Improving Community Water Resilience Through Water Data Literacy and Engagement

Host: Water Boards – Office of Information Management and Analysis
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Public Health, Water Management, Water Policy, Equity and Tribal Work
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Relationship Management, Community Outreach, Data Analysis,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – Our office will be working a hybrid schedule with at least 2-days a week in office. We can provide flexibility for our fellows to create an experience that is best for each fellow.

Service Needs & Plans

Our projects will build on the capacity building goals for our two local beneficiaries: The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the California Indian Environmental Alliance, which represents multiple tribes around the state. We anticipate these will be our two, local beneficiaries for 2024/25 fellow work.

Our specific, project goals for the CivicSpark Program are to strengthen community and local government engagement and build trust with our local, tribal beneficiaries. Through these outreach efforts, we hope to gain a better understanding of community and local government water data science needs, incorporate those needs to help fill data gaps, transform data into usable and relatable information, and empower tribes and communities to use data to address their unique water challenges to ensure a sustainable water future for their community.

Project Description

The fellow will build on two prior years of work to develop Tribal data products that align with the interests expressed by local beneficiaries we have been working to build capacity around. There are several water data engagement projects that the fellow could choose from that align with their interests and career goals. All projects will have an overarching goal to advance and operationalize open data and racial equity principles and outcomes. Some of these projects include:

  • Supporting statewide Tribal engagement and relationship building efforts,
  • Synthesizing and making accessible water quality data to support Tribal interests,
  • Developing data exploration and communication tools and resources to discover insights, trends, and gaps relevant to Tribal and community interests,
  • Researching the origins of toxicity threshold data and information to support better protection of Tribal and cultural practices,
  • Advance the dialog in the State on Tribal data sovereignty,
  • Planning and facilitating a film screening or community-centered engagement event (e.g., speakers, panel discussions.

Tribes partnering with us on this effort will have access to open water data and information to help them better advocate for their interests and various forums. Over time, the tribes and the California Water Boards will build trust and capacity to do deeper work around the specific outcomes related to water, water quality, and aquatic and land environments that demonstrate the value of tribal ecological knowledge (TEK) and importance of indigenous data sovereignty.

Desired Skills

We are looking for fellows that are interested in exploring interdisciplinary projects who possess both technical data skills as well as experience with effective community outreach and engagement. Fellows should be able to work both independently and collaboratively. We are looking for fellows who are able to effectively communicate technical data and information to diverse audiences, have an understanding of stakeholder driven data collection and assessment approaches, and have strong project management abilities. Fluency in two or more languages would be ideal.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards), collectively known as the California Water Boards (Water Boards), are dedicated to a single vision: abundant clean water for human uses and environmental protection to sustain California’s future. Under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the state’s pioneering Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the State and Regional Water Boards have regulatory responsibility for protecting the water quality of nearly 1.6 million acres of lakes, 1.3 million acres of bays and estuaries, 211,000 miles of rivers and streams, and about 1,100 miles of exquisite California coastline.

Community Highlights

The Water Boards serves all Californians with a central vision of a sustainable California made possible by clean water and water availability for both human uses and environmental resource protection. The Water Board’s mission statement is 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.

The State Water Board has a central office location in Sacramento, but offices for the Water Boards are throughout the state with programs and projects that has meaningful impacts to the diverse communities of California.

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