Upcoming Board Meetings/Workshops Relating to TBUs

None Scheduled