Last month The Sierra Fund hosted over 20 residents from across Nevada County for a workshop intended to build community capacity to identify and address water quality and water access issues in the face of climate change. A key goal of this effort was to increase engagement among disadvantaged community (DAC) members who may not be aware of opportunities to participate in decision-making processes about water. Much of Nevada County is designated as DAC by the state of California, based on median household income. The February 27 gathering provided a facilitated platform for the concerned public to systematically examine discrete areas within the county and better understand what resources these areas have to solve outstanding needs and respond to environmental and infrastructural stresses in the future.
The workshop was facilitated by the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment and the Sierra Water Workgroup using a framework that identified different kinds of community “capital” — financial, human, social, cultural, and physical — to help articulate the strengths and challenges of neighborhoods and communities.
This community capacity workshop was funded by the Cosumnes, American, Bear Yuba (CABY) Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) group, as part of the Proposition 1 IRWM Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program (DACIP) designed to increase the participation of underrepresented, underserved and low-capacity communities in IRWM planning.
CABY is a collaborative of water providers, nonprofit organizations, Tribes and interested stakeholders from across Nevada County and the greater CABY watershed region that strive to integrate water management, projects and planning at a regional scale. Workshop outcomes will be used to help CABY identify funding priorities for water infrastructure improvements in the region, provide support for technical assistance training and build capacity.