The news on your RCD's latest efforts to conserve and protect our most valued natural resources, support a thriving agricultural community and promote a sustainable local economy.
January 2019
In this month's edition:
  • Remembering John Black
  • Successes of the North Coast Soil Health Hub
  • Vineyard Soil Health Symposium 2019
  • Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency discusses fee option
  • Current funding opportunities: Healthy Soils, SWEEP, AMMP, Ranch Clean Up
  • Your Perspective: Integrating livestock and crop
Remembering John Black
John Black, a dedicated Director of the RCD for decades, left us late last November. John came to Sonoma County in 1978 to start a seedling tree nursery in Sebastopol. His caring nature and interest in farming lead him to the Soil Conservation District. We will remember him for his great heart, sharp mind and encouraging leadership. He will be fondly missed by all.

Soil Health News
"Healthy soils is a passion," says Gov. Newsom
On Monday, January 7th, Gavin Newsom was sworn into office as California’s 40th Governor. And as required by the state’s constitution, Governor Newsom released his proposed budget just a few days later on January 10th.

During the budget news conference, Governor Newsom specifically called out the Healthy Soils Program, saying healthy soils are “important” and an “interesting passion of mine” that he hopes the legislature will share with him. The Governor proposes $18 million for the Healthy Soils program, which is an increase over the current $15 million allocated to the program. Continue reading on CalCAN's blog .
Successes of the North Coast Soil Health Hub
The North Coast Soil Health Hub, a collaboration of farmers, RCDs, educators, and partners, reflects on its accomplishments in its first two years. With newly received funding, the Hub will continue supporting healthy ag land soils and expand its offerings to embark on new research in the coming years.

Living Soil
 A documentary of Soil Health Institute
 Living Soil  tells the story of farmers, scientists, and policymakers working to incorporate agricultural practices to benefit soil health for years to come.  Watch now .
Vineyard Soil Health Symposium 2019
Friday, March 8, 2019
9:00 - 12:00 pm
Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
3245 Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

Growers will gather for a morning of presentations and discussions on improving vineyard soil health. The program will begin with academic researchers and professionals sharing information on tillage management alternatives, cover crops, compost application, and best practices for vineyard floor management. This will be followed by a grower panel discussing their experiences with implementing these practices, and the benefits, drawbacks and complexities of integrating them into their operations.

If you have any questions please contact Sonoma RCD's Keith Abeles, Soil and Water Specialist at 707-569-1448 ext 112 or email at . Visit the North Coast Soil Health Hub for information on soil health trials and research going on in our region:
Groundwater News
Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency discusses fee option
Mark your calendar! Well owners and other stakeholders in the Santa Rosa Plain are invited to attend a public meeting to learn about a proposed groundwater sustainability fee on Wednesday, January 30, 6-8 p.m., at the Finley Community Center Auditorium, 2060 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa. Meeting agenda and additional details are available here .
The January 30th public meeting is in follow-up to a Study Session hosted by the Santa Rosa Plain GSA Board on December 13, regarding fee options for funding the GSA through 2022. During the two-hour session, the Board reviewed decisions made to-date in the year-long rate and fee study, and learned that proposed fee amounts could range from $1- $3 annually for a well owner with a small irrigation well (but whose main water supply is from a city) to $8-$11 annually for rural residents who rely solely on a well. Larger groundwater users, like cities, towns, farmers and golf courses could pay between $16-$22 per acre foot of estimated or actual groundwater pumped annually. (An acre foot of water is equivalent to 325,851 gallons.)

The Board and public provided input to staff and consultants on four key issues (which can be reviewed in a detailed presentation):
  1. A well registration program
  2. How properties that are partially in the Santa Rosa Plain Basin should be considered in regard to a fee
  3. Whether the member agencies that created the GSA should be reimbursed within the next three years or further into the future
  4. Opportunities to reduce the potential economic impact of the fee

The Board expressed the strong desire for staff to reach out to all well owners in the Santa Rosa Plain basin to let them know about the need for a well registration program and fee. Board members asked staff and a Board ad hoc committee to pursue options for softening the fee on those groundwater users who might be heavily impacted. They also discussed a schedule that includes the January community meeting, possible consideration of a fee methodology at its February 14, 2019 meeting, and possible adoption of a fee and well registration program in April. 
Current Funding Opportunities
Funding Assistance

William Hart is ready to help you with questions you may have about any of the following funding programs. He can help you determine if you are eligible to apply, give you detailed information about the kind of project you can put on your land, and assist with your application. Contact him: or call (707) 823-5244.
CDFA funding available for Healthy Soils Practices on agricultural land
Objectives of the program are to build soil organic carbon and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases by providing financial incentives to California growers and ranchers for agricultural management practices that sequester carbon. CDFA is now accepting applications to help growers and producers purchase materials and implement beneficial soil health practices.

Applications due March 8, 2019
Max grant awards: $75,000
Time-frame for implementation: July 2019 - March 2022
No cost share requirement. Must be an agricultural operation.
Applicants can not apply for an award for a parcel that was previously awarded.
Must implement at least one eligible agricultural management practice where it was not implemented previously, including:
  • Soil Management Practices: cover crop, mulching, tillage management (reduce or no-till), compost application
  • Herbaceous Cover Establishment on Cropland Practices: conservation cover, filter strips, field borders
  • Woody Cover Establishment on Cropland Practices: hedgerow planting, riparian forest buffer, tree/shrub establishment, windbreak establishment
  • Grazing Land Practices: compost application to grassland, prescribed grazing, range planting, silvopasture

Request Grant Applications - January 2019
Grant Applications Due - March 8, 2019
Award Funding - June 2019

The RCD is available to provide technical assistance for the application process, but it is the producer's responsibility to apply. We can help with quantification and mapping requested for the application, advise producers filling out the applications, but applicants will need to complete the forms on their own. In some cases we may be able to assist with project design related to the work in applications.   
CDFA funding available for Water Efficiency Practices in agricultural operations
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is pleased to announce a competitive grant application process for the 2018 State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) Round 1. 

Applications due March 8, 2019

The 2018 SWEEP funding arises from the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018 (Sec 3. Division 45, Chapter 11.6. Section 80147 (b) of the Public Resources Code), which allocated $20 million to CDFA to provide grant funding directly to California agricultural operations to incentivize activities that reduce on-farm water use and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from irrigation and water pumping systems on California agriculture operations. The program's objective is to provide financial incentives for California agricultural operations to invest in irrigation systems that save water and reduce GHG emissions.

CDFA funding available for Alternative Manure Management on agricultural land
CDFA's Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP) provides financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester manure management practices in California, which will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Applications due April 3, 2019

CalRecycle funding available for clean up of illegal dumping on farm and ranch land
The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery administers the Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program, which provides up to $1 million annually in grants for the cleanup of  illegal solid waste sites  on farm or ranch property. A site may be eligible for funding if the parcel(s) is(are) zoned for agricultural use, where  unauthorized solid waste disposal  has occurred, and where the site(s) is(are) in need of cleanup in order to abate a nuisance or public health and safety threat and/or a threat to the environment. Sites are not eligible for funding if the site is located on property where the owner or local agency is responsible for the illegal disposal of solid waste.

Applications due February 7, 2019

Your Perspective
How and why do you integrate livestock with crops?

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and The Farmers Guild would like to hear from California producers who integrate crops and livestock. Information collected will NOT be made public. The goal of the project is to create resources, share best practices for farmers and ranchers, troubleshoot, and promote safe, effective practices.

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District
2776 Sullivan Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 823-5244