eNewsletter | May Edition
In this month's edition:

  • NEW Drought Resources webpage now live
  • Funding for Monarchs
  • Pollinator plant sale - save the date!
  • May is Wildfire Preparedness Month
  • Agricultural Loss Survey for Crop Year 2021
  • GSA Groundwater Community Workshops
  • June 17: Virtual Compost Workshop with Shone Farm

What's New at Your RCD
Drought Resources webpage now live
Our local communities and agricultural producers are already facing the challenges of drought with little to no rainfall and water storage levels well below average for this time of year. The RCD and our partners have been working closely with our agricultural partners to mitigate the effects of climate change through soil health, carbon farming, and water storage and development projects. This is all to ensure our lands and communities become more resilient to the impacts of prolonged drought. We currently do not have an immediate drought response funding, but we can provide technical assistance and will update this webpage regularly to provide the latest resources, funding, and more available to you.

How the RCD can help.
Provide advice and technical assistance (via email, phone, or site visit) on:
  • Water management, use efficiency and conservation
  • Water storage
  • Livestock water systems
  • Long-term strategies to increase drought resilience in the future
  • Share additional resources and funding opportunities as they become available

Please email us at info@sonomarcd.org so we can direct your inquiry to the appropriate team member.
Gold Ridge RCD Receives Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant to Benefit Monarchs and Other Pollinators
Shared from Gold Ridge RCD's April-May 2021 newsletter
The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD) is excited to announce that we have been awarded an urban agriculture conservation grant through a partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to boost technical capacity nationwide. Our RCD was one of 20 conservation districts across 14 states to receive funding.

This grant will support the Gold Ridge and Sonoma RCDs, in providing outreach and technical assistance to underserved urban and community agricultural entities in Sonoma County interested in hosting or enhancing habitat for western monarch butterflies and other pollinators. This may include school and community gardens, tribal lands’ cultural production systems, and localized food sovereignty efforts. “We are thrilled to have received this funding at such a critical time in western monarch conservation history,” said Isis Howard, Project Coordinator at Gold Ridge RCD. “The Gold Ridge and Sonoma RCDs look forward to adapting our rural monarch pollinator conservation efforts by building urban and community projects and partnerships.” Read the full press release here.
Save the date: Monarch Habitat Kits - coming soon!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 5th! The Sonoma RCD will be hosting our first ever western monarch butterfly habitat kit “sale” in partnership with Gold Ridge RCD. These 100 kits include a wonderful selection of native plants, tailored to support western monarchs. Each kit will contain two native milkweed plants, an assortment of monarch friendly nectar plants, and plant care tips and monarch butterfly information to help you establish a nectar waystation for migratory monarchs. Supplies are limited so be sure to sign up and claim your kit soon. An Eventbrite page will be open to the public starting this weekend, and we will send you the link once sign-ups are live

There is a suggested donation of $10-30 per kit upon pick-up; however donations are not required. All proceeds will be directed back into the RCD’s monarch butterfly programs to support further conservation efforts throughout the county. Pick up times will be spaced out over the course of the day, and kits will come pre-assembled to help us maintain COVID safe distancing. We look forward to seeing you Saturday, June 5th and thank you for helping to expand and restore monarch habitat throughout Sonoma County.  
May is "Wildfire Preparedness Month"
Fire is an essential ecological process in fire-dependent ecosystems, such as California wildlands. Sonoma County like many California counties is annually threatened by catastrophic wildfire, particularly in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Our local topography and fuels make our County subject to periodic wildfires, but we can prepare! May is Wildfire Preparedness Month and CalFire's "Ready for Wildfire" webpage has a library of helpful resources for your home and property.
Community Engagement
Survey: Agricultural Loss Survey for 2021 Crop Year
Shared from Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner "What's New" Update
The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture is conducting an agricultural loss survey to determine the extent and nature of crop loss due to the drought conditions in Sonoma County during the 2020-21 rainy season. This season runs from October 2020 through April 2021.  The results of this survey may lead to additional assistance being made available to Sonoma County Producers. Click here for survey landing page.
Upcoming GSA Community Workshops
Shared from Groundwater Sustainability Agency's May 2021 newsletter
Learn about groundwater in your community and plans being developed now to ensure groundwater is available in the future. Meetings held via Zoom 5:30pm-7:30pm. Register in advance for your basin event.
Santa Rosa Plain- Wednesday, May 19
Additional information online at SantaRosaPlainGroundwater.org

Petaluma Valley- Wednesday, May 26
Additional information online at PetalumaValleyGroundwater.org
 
Sonoma Valley- Wednesday, June 23
Additional information online at SonomaValleyGroundwater.org
Seeking Voluntary Participants in Groundwater Monitoring
Shared from the Department of Pesticide Regulation's Groundwater Protection Program
Virtual Workshops | Resources
June 17: Compost on the Farm virtual event
Interested in soil health? Join us for a virtual field day on compost as a tool for improving soils.
 
Santa Rosa Junior College's Sustainable Agriculture program, Shone Farm and the Sonoma Resource Conservation District invite the agriculture community to a free webinar focused on making and using compost on farms.
 
Keynote speaker Phil Foster will share details from his many years of producing and applying significant amounts of compost on his central coast fruit and vegetable farms. Will Bakx of Renewable Sonoma will describe the covered aerated static pile composting system and on-farm composting education at Shone Farm. SRJC faculty member Dr. Josh Beniston will introduce the Shone Farm Healthy Soils Demonstration Project that is utilizing compost to improve soil health in pastures. A panel of expert growers of both wine grapes and vegetables will share the nuts and bolts from their experiences with using compost in their farming systems. There will also be time for questions and answers. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain a better understanding incorporating compost into your farming!
UCANR Forest Stewardship Workshops coming in June!
This workshop series will help landowners develop plans to improve and protect their forest lands in an ecologically and economically sustainable manner. The workshops will address management objectives and planning, forest restoration, fuels reduction, project development, permitting, and cost-share opportunities. Participants will connect with other landowners and learn how to collect information to develop their own management plans. Click here to find out more!
CDFA Drought Resources web page now live
CDFA’s Drought Resources web page stands as a valuable tool for farmers and ranchers seeking information about drought assistance programs.
The page features links to the USDA’s Farm Services Agency and contact information for other USDA offices that could be of assistance to farmers and ranchers harmed by the drought. Information will be added and updated as it becomes available.

On March 5, 2021 USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack declared California’s 58 counties as a primary natural disaster area due to recent drought. This Secretarial disaster declaration allows for farm operations in impacted counties to be eligible for certain assistance available through the USDA Farm Service Agency.
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