Tribal and Subsistence Fishing Beneficial Uses

On May 2, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted Resolution 2017-0027, which approved the "Tribal and Subsistence Fishing Beneficial Uses and Mercury Provisions”. Resolution 2017-0027 established new beneficial use definitions for use by the State and Regional Water Boards that include Tribal Tradition and Culture (CUL), Tribal Subsistence Fishing (T-SUB) and Subsistence (SUB) beneficial uses. These beneficial uses are meant to protect water quality in waterbodies where activities specific to Native American culture and subsistence fishing occur, including practices not covered by existing beneficial uses. For Tribal Beneficial Uses (TBUs) to be memorialized in a region and for waterbodies to be protected, a Regional Water Board needs to complete one or more Basin Plan Amendment processes to incorporate the definitions for the TBUs into the region’s Basin Plan and to designate waterbodies with the TBUs.

General information regarding Tribal Beneficial Uses is available on the State Water Board Tribal Affairs website.

Information about the Lahontan Water Board's Tribal Beneficial Uses effort is available in a Fact Sheet

Tribal Cultural, Tribal Subsistence Fishing and Subsistence Fishing Beneficial Uses Designation Project

The Lahontan Water Board has initiated an effort to designate waterbodies in the Lahontan Region with the Tribal Beneficial Uses. Staff are conducting outreach to Tribal Nations with current or ancestral ties to the Lahontan Region to obtain the information needed to designate waterbodies.

*JANUARY 2023 UPDATE*
The Lahontan Water Board held a Tribal Summit on June 15, 2022 that was attended by Tribal leaders and Tribal representatives from ten Tribes associated with the Lahontan Region. Staff provided background information, answered questions and received input from Tribes regarding the Tribal Beneficial Uses and the designation process. Letters were then sent to all Tribes associated with the Lahontan Region requesting that they identify waterbodies in the Lahontan Region that are culturally significant and should be designated with the Tribal Beneficial Uses. Tribes with ties to the Lahontan Region are encouraged to contact Lahontan staff with any questions regarding the Tribal Beneficial Uses. We have asked Tribes to submit their requests for Tribal Beneficial Use designations to the Lahontan Water Board with a target date of February 24, 2023.

In response to requests made by Tribes in and around the Mono Basin, the Lahontan Water Board is initiating a Basin Plan amendment process to designate Tribal Beneficial Uses to waterbodies in the Mono Basin. Tribal consultation for Tribes associated with the Mono Basin is underway.

A virtual public CEQA scoping meeting will be held on Zoom on February 9, 2023 from 2:00-4:00 pm to receive public comment regarding the scope of the required environmental analysis. The notification for that meeting is provided below and will be circulated via our lyris email subscription lists.

Project Announcements and Documents

Notice of CEQA Scoping Meeting on February 9, 2023

Tribal Cultural, Tribal Subsistence Fishing and Subsistence Fishing Beneficial Uses Definitions Basin Plan Amendment

The Lahontan Water Board completed a Basin Plan Amendment process to add the definitions for the Tribal Beneficial Uses to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Lahontan Region. Documents related to this action are provided below.

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