The State Water Board's Tribal Affairs Office works to accomplish the State Water Board's goal of meaningful engagement with California Native American Tribes, including Tribal consultation. The Water Boards also designate Tribal beneficial uses for surface waters.
The California Water Boards Tribal Consultation Policy (policy) is to develop effective communication with all California Native American Tribes that allow for meaningful participation and input while developing or revising the Water Boards’ regulations, rules, policies, programs, or plans that may impact Tribes. Click here for the Water Board's Tribal Consultation Policy.
Tribal beneficial uses
Since time immemorial, Native American Tribes have used water to support their cultural, spiritual, ceremonial, and/or traditional rights. These practices are not covered by existing beneficial uses, such as fishing, gathering shellfish, and tribal subsistence fishing. The designation of Tribal beneficial uses relates to the risks to human health from the consumption of noncommercial fish or shellfish, and not to protect or enhance fish populations or aquatic habitats, which are covered by other beneficial use designations.
The Regional Water Boards are responsible for designating Tribal beneficial uses of water and are in different stages of amending their Basin Plans to include these uses. More information here.
The Water Boards’ Tribal Liaison is responsible for coordinating outreach, communication and consultation efforts with the Water Boards and Tribes. For inquiries regarding consultation, please contact: Tribal-Liaison@waterboards.ca.gov.