Aerial view looking north along Old River in the center is Fay Island, left top is Palm Tract, left bottom is Orwood Tract, bottom is Woodward Island and top right is Bacon island all part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in San Joaquin County, California. Photo taken March 08, 2019.
Ken James / California Department of Water Resources, FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
CA WATER COMMISSION: Delta Conveyance update; Tribal engagement in the Delta Conveyance process
At the February meeting of the California Water Commission, Carrie Buckman, DWR’s Environmental Program Manager for Delta conveyance process, briefed the commissioners on the project schedule, the project’s public engagement plans, and the soil investigations.
In July of 2017, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) approved the California Water Fix, which was a two tunnel conveyance project. In February 2019, Governor Newsom announced his support for a single tunnel conveyance project; he then issued an executive order in April directing DWR to assess planning for a single tunnel project. So in May of 2019, DWR withdrew all California Water Fix approval and environmental compliance documentation, and at that point, all planning for California Water Fix ceased.
The Department of Water Resources is now working on a new effort that will rely on information generated through the California Water Fix where applicable and appropriate, but otherwise, this is a new planning effort that is being started, she said.
In January of 2020, the state released a draft water resilience portfolio, and subsequent to that, the Department of Water Resources issued a Notice of Preparation for a proposed single tunnel project.
The environmental review process
The slide on the lower left shows the three year schedule for the project. They are starting the CEQA process now, and expect to have a draft EIR at the end of this year or early next year. They will work towards a final document and a decision in early 2022. They will be working concurrently on efforts with state and federal endangered species act permitting starting later this year, as well as the necessary water rights processes, consistency with Delta Plan, and other environmental permits.
The graph on the slide on the upper right shows the four main steps to the environmental review process. The Department is at the beginning and initial outreach with the releases of the Notice of Preparation and scoping meetings being held statewide throughout February. The results of the scoping meetings will be summarized into a scoping summary report that will help inform the overall agency outreach plan.
The second step is formulating alternatives based on the comments received during scoping, further defining the project, completing technical reports that analyze the technical aspects of the alternatives, and combining the information into an impact and mitigation analysis.
The third step will be to issue an administrative draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and then in a public draft EIR, which will include a public involvement opportunity for people to review the draft document. There will also be public hearings to discuss the draft environmental documents.
The fourth step will be to select a preferred alternative, respond to comments, and complete a final Environmental Impact Report and Notice of Determination.
Notice of preparation
The purpose of the Notice of Preparation is to document the intent to develop an Environmental Impact Report for the Delta conveyance project. The NOP triggers the start of scoping, describes the proposed project including probable environmental effects, provides notice about scoping meetings, and gives information on how to make a comment.
Ms. Buckman noted that a lot of people think that because the Notice of Preparation includes a project description, that means that a decision has already been made on a project to implement, but she said this isn’t the case.
“CEQA requires us to include a description of the proposed project so that people have something to comment on,” she said. “It’s a starting point; it is not a decision on what to implement. We are at the beginning of a three year process, so there’s still quite of bit of work to do before we make a decision.”
The Notice of Preparation documents the purpose and objectives which are the fundamental reasons that DWR is considering the proposed project. The purpose is to develop new diversion and conveyance facilities in the Delta that are necessary to store and protect the reliability of water deliveries in a cost effective manner, consistent with the state’s water resilience portfolio. The specific objectives are to address sea level rise and climate change, minimize water supply disruption due to seismic risk, protect water supply reliability, and provide operational flexibility.
The project area is shown on the slide on the upper right. All of the construction would be within the statutory Delta, but there could be indirect effects upstream to the waterways that flow into the Delta or indirect effects in the water service areas that could receive water from the conveyance facility. That includes the green areas that are the SWP areas, and potentially the yellow areas that are the Central Valley Project areas.
Proposed project facilities include intake facilities on the Sacramento River; the three dots show the proposed locations for the intake facilities; the project would use two out of the three. There would be tunnel reaches, tunnel shafts, and potentially an intermediate forebay in the middle and a southern forebay at the terminal end of the tunnels that would help manage the hydraulics within the tunnel. There would be a pumping plant from the tunnel up into the southern forebay and conveyance facilities from that forebay to the existing pumping facilities in the south Delta.
The Notice of Preparation (NOP) identifies two potential corridors for the tunnel – the yellow corridor through the Central Delta similar to the path of the California Water Fix and a purple corridor which runs along the east side of the Delta. The Department would only pick one of those two; Ms. Buckman said there isn’t a preference for either of them at this time.
The Notice of Preparation identifies a proposed project capacity of 6000 cfs with two intakes at 3000 cfs, but the alternatives likely include capacities in the range of 3000 to 7500 cfs. Ms. Bucknam noted that they haven’t finalized alternative selections and won’t until after scoping is complete.
The new Delta conveyance facility would be operated together with the existing south Delta pumping facilities; it would not replace the existing south Delta pumping facilities. Operations of the new Delta conveyance project would increase DWR’s ability to capture water during high flow events. The environmental documentation will include initial operating criteria, but Ms. Buckman acknowledged that during the environmental permitting process, additional requirements may be added through the endangered species act or water rights processes.
The Department of Water Resources will select a reasonable range of potentially feasible alternatives that meet project objectives and present opportunities to reduce impacts. The scoping period provides an opportunity for the public to comment on alternatives. Following scoping, the Department will look at all the information received, formulate alternatives, and publicize that information and document the alternatives they intend to include for detailed evaluation in the draft environmental documents.
The Department is currently in the public scoping process; public comments are due by March 20.
DELTA CONVEYANCE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY
The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) was established as a joint powers authority (JPA) between the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and participating public water agencies. The JPA has a board of directors that is composed of elected officials from participating public water agencies. The board was established to have seven members but it currently only has four based on the agencies that have decided to participate.
Originally, the Design and Construction Authority was set up to start design and construction of Water Fix; however, since the demise of Water Fix, the scope has changed to provide design support for environmental planning. The Department of Water Resources is directing this work and providing oversight.
Currently, Department of Water Resources has asked the DCA to develop preliminary designs for the proposed project for both of the corridors with potential capacities between 3000 and 7500 cfs. DWR will be asking them to further work on the alternatives once they are identified.
“We have asked them, as they are working on those designs, to consider ways to avoid or minimize construction related effects to local communities,” she said. “We want all of that information incorporated during the design process, rather than waiting for the environmental process to identify and mitigate impacts.”
The Department of Water Resources’ role is to lead the environmental review and planning effort, including CEQA and the other environmental permits. They are also leading the public outreach, public participation, and stakeholder engagement activities. The Department insures transparency and is responsible for managing the planning budget and planning schedule, and will report progress to the state legislature and others. DWR’s directs and oversees the work of the DCA.
The role of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) is that under the oversight of the Department of Water Resources, the DCA will conduct engineering and design work to inform the environmental review and planning process, identify potential engineering and design strategies to avoid and/or minimize impacts, and assist in conducting public outreach, public participation, and stakeholder engagement activities.
The public water agencies serve on the board of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) and provide technical expertise to both DWR and the DCA. They collaborate on and contribute to public participation and public outreach, and they ensure that the planning and project development meet the financial, policy, technical, and long-term planning needs of their retailers, member agencies, and ratepayers.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN THE DELTA CONVEYANCE PROJECT
During the month of February, the Department is holding eight public scoping meetings. The meetings begin with a brief presentation, a short period for clarifying questions, but the main purpose of the meeting is to listen to comments from the public.
“It’s not a very interactive discussion,” said Ms. Buckman. “It’s a listening session, more than anything else. Public hearings after the draft will be similar.”
The Department is considering a series of workshops with technical experts on topics such as climate change or operations of the State Water Project that would give stakeholders access to technical experts that would help them understand complicated topics.
They are working on disadvantaged community outreach, reaching out to disadvantaged communities in advance of the scoping meetings to make sure that they know about the meetings.
“If they need any help in obtaining information, we are there to help them and really encourage them to submit scoping comments and/or attend meetings,” said Ms. Buckman. “We’re also offering that if people have a better forum that would be easier for them to attend, we would be happy to come talk to them individually or in a different type of meeting setting.”
DCA’S STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE
The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority has formed a stakeholder engagement committee to help identify ways to design and construct the project that would avoid or minimize effects to local communities and the Delta as a place. There are 17 members that represent different stakeholder groups in the Delta. There are also up to 5 ex-officio members to provide information; Ms. Buckman said that right now, two of those ex-officio positions have been filled.
When the members applied for a position on the stakeholder engagement committee, they explained their role in the community and how they would share the information they received during the committee to their respective stakeholder groups and bring back information to the committee in order to try and expand the reach of the committee beyond just the members.
“Members of the committee do not need to agree with the project and I’m not sure that any of them support the project,” said Ms. Buckman. “The idea is to try to identify ways that if the project does move forward, it can be done in a way that has less of an impact to the local communities. That’s something that’s important to us and the DCA.”
As a committee to the DCA board, the topics are limited to the work completed by the DCA. “The committee focuses on design and construction-related activities,” she said. “This has been a little bit confusing for everyone because right now this is an environmental planning process, and when I go to the committee meetings, people sometimes want to talk about environmental issues. But as a committee to the DCA board, they are really focused more on what the DCA is doing.”
The stakeholder engagement committee meets once or twice a month; they’ve had four or five meetings so far. The committee is a Brown Act body.
“Participation in the committee does not take the place of public involvement under CEQA,” said Ms. Buckman. “DWR is still doing a full public engagement effort, but this is an opportunity for people to understand more of the design details and provide more detailed feedback in a different setting.”
THE WATER COMMISSION AS A PUBLIC FORUM
Ms. Buckman noted that she has been discussing with Executive Officer Joe Yun about how the Department might be able to work with the Commission over the next few years as the project proceeds.
“Many water districts have their meetings and opportunities for the public to engage,” she said. “We don’t have anything like that, so regular updates could help the Commission in their role related to the State Water Project and it could also help us reach a larger audience with updates. We are hoping that we can come and provide updates every three to six months. We can talk about whatever topics you may be interested in, and things that I think the public and the stakeholders would be interested in, so we’re hoping that would have some benefit to the group.”
SOIL INVESTIGATION STUDIES
The Department released an initial study and proposed negative declaration for proposed soil investigations in the Delta last November with a public comment period through January 20. The purpose of the soil investigations is to gather information to inform and evaluate alternatives for Delta conveyance and provide information to increase understanding of Delta geology. The investigations could include soil borings on land and over water, cone penetration test, and geophysical surveys.
Currently, they are reviewing the public comments received on the initial study and proposed mitigated negative declaration and considering all of those comments in how to move forward. If they do decide to move forward, a final document and decision would occur probably around the end of March, at which point, the DCA acting as DWR’s agent, will go and try to secure temporary access to the areas that we need to do those studies.
“We are following a different process this time, so we are working to try to provide a more attractive offer to people so they may participate in a more voluntary manner,” Ms. Buckman said. “If that doesn’t work, then I anticipate we will come back to the Commission to try to work on access. I think later this year is sort of the early side of that timing.”
TRIBAL ENGAGEMENT IN THE DELTA CONVEYANCE PROCESS
Next on the agenda, DWR Tribal Policy Advisor Anecita Agustinez discussed the efforts the Department is making to engage and consult with the California tribes on the Delta conveyance project as required by AB 52 and the California Environmental Quality Act.
She began by presenting a map obtained from the California Native American Heritage Commission (lower, left) which shows the tribal territories, prior to European contact (or pre-contact), noting the similarities of the territories with the watersheds and the hydrology.
Looking closer (upper, right), the Delta was the ancestral land of the Nisenan, Maidu, Miwok, Costanoan, Northern Valley Yokuts, and Patwin tribes. The current ancestors today for this ancestral land are identified as the Buena Vista Rancheria of Miwok Indians, Dayon Band of Miwok Indians, the California Valley Miwok Tribe, the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria, the Wilton Ranchera and the Yochu Dehi Wintu Nation.
“Native Americans thrived here in California for thousands of years because they knew how to balance the land management techniques that allow them to increase habitat diversity and improve the health of plants, wildlife, and fish species,” said Ms. Agustinez.
The Department also recognizes non-federally recognized tribes from this area which include the California Valley Miwok Tribe and the Sheep Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California and the Yokuts tribe. In the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa alone, there are about 23 independent tribes that at one time had 200-300 members with permanent villages and seasonal camps.
Before getting to the specific engagement efforts for the Delta Conveyance, Ms. Agustinez first gave an overview of the consultation processes.
Executive Order B-10-11
In 2011, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-10-11 that recognized tribal sovereignty and Native Americans’ rights to self-governance and to exercise their inherent powers over their members and territory. The Executive Order also directed state agencies to consult with Native American tribes, both federally and non-federally recognized, on a government to government basis to address issues concerning Native American tribal government and tribal trust resources.
Executive Order B-10-11 also established the Office of Tribal Advisor to the Governor who is currently Christina Snider from the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians; as tribal advisor, Ms. Snider also holds a second role as the Secretary of the Native American Heritage Commission.
The tribal advisor advises the Governor on all non-gaming related policies and she plays an important role in guiding the state liaisons and policy advisors in tribal matters. She convenes quarterly meetings to keep everyone updated and provides assistance as needed with the tribal consultation policies within state departments and agencies.
Executive Order N-10-19
In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-10-19 in which he recognized that water is a human right and is central to California’s strength and vitality. The executive order also directed the California Department of Food and Ag, Cal EPA, and Natural Resources Agency to develop a water resilience portfolio, including an assessment to modernize the conveyance through the Delta with the single tunnel project. The draft water resilience portfolio embodies several principles on strengthening partnerships with local, federal, and tribal governments and water agencies.
“The Department assisted the tribal advisors in holding listening sessions and we’re happy to report that some of those concerns had ended up in comments from the tribal communities in the water resilience portfolio draft,” said Ms. Agustinez. “There’s been other follow-up with comments under the public draft. Going back to the water resilience portfolio, item 4. The ability and commitment for our agencies to continue to conduct extensive outreach to inform this process.”
“The big goal here is strengthening the ability of the collaborative strategies we need on this government to government relationships that we have with sovereign tribes’ local communities,” she continued. “Not only on the government to government relationship with federally and non-federally recognized tribes, but also the communities of interest to these tribes that have been ambassadors for tribal communities with limited capacities, such as tribal governmental organizations and other non-governmental organizations that have been really critical in helping advance some of those roles when those voices were underrepresented.”
Executive Order N-15-19
Last year, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-15-19, in which he apologized for the historical mistreatment, violence and neglect on behalf of California to California Native American peoples. which was an important gesture for the California tribes.
“I can’t say how important this was to tribal governments,” said Ms. Agustinez. “For the Governor of the state of California to issue a public apology on behalf of every California citizen, acknowledging the centuries of prejudicial policies against Native Americans and acknowledging and honoring Native Americans for stewarding and protecting the land that we now share, reside and thrive on. The apology was for the instances of violence, maltreatment, neglect, the genocide, and the enslavement policies that have been a part of California policies as of the founding of our state in the 1850s.”
Executive Order N-15-19 also established a Truth and Healing Council that will be convened by the Governor’s Tribal Advisor, Christina Snider. The Council will be comprised of delegates from California Native American tribes, relevant government agencies and nongovernmental stakeholders. The Council will issue annual draft reports, culminating in a five year final report on Truth and Healing issues relevant to the Native American community.
“That is very nascent in the process right now, but we look forward to seeing where this Council will take Executive Order N-15-19 and how that will continue to shape our government to government relationships,” said Ms. Agustinez.
She also noted that Executive Order N-15-19, reaffirmed that all public and state agencies are to engage in government to government consultation with California Native American tribes involving policies that affect tribal communities.
TRIBAL ENGAGEMENT POLICIES
The Natural Resources Agency has a tribal consultation policy that has been adopted by the California Water Commission and the Department of Water Resources. In addition, the Department also adopted in 2016 their own tribal engagement policy.
As the tribes have been asked to look at state agency policies, many of the tribes are now working to develop a consultation policy in parallel to what the state agencies have. Ms. Agustinez said that the Karuk Tribe, the San Manuel Rincon Band, and the San Luis Rey Mission Tribe all have policies, and many more are developing their own. Some can be quite lengthy; others can be rather short.
“I encourage anyone that’s working with a tribal government to also check if that tribal government has issued their own consultation policy,” she said.
FEDERAL AGENCIES AND TRIBAL CONSULTATION
Ms. Agustinez said that in the past, DWR has worked with the Army Corps, the Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to support the Section 106 consultation process under the National Historic Preservation Act. She noted that for the Delta Conveyance project, a federal lead agency has not yet been identified.
“When we work with federal partners, the federal partners have their own tribal consultation under federal policy and sometimes they are very strict on only working with federally-recognized tribes,” she said. “We’ve been successful in some of these relationships that if DWR has a long-standing good relationship in our consultation process leading up to the Section 106, some of these agencies on other projects have allowed and continued that consultation and expanded Section 106 to include the non-federally-recognized tribes. That is a practice that’s really up to the lead agency. … I do hope in this particular instance with the Delta Conveyance and our federal partner yet to be determined, that they will be just as embracing with that process.”
AB 52: TRIBAL CULTURAL RESOURCES
AB 52, passed in 2014, amended the CEQA process to require prerequisites for tribal consultation with any tribe that is traditionally and culturally affiliated to the geographic area where a project is located for any project for which a Notice of Preparation, a Notice of a Mitigated Negative Declaration, or a Notice of Negative Declaration that is filed on or after July 1, 2015. AB 52 requires state and public agencies to, whenever feasible, avoid any damaging effects to any tribal cultural resources within their projects.
However, the tribe has a responsibility under AB 52 to request from the lead agency in question to provide notification to the tribe of any projects within that tribe’s area of traditional and cultural affiliation. The California Native American Heritage Commission maintains a contact list for tribes that is constantly being updated.
Ms. Agustinez said there are two different pathways for tribal consultation. “There are the AB 52 consulting tribes where a tribe has requested through AB 52, to be on an AB 52 consultation list with our Department,” she said. “That requires that a tribe give formal notice to DWR that this is our area of geographical and cultural affiliated concern in advance of our January 15 letter, with an attached map of their area. That would allow for that tribe to be in AB 52 consulting tribe.”
“In addition, because of our extensive tribal engagement policy at DWR, and pursuant to Natural Resources Agency consultation policy and Executive Orders N-10-19 and B-10-11, we also have a process where any tribe that wishes to consult with DWR on any project at any time can make that request,” she continued. “If they, for whatever reason, miss the deadline of within 30 days to be an AB 52 consulting tribe, they can request consultation and be a part of the process through the public engagement process through CEQA. DWR would consult and would be under formal consultation, and if any information was to be shared of a confidential nature, we would be sure we would adhere to that confidentiality requirement.”
Consultation under AB 52 is concluded when parties reach a mutual agreement concerning appropriate measures for preservation or mitigation, or if either party acting in good faith or after reasonable effort concludes that mutual agreement cannot be reached concerning appropriate measures for preservation and mitigation.
“Even though you have a closure of the AB 52 process, sometimes in an ideal world, you do reach a joint agreement,” said Ms. Agustinez. “There have been examples within DWR’s past consultation where we didn’t meet a mutual agreement, but we mutually agreed to conclude the consultation process and we still continue to consult on that project.”
Under AB 52, ‘Tribal Cultural Resources” was defined as ‘a site, a feature, a place, a cultural landscape, a sacred place with a cultural value to a California Native American tribe that is either on or eligible for inclusion in the California historic register’.
Ms. Agustinez noted that when they were conducting consultations on the soil investigations in the Delta, they were introduced to some tribes that they had not worked with before, who talked about the importance of Mount Diablo as a cultural landscape. This would be an example of an identified tribal cultural resource within the Delta itself, she said.
She explained that cultural resources are very significant to Native American tribes because they represent their cultural values. “Cultural resources reflect the indigenous human history of California Native Americans in California, documenting over 10,000+ years of their existence pre-European contact,” she said. “There is a bond that still exists with the present day descendants and their sacred places and sites, no matter how old or how small that particular cultural resource is. These cultural sites and resources continue to have religious and ceremonial significance and are still in use by Native American communities.”
TRIBAL CONSULTATION AND THE DELTA CONVEYANCE PROJECT
Ms. Agustinez noted that throughout the consultation process under AB 52, the Department is committed under their consultation policies to maintain the confidentiality of information obtained through consultation, developing non-disclosure agreements as necessary with tribes at their request.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the California Water Fix did not fall under the statutory timelines of AB 52, but the Delta Conveyance Project does, so the Department, as the lead agency under CEQA, began the process with the Notice of Preparation on January 15. This gives the tribes 30 days to respond if they wish to consult. However, prior to that, the Department was very proactive, conducting a very broad tribal outreach over the past six months to alert them to the project.
“We knew that this project was very important, and we knew from past experience with the tribal engagement with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and with California Water Fix, how important any conveyance in the Delta would be for tribes,” Ms. Agustinez said. “We wanted to have a forum for tribes to understand what our role was in Delta conveyance, even though there wasn’t a project or a name. We had direction with Governor Newsom and the Water Resilience Portfolio and his Executive Order N-10-19, so we wanted to keep the tribes informed so they would be prepared once the Notice of Preparation was issued.”
Ms. Agustinez said there was significant tribal participation in some of the various scoping meetings and they’re looking forward to continuing that tribal engagement. They have held two pre-AB 52 meetings, and have had two formal tribal engagement committee meetings. An additional scoping meeting for the Notice of Preparation was added on March 2nd in Redding in part because of requests from tribal interests.
PUBLIC COMMENTS FROM TRIBAL MEMBERS
“It’s important to remember that through a public engagement stakeholder process, if a tribal citizen is making a comment, they are making a comment only on behalf of themselves as a tribal citizen, unless they come forward and state that they have a delegated authority on behalf of their tribal government to be making that comment,” said Ms. Agustinez. “It’s important to recognize that distinction in your public engagement process, not only for Delta conveyance, but any other future meeting, that you respect that sovereign status of government to government relations and also the importance of that delegated authority.”
She also noted that some tribes will utilize the public comment period knowing it is a public comment period and not say certain things that they do not want to be confidentially listed, while other tribes will utilize the consultation process and may not be part of the public comment period.
“Just because you may not hear from tribal communities during that pubic comment period, it does not mean that tribal consultation isn’t happening or that other tribes are not engaged,” she said.
TRIBAL REPRESENTATION ON THE DCA STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE
The Department of Water Resources recognized the importance of tribal representation on the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority’s 17-member Stakeholder Engagement Committee, so they strongly advocated for a tribal representative. The request initially was for three representatives, but it ended up as one standing member and an alternate. Ms. Malissa Tayaba representing Shingle Springs Rancheria is the standing member and Mr. Jesus Tarango, vice chairman of the Wilton Rancheria is the alternate.
Ms. Agustinez explained why only one tribal seat on advisory groups is difficult for tribes. “Just like the County of Contra Costa cannot speak for the County of Alameda, or the state of California cannot represent the state of Oregon in a public process, it is similar when you’re talking about tribal governments,” she said. “There’s the responsibility of being that one tribal voice, and that is a real strong and heavy burden for a tribe to hold for all the tribes, so we were fortunate to have an alternate appointed. Both of them are embraced by that full committee, and they’ve asked Mr. Tarango also to sit at the table, so the two of them have become ambassadors in terms of sitting on that DCA stakeholder engagement committee. Through their efforts, a tribal engagement committee is being formed. It’s still being determined what the roles of that engagement committee would be in advising the DWR. We’re allowing the tribes to make that distinction and that determination of how they want to do that engagement process, so it may be in future updates.”
Ms. Agustinez pointed out that participation in these committees do not waive any tribe’s ability to meet individually with DWR nor does it replace any form of government to government consultation throughout the process. As any engagement committee process, it is really information sharing and updates and the facilitation of communication, she said.
“When you look at the Delta and you do a search, there aren’t any federally-recognized or jurisdictional lands within the Delta proper, and that’s because of the California history of termination of tribes and pushing tribes out of coastal areas and moving them to outbound areas,” she said. “With many tribes, you’re not going to find them in the Delta proper, but it’s still their ancestral land in terms of where they resided and where they continue to practice ceremonial and cultural practices in terms of information and sacred lands and collections of other items of importance to tribes.”
Ms. Agustinez concluded by suggesting that the California Water Commission could become a venue for tribes to discuss their cultural histories and their issues, and that the Commission might consider a meeting at a tribal venue or holding a listening session to hear tribal input not only on Delta conveyance, but on other issues important to tribes, such as the water resilience portfolio.