The Sierra Fund is pleased to report that on August 26 the Department of Water Resources (DWR) finished their final review of the Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba (CABY) Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Plan update of 2021 and determined that it is consistent with the IRWM Planning Act and the related IRWM Plan Standards contained in the 2016 IRWM Program Guidelines. The CABY IRWM Plan addresses long-term water supply needs, protection of water quality, and enhancement of environmental and habitat resources in the region.
It’s official, CABY has a new Plan and is ready to move forward!
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.
The importance of the region cannot be overstated. The four watersheds that make up the CABY region combine to form a major drainage area of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range, from the mountain crest to the Central Valley. The collective streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs of these watersheds flow into the Sacramento River and are a major source of fresh water for the state of California.
The Sierra Fund has been involved with CABY since 2010, playing an instrumental leadership role as well as being responsible for administering millions of dollars in DWR funding towards implementation projects. Along the way, The Sierra Fund has recognized that achieving the goal of healthy lands and healthy communities requires that there is a place at the table for underestimated populations including Tribal groups. Working with the CABY IRWM and Stakeholder Group, The Sierra Fund integrates one-on-one engagement with historically excluded communities to ensure that these groups understand the resources available through CABY and how they can participate and gain access to funds to address their most pressing water needs, specifically for Tribes on whose ancestral lands projects are planned. As the CABY update was developed, The Sierra Fund worked to promote equitable inclusion of Tribes in the group’s decision-making processes to ensure that the 2021 Plan is inclusive of the priorities of Tribal groups and supports consultation of Tribal-led entities as stewards of regional water bodies and recipients of funding for water infrastructure needs under DWR’s IRWM program. As we all work towards equitable solutions for improving ecosystem health in our region, The Sierra Fund strongly advocates that Tribal entities are engaged EARLY and OFTEN in planning, project development, and decision-making processes. We are pleased to see that projects led by four Tribal groups in the CABY region were included in the CABY Plan Update of 2021, making these projects eligible for funding under DWR.