November 30, 2016 
In This Issue:  
*New Video Celebrates the RCD
*Read the 2016 Newsletter
*Thankful for Donors
*Pasture Walk on Chanselor Ranch Dec 1st
*Stories from the Duckworth Ranch Outing
*RCD plans for Climate Change on Vineyards
*Public Meeting Addresses Road Flooding
*Biochar Conservation Burn Training Dec 9th
New Video Celebrates the RCD's 75th Anniversary

We have much to look back on in our 75 years of serving western Sonoma County.  At first an agency of a few concerned and motivated farmers, the Gold Ridge RCD has become an agency for farmers, by farmers. Our team specializes in a variety of natural resource concerns, equipped to tackle pressing issues through our local, state and federal partnerships.

In this video, we reflect on what makes the RCD a valuable part of Sonoma County, and how our partners make the RCD the incredible agency that it is. 

We hope you enjoy, and we thank you for your dedication to this beautiful landscape we call home!

The 2016 Edition of "Stewards of the Land" is Here

The RCD's annual newsletter is published online and coming soon to our mailing list. 

The RCD is So Thankful for Donors 

Our donors are members of our community who see the value of an active RCD that takes on the challenges of multi-year drought, dwindling endangered species, climate change, viable small farm businesses, clean water and clean air. 

In our 75th year, we look to our community to support us as we continue to support our human and wildlife habitat. Please consider donating to the RCD today.

Join the Deep Roots Monthly Giving Program 

Pasture Walk on Chanselor Ranch 
Thursday December 1st, 9:45-1:30pm

Join Richard King and Marie Hoff for a Pasture Walk on Chanselor Ranch in Bodega, Thursday Dec 1st, 9:45-1:30pm. The Pasture Walk will focus on grassland health, including overgrazing, over rest, how soils sequester carbon, and why our management of grasslands is of critical importance environmentally, socially, and economically. Let's look at the land, see how grasslands work, and discuss the management implications. Presented by California Native Grasslands Association in partnership with Fibershed, Gold Ridge RCD, Sonoma RCD, Marin RCD, and NRCS.


Duckworth Ranch Outing  Brings Families 
in Touch with the Wild

On November 5th, Gold Ridge RCD hosted an Agricultural Heritage outing to Duckworth Ranch, a property protected from development by a conservation easement of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. 

Hiking the relic black oak woods, sneaking a peak in Blucher Creek, taking in incredible watershed views, practicing spinning wool into yarn and dining on the Duckworth's bursting blueberry cobbler, attendees got a close look at the Duckworth's cherished ranch. 

Like in all Agricultural Heritage outings, attendees heard directly from their local farmer why keeping ag in our human culture is so valuable: it supports working families, yields fresh and flavorful produce, keeps our lands green, and keeps our community connected to the earth. On this outing though, the value of responsible farming to wildlife in particular was obvious. We saw hawks, Canada geese, songbirds, the hole of a gopher snake, snags fit for turkey vultures and owls, cold and clear water hospitable to otters and fish, narrow deer trails, and the healthy pasture that feeds the Duckworth's large sheep herd. 

We hope to see you on our next Agricultural Heritage outing!

Photo by Tess Owens

North Bay RCDs and Partners 
Plan for Climate Change on Vineyards

Hosted at the beautiful SRJC Shone Farm, the Gold Ridge, Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa RCDs, the USDA's NRCS Ukiah Office, UCCE Mendocino and the Santa Rosa Junior College came together this November to discuss the current research on vineyard climate-beneficial practices for our region. 

These might include timed irrigation/fertigation to increase nitrogen uptake by vines, compost application, hedgerow planting, cover cropping and grazing, reduced and non-tillage, and more. These practices are being examined for their ability to sequester carbon dioxide, retain water, reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers, amendments and pesticides, and maintain grape quality and quantity. This meeting will help inform the RCDs as they start assisting vineyards to create LandSmart Carbon Farm Plans.

RCD Researches Solution for 
Flooding on Green Valley Road 

Gold Ridge RCD has been working with the community to identify a solution to the chronic flooding of Green Valley Creek across Green Valley Road just outside Graton, CA. Local organizations have conducted and presented studies of the causes of flooding and potential short- and long-term solutions. Gold Ridge RCD will not be funding or managing flood mitigation projects; instead, it has played a role in facilitating the research and development of mitigation solutions.

On November 17th, the agency held a public meeting to report out the results of their research. Stakeholders have concluded for the time being that the solution to move forward entails dredging Green Valley Creek to increase its flood capacity.


Partner News
Biochar Conservation Burn Workshop
Hosted by 
the Sonoma Biochar Initiative & Sonoma Ecology Center
at Circle Bar Ranch from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. on Friday Dec. 9th.

These workshops feature both hands-on, in-the-field training and a classroom style component. The morning classroom session (9 A.M. to 10 A.M) will focus on biochar itself, including why it works to improve soil, the benefits of using it in both animal and plant agriculture, how to properly condition it prior to use, and how to apply it. Conservation burn theory and methodology will also be covered along with safety and permitting considerations, pile construction, burn management, and maximizing production of biochar.
The second session (10 A.M. to 1 P.M.) will include hands-on field training using a pile of vines and vine trimmings.

Who should attend: Anyone with woody surplus who normally does an open burn, or who is interested in biochar. Vineyard, orchard and row crop managers, medical marijuana farmers, land managers Environmental Sciences students, ecologists, forestry and tree contractors, and fire service personnel are encouraged.


Celebrate 75 Years of Service 

See what's recent at the

Read our musings at the 

The staff of the Gold Ridge RCD thanks you for your continued support.