eNewsletter | March Edition
In this month's edition:

  • Streamflow enhancement in key coastal watersheds
  • Celebrating AmeriCorps Week
  • Taking applications: North Bay Forest Improvement Program
  • New BIPOC Farmer Micro-Grant Program Open from the Rodale Institute & Organic Farmers Association
What's New at Your RCD
Streamflow Enhancement Milestones in Three Coastal Watersheds
The rural areas of West Sonoma County are a great example of what makes our county so special. It’s important that we steward these watersheds for future generations of both people and fish. The Sonoma County Coastal Rainwater Catchment and Forbearance Project, funded by the California Wildlife Conservation Board, is in the process of installing 240,000 gallons of rainwater storage on residential properties in three key coastal watersheds: Gualala River, Austin Creek, and Russian Gulch

These three coastal watersheds provide important habitat for endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout. Their streams often go dry or have critically low flows during the summer months, providing a survival risk to juvenile salmonids that remain in the streams over the summer. The rainwater catchment tanks collect rainwater off roofs during the winter, to be used during the summer months for irrigation and other outdoor non-potable uses. The rainwater will offset the existing water source (well, spring, or creek) during the driest time of year, leaving this precious water in the aquifers and streams when it is most needed.

The project will provide rural residents with additional water security during the uncertain times of drought and climate change that our communities face now and in the future. In addition to offsetting pumping and encouraging landowners to be more aware of their water use, the stored water may also be used for fire protection, an invaluable resource in our county.
Celebrating AmeriCorps Week 2021!
The Sonoma RCD is celebrating AmeriCorps Week and our very own GrizzlyCorps fellow, Jacob McDaniel! Jacob has been instrumental in supporting the RCD's capacity to improve soil health and carbon sequestration on working lands, take action for monarch butterfly conservation, and improve the resilience of our forests. Big thanks to Jacob for his service and dedication to our community!

<<< Jacob pictured here participating in an Rx burn.

AmeriCorps engages 270,000 Americans each year in sustained, results-driven service through our AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors programs. These dedicated citizens help communities impacted by COVID-19, ensure students stay on track to graduate, combat hunger and homelessness, respond to natural disasters, fight the opioid epidemic, help seniors live independently, support veterans and military families, and much more. There are currently 19,000 AmeriCorps members and volunteers serving in California. Be sure to check out our post tomorrow on Instagram @sonomarcd for #ThankfulThursday #AmeriThanks!
Community Engagement
Apply Now: North Bay Forest Improvement Program
The North Bay Forest Improvement Program (NBFIP), developed by Rebuild NorthBay Foundation (RNBF) in partnership with the Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) of Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma County, and Clear Lake Environmental Research Center (CLERC) is a cutting-edge cost share program, providing public funds to support private investment in forest stewardship activities. Funding will support reducing vegetative fuel loads, insect infestation, and disease epidemics on forested private properties in Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma County. Specific methods supported by the program may include forest management planning, site preparation, tree planting and protection, forest thinning and pruning, and supervision of these activities will be done by Registered Professional Foresters. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis; there is no application deadline. For the application and more information, visit our website here. Flyer pictured above available on our website.
Leopold Conservation Award Accepting Applications
Announcement from Sonoma County Farm Bureau
In California, Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award in partnership with American Farmland Trust, and state partners: California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation. Leopold Conservation Awards recognize extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, inspire other landowners through their example, and help the general public understand the vital role private landowners play in conservation success.
 
Nominate yourself or another landowner. Award criteria are used by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation professionals in each state to evaluate each application for the Leopold Conservation Award. The Leopold Conservation Award recipient receives $10,000 and a crystal award. Application Deadline: July 15, 2021. More information here.
Virtual Workshops | Resources
New BIPOC Farmer Micro-Grant Program Open
Funding offered through the Rodale Institute & Organic Farmers Association
Rodale Institute & Organic Farmers Association have partnered to launch a new BIPOC Organic Farmer Micro-Grant program, open for applications now & due on March 31. This program is specifically targeted to support small-scale BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) farmers, whether organic, transitioning to organic, or an aspiring organic farmer. The goal of this program is to grow BIPOC farmers in the organic movement and help them succeed. 

Who’s Eligible: Any U.S.-based BIPOC farmer or aspiring farmer who is interested in organic production. Applicants will be screened by Rodale Institute and Organic Farmers Association.

Funding Amount: Rodale Institute will fund up to $18,000 per year for projects that meet the programs’ requirements. Individual project budgets should be between $500 and $2,000.

Timeframe: Applications are open from January 1-March 31 of each year. Funding decisions will be made by May 31 and funding will be available immediately following approval

How to Apply: Start the application here and submit to Elaine Macbeth, Rodale Institute Chief Financial Officer, via email or mail. Projects that have a high potential for impact on the individual farm and/or the communities they serve will be given the highest priority. The application is short and streamlined.
 
Learn more at RodaleInstitute.org/Microgrant or OrganicFarmersAssociation.org/bipoc/ Examples of projects that may be approved for funding include (but are not limited to): support for on-farm consulting, facility upgrades, outreach & marketing tools, travel or education stipends, signage or multimedia projects, and more.

If you have any questions, please contact Elaine Macbeth, Rodale Institute Chief Financial Officer, at elaine.macbeth@rodaleinstitute.org.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
Funding offered through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides grants to support education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers. Beginning farmer education for adult and young audiences in the United States can generally be traced back to the advent of the 1862 and 1890 Morrill Land-Grant Acts. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill) reauthorized the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and provides mandatory funds for which supports education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers. Application Deadline: March 25, 2021. Find out more here.
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