Advancing Racial Equity in the North Coast Region
Welcome to the North Coast Water Board's Racial Equity Initiative Site
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a Racial Equity Resolution on February 2, 2023. Staff is now preparing a Racial Equity Action Plan and is currently in the planning process. Please refer to this document for 1) a history of our Racial Equity Initiative, 2) goals of the Racial Equity Action Plan, and 3) a description of preliminary draft actions for your consideration. You may sign-up for our Racial Equity email list to keep informed of Action Plan developments.
Call to Action
Racial equity is a priority for the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. We are working toward a future where we equitably implement our mission to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health, and all beneficial uses, and to ensure proper water resource allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations. We envision a California where:
- Race is not a predictor of water and sanitation access a person receives;
- Race is not a predictor of professional outcomes for Regional Water Board staff; and
- A racial equity lens is consistently applied to the Regional Water Board decision-making processes.
North Coast Regional Water Board Racial Equity Initiative
The North Coast Regional Water Board took the first step toward an equitable future by adopting a Racial Equity Resolution (Resolution) at its February 2, 2023, Board Meeting that acknowledges historical and present-day racial inequities and injustices. The Resolution was built upon the State Water Resource Control Board’s Racial Equity Resolution adopted in November 2021 (see State Water Board Racial Equity Initiative below)
The Regional Water Board is now developing an Action Plan with specific actions to advance racial equity in the North Coast Region. The Action Plan development process consists of planning, engagement of affected communities, a public comment period, and proposed adoption of the Action Plan in Fall 2024. We are currently in the planning phase and this webpage will be updated as we move into subsequent development phases.
Racial Equity Resolution Development Process
The Regional Water Board held four engagement events to seek input on the draft Resolution from tribes, communities of interest, and other members of the public prior to proposing the draft Resolution to the Regional Water Board for adoption. These engagement events consisted of the following:
- A hybrid (in-person and online) Board workshop:
- October 7, 2022 – 1:30 p.m.
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board - David C. Joseph Room
5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
- Two in-person listening sessions:
- October 18, 2022, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or later as necessary
Blue Lake Casino and Hotel - Sapphire Palace Room
777 Casino Way
Blue Lake, CA 95525
- October 19, 2022, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or later as necessary
Happy Camp High School – Gymnasium
234 Indian Creek Road
Happy Camp, CA 96039
- A virtual listening session via Zoom:
- October 25, 2022, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. or later as necessary
The purpose of these engagement events was to:
- Inform communities of interest, tribes, and the public about the Regional Water Board’s racial equity initiative, the draft resolution and its review period, and the future Action Plan;
- Create a space for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other people of color to share their input, experiences, perspectives, and wisdom related to racial inequities and environmental injustices in the North Coast Region; and
- Invite comments and conversation from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other people of color communities, tribes, and other members of the public related to the draft resolution, future action plan, and racial equity at large.
State Water Board Racial Equity Initiative
The California State Water Resources Control Board and nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards, collectively known as the Water Boards, are committed to ensuring that every Californian enjoys equitable protection from environmental harm. Through public and employee engagement, the Water Boards are working toward better understanding the needs of the communities we serve, providing equitable access to resource and services, confronting barriers to progress, and incorporating diverse perspectives into programs and policies to ensure that our work equitably benefits every Californian, regardless of race.
On August 18, 2020, staff presented an informational item to the State Water Board on the Framework for Addressing Racial Equity. The State Water Board acknowledged the historic effects of institutional racism that must be confronted throughout government, and it directed staff to develop a priority plan of action.
In fall 2020, State Water Board Executive Director Eileen Sobeck established a Racial Equity Team, which comprises a diverse group of employees who represent various job classifications and areas of expertise throughout the State and Regional Boards. The Racial Equity Team was directed to 1) establish a foundation of internal and external engagement that values listening and collaboration to drive action; 2) draft a resolution on racial equity to be considered for adoption by the State Water Board and leveraged by the Regional Water Boards to adopt their own resolutions; and 3) develop a subsequent racial equity action plan to implement the resolution and drive the Water Boards’ efforts to institutionalize racial equity. North Coast Regional Water Board staff have served as members of the Racial Equity Working Group since it was established and continue to be active participants.
On November 16, 2021, the State Water Board adopted Resolution No. 2021-0050, Condemning Racism, Xenophobia, Bigotry, and Racial Injustice and Strengthening Commitment to Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access, and Anti-Racism (State Water Board Resolution). The State Water Board Resolution acknowledged the role racism has played in creating inequities in affordability and access to clean and safe water, committed to advancing racial equity within the Water Boards and the communities they serve, directed its staff to develop a racial equity action plan, and encouraged the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards to adopt similar resolutions. The North Coast Water Board Resolution will build upon the State Water Board Resolution.
The State Water Board adopted a Racial Equity Action Plan in November 2022, as the next step in its Racial Equity Initiative. The Racial Equity Action Plan includes specific actions the State Water Board will take to address racial inequities, as well as metrics to measure its progress.For more information on the Water Boards’ Racial Equity Team and the State Water Board Racial Equity Initiative, please visit the State Water Board’s Racial Equity webpage: Racial Equity | California State Water Resources Control Board.
Indigenous Land Acknowledgments
The North Coast Regional Board acknowledges that throughout the North Coast Region there are 59 unique California Native American Tribes with regional and ancestral connection. We recognize that Indigenous peoples’ profound and unique relationship with water is vital to their cultural, spiritual, and medicinal practices and food sovereignty. We also recognize the painful history of genocide, colonization, broken promises, and stolen land and water resources upon which the State of California was founded. We respect Tribal sovereignty and honor Tribal stewardship and the continued use of ancestral lands by Tribal people today. We commit to addressing systemic inequities that persist and to prioritizing Indigenous voices and traditional ecological knowledge in North Coast watersheds. This acknowledgement does not replace our continued commitment to advancing mutual and lasting relationships with Indigenous communities and tribes throughout the North Coast Region.
We Want to Hear From You!
North Coast Racial Equity General Email Inbox:
North Coast Racial Equity Liaison
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Cov Chaw Ua Hauj Lwm Txog Dej muab kev pab cuam txhais lus yam tsis sau nqi. Rau kev txhais ntaub ntawv los sis txhais lus ntawm ncauj/txhais lus piav tes, txuas lus nrog peb ua koj hom lus ntawm (916) 341-5254 or OPP-LanguageServices@waterboards.ca.gov.
Email Subscription List
Interested parties are encouraged to sign up on the email list below to receive information about engagement opportunities and updates on progress to develop the various programs and permits:
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(Page last updated 8/23/23)
Water is a precious resource in California, and maintaining its quality is of utmost importance to safeguard the health of the public and the environment.