Tribal Engagement

The California Water Commissioners bring their water-related experience from various backgrounds such as agriculture, green non-governmental organizations, local water agencies, and utilities; as well as geographic locations ranging from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Los Angeles area, and San Diego to the work of the California Water Commission. The Commission's work is a blend of long-standing statutory obligations that date back 60 to 80 years, as well as newer responsibilities. The Commission encourages the sharing of diverse perspectives, increased transparency and accountability, and improved decision-making related to water policy, planning, and management. For more information about the Commission, please click here: About the California Water Commission.


The Commission recognizes that Tribes are not interested parties, members of the public, or an ethnic group. The Commission values the full participation of Tribes in its work and is committed to continuing to work with Tribes and to improving its Tribal interactions. The content below describes how the Commission has worked with Tribes over time, provides resources that may be helpful to Tribal interaction, and lays the groundwork for improved Tribal relations moving forward.


California Native American Tribal Leadership Comment Policy
In 2023, after seeking input and review from the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, the Commission adopted a California Native American Tribal Leadership Comment Policy, acknowledging the sovereign status of Tribes and recognizing that Tribal leaders are more than interested parties, members of the public, or an ethnic group. The policy is intended to show appropriate respect to elected Tribal leaders and delegated Tribal representatives to contribute their unique perspective and knowledge to the water management issues in which the Commission engages.

California Natural Resources Agency Consultation Policy
The mission of the California Natural Resources Agency is to restore, protect and manage the state's natural, historical and cultural resources for current and future generations using creative approaches and solutions based on science, collaboration and respect for all the communities and interests involved. California Native American Tribes and Tribal communities have sovereign authority over their members and territory, and a unique relationship with California’s resources. This policy ensures effective government-to-government consultation between the Natural Resources Agency, the departments of the Natural Resources Agency, and Native American Tribes and Tribal communities to further this mission and to provide meaningful input into the development of regulations, rules and policies that may affect Tribal communities.

Department of Water Resources Engagement Policy
The California Water Commission exists within the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and is under the umbrella of the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA). The Commission follows DWR's Engagement Policy and CNRA's Consultation Policy, and consults with DWR's Executive Manager, Office of Tribal Affairs on applicable matters.

California Native American Heritage Commission
The Native American Heritage Commission is the primary government agency responsible for identifying and cataloging Native American cultural resources -- ancient places of special religious or social significance to Native Americans and known ancient graves and cemeteries of Native Americans on private and public lands in California. 

Tribal Engagement Survey
This survey will help the Commission better understand current Tribal engagement in its work and how the Commission might better work with Tribes in the future. The survey consists of 18 questions and will take approximately five minutes to complete.