September is Environmental Stewardship Month September is Environmental Stewardship Month


September is Environmental Stewardship Month at DWR.

By exploring this page you can find DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy as well as watch Director Cowin talk of the importance of Environmental Stewardship.

Additionally, Jeanne Kuttel, Chief, Division of Engineering also gives a talk on Environmental Stewardship.

The concept of environmental stewardship stresses the key relationship people have with their environment and with the world in which they live. Environmental stewardship seeks to articulate respect for this mutually interdependent relationship and to demonstrate responsible behaviors that seek to improve and protect our relationship with our respective environments in ways that meet today's global challenges to environmental wellness.

DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy

Director, Mark Cowin shares his vision in this short video below:

DWR Mission:

To manage the water resources of California in cooperation with other agencies,to benefit the State's people, and to protect, restore, and enhance the natural and human environments. 

DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy follows:

Environmental stewardship is a concept and commitment of responsibility to manage and protect natural resources (water, air, land, plants and animals) and ecosystems in a sustainable manner that ensures they are available for future generations. The value of the State's natural resources including plants, animals and ecosystems is reflected in State codes and law. DWR has a role and responsibility to protect and restore the environment, as reflected in its mission statement.

Environmental stewardship is an ethic that DWR embraces as it makes and carries out decisions that deal with future demands on water resources and flood protection throughout California. DWR shall work towards the sustainability of public trust resources related to water resources projects and the environment. 

The goal of an environmental stewardship ethic is to create human systems consistent with natural systems, where each is ultimately sustainable. Systems of water supply and flood protection are more successful when they accommodate and sustain ecosystem functions. Sustainable systems are also more economical over time. 

DWR fosters the environmental stewardship ethic by embracing broad concepts of impact avoidance and protection of natural resources, minimization, mitigation and restoration and enhancement of natural functions and values. DWR will incorporate ecosystem restoration as an objective in water and flood management projects, including partnering with restoration efforts of others, to achieve net environmental benefit.

Ecosystem restoration is the process of reestablishing, to the extent possible, the structure, function and composition of the natural environment. DWR will use science to understand the functions of natural biological and physical systems, so as to help plan and design water supply storage and conveyance systems and flood control systems that also benefit native plants, and fish and wildlife resources. DWR managers will embrace environmental stewardship as part of their responsibilities.

 As managers develop and deliver reliable water supplies and provide for flood protection for the State's residents, they can incorporate environmental stewardship in several ways: Integrate ecosystem protection and restoration into water storage and conveyance and flood control/management planning Include environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection and restoration as a criteria in project funding decisions for all DWR programs Plan for conservation, restoration and maintenance of the biological diversity and natural physical processes of aquatic and related terrestrial ecosystems. Plan and implement projects that contribute to the recovery of aquatic and riparian species listed under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts and other laws, as well as other at-risk species.

Environmental Stewardship- Video Environmental Stewardship- Video



Environmental Stewardship is a key component of Sustainabiity. By practicing the principles of Environmental Stewardship, DWR protects and enhances critical habitat, builds in a variety of environmental benefits early into its projects, avoids mitigation costs and acts responsibly as a public trust agency.


WREM 58B - DWR's implementation of Environmental Stewardship WREM 58B - DWR's implementation of Environmental Stewardship


This WREM is intended to provide guidance and direction to Department of Water Resources (DWR) staff and management in implementing DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy (DAM 2140), as well as meeting DWR's continuing obligation to comply with all environmental laws and other regulatory requirements. Specifically, this WREM provides the following:

Guidance for implementing DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy through consideration and application of Environmental Stewardship Principles for developing more sustainable, economical, and environmentally beneficial programs and projects. Project-level guidelines to improve DWR's ability to meet or exceed environmental compliance requirements.


Consistent with DWR's mission and Environmental Stewardship Policy, DWR is responsible for managing the water resources of California in cooperation with other agencies to create human systems that are compatible with natural systems, where each is ultimately sustainable. This means environmental benefits are incorporated into programs and projects at appropriate scales that consider the environmental context and regional setting, and can improve economic, social and environmental sustainability.

DWR staff must also comply with all applicable federal, State and local environmental laws and other regulatory requirements. Environmental compliance means implementing and meeting all terms, conditions, or other restrictions that apply to DWR, that are adopted by DWR or that are imposed on DWR by regulatory agencies, including any requirements set forth in environmental documents, mitigation plans, permits, licenses (e.g. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC]), authorizations, and/or contracts or agreements. ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLES

DWR supports Environmental Stewardship, which includes, but is not limited to the following principles:

  • Sustainability objectives
  • Early and integrated environmental planning
  • Multiple ecological benefits
  • Multiple geographic scales and time frames
  • Variety of approaches
  • Inclusive cost-benefit analyses
  • Science-based solutions, ecological monitoring, and adaptive management

When used to guide planning and implementation decisions, such principles are expected to improve DWR’s ability to meet DWR sustainability objectives, reduce long-term program and project costs, protect and enhance public trust resources, provide multiple ecological and societal benefits, meet or exceed environmental compliance requirements, improve regulatory agency and stakeholder support, reduce delays and inefficiencies, and reduce DWR’s exposure to adverse regulatory review or civil and criminal penalties.

DWR has specifically identified Environmental Stewardship Principles (DAM Section 2140) that are intended to help integrate the Environmental Stewardship Policy in DWR’s planning and implementation decisions.


The Division/Office Chief is responsible to ensure all staff in his or her organization are familiar with DWR's Environmental Stewardship Policy and Principles (environmental stewardship), and this WREM, and that these are considered and appropriately applied in the organization's programs. The Division/Office Chief is also responsible for ensuring compliance with environmental laws and other regulatory requirements (environmental compliance). The Division/Office Chief may delegate implementation of these responsibilities to Program Managers, Project Sponsors, Project Managers or other management designees with the decision-making authority to plan, organize, budget, and/or direct funding and staffing resources.


The guidelines provided below are specific actions that will help coordinate successful application and integration of environmental stewardship and compliance at the project level.

  1. Incorporate Environmental Stewardship and Compliance in Project Management (PM) Documents: As part of standard DWR Project Management procedures, the Project Manager will develop appropriate PM documents for approval by the Project Sponsor. Each PM document should identify how environmental stewardship and compliance are addressed in the project objectives and deliverables. DWR's project management procedures, tools and templates are posted on the Project Services Office website, The Project Manager is expected to plan and implement projects following the guidelines provided by this WREM consistent with delegated authority and is responsible for ensuring environmental compliance, and consideration and application of environmental stewardship within the constraints of the program/project scope, budget, funding source, and schedule. It is also the responsibility of all DWR staff to implement DWR’s mission and policies.
  2. Identify an Environmental Coordinator: At the initiation of a project (including feasibility studies), the Project Manager should designate an Environmental Coordinator who is familiar with the program/project’s mission and objectives and who is knowledgeable with regard to environmental compliance and DWR’s Environmental Stewardship Policy and Principles. The Environmental Coordinator will play a key role in supporting the Project Manager in delivering a project that complies with environmental laws and other regulatory requirements and is consistent with environmental stewardship.
  3. Create a Project Team: In accordance with DWR’s Project Management framework, the Project Manager shall create a Project Team to address all aspects of project implementation. At a minimum, all DWR divisions or other Departmental units that will participate in the planning, environmental stewardship, environmental compliance, land and right of way acquisition, site assessment, historic and cultural resource preservation, exploratory surveys and studies, design, construction, and operations and maintenance will be invited to be members of the Project Team. The Project Team should consist of multi-disciplinary technical personnel and environmental staff that will be responsible for considering and applying environmental stewardship and ensuring environmental compliance. DWR’s FERC Coordinator should be a member of the Project Team for those projects involving activities of the State Water Project subject to FERC licensing.
  4. Apply Environmental Stewardship Principles: The Project Manager and the Environmental Coordinator assigned to the project should consider all opportunities to apply environmental stewardship and educate all members of the Project Team about the associated project benefits. Applying environmental stewardship will also ensure improved and facilitated environmental compliance.