RCD staff gather in Tomales Bay for their first in-person get-together since March of 2020.
July 2021
In this month's edition:
RCD Updates: Gold Ridge Office Re-Opens, New RCD Grazing Program, Welcoming New GrizzlyCorps Fellow, Reminder to Apply to the North Bay Forest Improvement Program
Team Highlight: Daisy Abbott (CA Climate Action Corps Fellow), Saying Farewell to Cailin Notch & Ryan Johnston
Community Spotlight: Mallards and Otter Spotted in Dutch Bill Creek
Publications: North Coast Soil Hub eNews (Summer Edition), Drought Impacts Wildfire: A dangerous cycle
Workshops & Activities: Wildfire Resilience Farmer Training, Extreme Heat Workshops, North Bay Forest Improvement Program Application Clinic, Ecological Farming, Soil Health Institute Annual Meeting
Other News: Household Water Supply Shortages Reporting Website Updates, Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup Program
What's new at Gold Ridge
Gold Ridge Office Re-Opens
We're glad to be back!
Staff at the RCD are grateful to work together in person once again after nearly a year-and-a-half of remote work. After stretching our social muscles at a staff gathering in Tomales Bay the other week, our staff are ready to serve you from the office!

While some of our staff may choose to continue working from home, our farmhouse office, located at 2776 Sullivan Road in Sebastopol, will be open most days of the work week. If you would like to drop by, please call us at (707) 823-5244 to make an appointment. You can also reach our staff remotely using the contact information found on our website.

The Gold Ridge team is thrilled to continue providing you and the rest of our community with free, non-discriminatory assistance and educational opportunities related to agriculture and the environment.
New Program Announcement: LandSmart Grazing Program for Community Resilience
Gold Ridge & Sonoma RCDs
Gold Ridge and Sonoma Resource Conservation Districts have created LandSmart Grazing, a program designed to fund the partnership between landowners and contract grazers in the hopes of reducing the risk and rapid spread of wildfire. 
LandSmart Grazing is a targeted grazing program designed to support interested neighbors or community groups to utilize grazing as a way of reducing fuel load and making their communities safer in the face of wildfires. In addition to reducing fire risks, this type of vegetation management and community-supported targeted grazing can improve biodiversity and provide a carbon-friendly method of vegetation management. LandSmart Grazing also aims to serve previously burned properties in order to remove invasive weeds and reduce fuel load in preparation for future post-fire recovery activities. 

Gold Ridge and Sonoma RCDs plan to connect contract grazers to landowners with the help of the U.C. Cooperative Extension's program Match.Graze in the hopes of facilitating a smooth and effective reduction of fire-fuels.

Additional information about this program, including an application form, will be sent out over email soon. Keep an eye on your inbox if you think you might be interested in applying!
Welcoming Three New GrizzlyCorps AmeriCorps Fellow in September 2021
Gold Ridge RCD, Fire Safe Sonoma, Carbon Cycle Institute, and California Association of RCDs
Gold Ridge RCD, in partnership with Fire Safe Sonoma, Carbon Cycle Institute, and the California Association of RCDs, have been selected as site partners to hire several GrizzlyCorps AmeriCorps Fellows for the 2021-2022 term. One Fellow will continue the capacity building work of increasing community resilience in the face of increased wildfire risk which was spearheaded by our outgoing CivicSpark Fellow, Cailin Notch. The other two fellows will be working on the RCD Project Tracker and carbon farm planning outreach.

We are excited to welcome the incoming GrizzlyCorps Fellows this September and to continue this successful partnership with AmeriCorps. Stay tuned to meet our fellows!
Last Chance! Apply to the CA Forest Improvement Program (CFIP)
Taking applications through July 31, 2021
Apply Now!
RCD Team Highlight & Farewells
Team Highlight: Meet Daisy!
The RCD's Climate Action Corps Fellow
Daisy Abbott was accepted as a California Climate Action Corps Fellow and is completing her service at Gold Ridge RCD during the summer of 2021. Daisy is focusing primarily on drought research, helping to mitigate the impact of drought on our watersheds, and outreach within the community. Read her article about the impacts of drought on wildfire here
Daisy was born in Bolinas and raised in west Sonoma County where she attended a local Waldorf school, played violin and toured internationally with the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra. In May, Daisy graduated highschool from Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan where she studied violin. She will begin her college studies, double majoring in music and environmental engineering, at Pomona College this fall. Daisy also enjoys coding, surfing, reading, and climbing trees.
Saying Farewell to Cailin and Ryan
Thank you both for your work, our team will miss you!
It’s hard to say goodbye. We've treasured working with Cailin over the past 11 months, and while we are sad to see her go at the end of July, we are excited to see how she continues to better our world as she navigates the next step of her career. Cailin came into this position with experience as a city planner, and through her work with CivicSpark, she has improved capacity around wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness education and outreach in Sonoma County and deepened the RCD’s partnership with Fire Safe Sonoma. She also supervised and mentored several RCD outreach interns and supported other young professionals in the organization. Inspired by the RCD’s LandSmart Carbon Farming program, Cailin even transformed her flower garden into a carbon garden! We feel extremely lucky to have been the recipients of Cailin’s hard work and warm presence, especially in such a trying year. Thanks Cailin – we are better for knowing you.
We are also saying farewell to Ryan Johnston, our Conservation Planner, as he takes on being the CEO of his family's beverage business Biotic Brands. He has worked one day a week helping our team with carbon farm plans through the pandemic. He has contributed his gifts of gracious listening, great questions, eye for improving process, expertise in ecological management of agricultural systems and his warm encouraging nature. Ryan worked to complete several Carbon Farm Plans, assisted multiple landowners in receiving funds to implement Carbon Farming practices like compost application, participated in the Healthy Soils Symposium, and elevated the RCD's partnerships. He will be missed but we know we will see him around.
Community Spotlight
Mallards and Otter Spotted in Dutch Bill Creek
Testimony by John T. of Monte Rio
Awareness and appreciation go hand in hand. We love hearing stories like this one that showcase the success and importance of local conservation efforts. John T, who owns a weekend home in Monte Rio, was excited to share the following story about a recent wildlife sighting:
"My property is [located off of] Bohemian Highway, Monte Rio... During winter, water flows down from the mountain... through a concrete culvert under the highway, and into the Dutch Bill Creek. About 6 weeks ago, I walked through the dry culvert, and peeked into the stream. I looked to my left and was surprised to see two beautiful Mallard Ducks swimming in one of the pools of water. They saw me, and flew about 30’ downstream into another pool of water. Then, all of a sudden - the surprise of my life. I saw a river otter swimming in one of the pools! The otter saw me, and quickly swam down the stream... The clean water in the creek inhabited by fish, birds, and otter’s is a true testament to [conservation] work.

Viewing the otter and birds for the first time in 10 years of living (weekend cabin) in Monte Rio has heightened my awareness to the value of Gold Ridge. Keep up the good work."
Write in to the RCD if you have any experiences or stories you'd like to share with the community. We love hearing from you, and you might even be featured on our outreach platforms!
Publications
North Coast Soil Hub eNewsletter
Summer Edition, 2021
Did you miss the Summer 2021 North Coast Soil Hub Newsletter?
 
 
Drought Impacts Wildfire: A dangerous cycle
By Daisy Abbott, Climate Action Corps Fellow
Drought in California is intensifying at an unprecedented rate. With record breaking heat waves, critically low reservoirs, and a scarcity of snow melt, the Golden State is dangerously low on water. These parched conditions have detrimental effects on our environment and are a primary concern as we head for a likely catastrophic fire season. 
As we delve deeper into the dry months of summer, we are reminded how heavily Sonoma County’s water supply depends on atmospheric rivers. These narrow corridors of concentrated moisture are absolutely vital to our water supply because they are responsible for filling reservoirs, ensuring snowfall, and adding moisture to the land. On average, California receives roughly a dozen atmospheric rivers per year, but according to Dr. Marty Ralph at the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UCSD, we only received one throughout the entirety of winter. Because of the lack of rainfall, we are looking at a scarcity of snow in the Sierras, increasingly dry shrubs, and extremely parched soil. 

This dehydrated vegetation and soil combined with the current series of heat waves is breeding dangerous conditions for wildfires.
Workshops & Activities
North Bay Wildfire Resilience: Farmer Training
Sonoma County Farm Bureau & CAFF
In-Person, July 22, 9am-Noon PT
2021 is shaping up to be one risky wildfire season here in the North Bay. We've all lived through a too few many fires, but in the process we've also learned a lot. Join CAFF and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau as they team up to bring you a free morning-long training on wildfire resilience for the farming and ranching community. Topics will include fire-smart land management, the new Ag Access program, regulations, permits, personal & farmworker safety, and more.
Extreme Heat Workshops
Office of Planning and Research & CA National Resource Agency
Online, Tuesday, July 27th & Thursday, August 19th 4-6pm
Extreme heat is a climate impact that will affect all areas of California. At these workshops, the state will be asking for your input and expertise to ensure California takes the actions necessary towards mitigating and building resilience to the impacts of extreme heat events across built, natural, and social systems. Background and updates can be accessed on the 2021 State Adaptation Strategy Update webpage.
For questions on this effort, please email icarp@opr.ca.gov.
*Registration link will be made available shortly at the webpage linked above.
North Bay Forest Improvement Program
Virtual Application Clinic
Online, August 4, 6-7:30pm PT
Looking for assistance in applying to the North Bay Forest Improvement Program? Join us for a virtual application clinic to answer your questions about the program and application process. Applications for this round are due September 30, 2021.
Ecological Farming in the North Bay
Hosted by Sonoma Safe Ag Safe Schools and CAFF
Online, August 12, 5-6pm PT
Join CAFF for an online panel discussion with local North Bay farmers and ranchers who exemplify safe, regenerative practices, exploring how they create a positive ecological footprint through thoughtful care and stewardship of our soil while keeping our communities healthy. This event, open to fellow farmers and the general public alike, will look into proactive on-farm approaches that move beyond the need for chemical inputs and focus instead on the preservation of our natural resources.
Soil Health Institute Annual Meeting
Enriching Soil, Enhancing Life
Online, August 11th & 12th, 7am - 9am + 11am - 1pm PT
The 6th Soil Health Institute Annual Meeting is an engaging virtual event bringing together the leading voices in soil science and the agriculture industry to share research and insights for advancing the adoption of soil health systems that are foundational for regenerative agriculture. Registration is free but required to attend.

*Note that times are in ET on the SHI website
Other News
Updates to the Household Water Supply Shortages Reporting Website
California Dept. of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Office
Recent website updates to the Household Water Supply Shortages reporting page make it easier to report household water shortages such as dry domestic wells.

California residents who are not served by a public water system are encouraged to report water shortages, which helps state and local agencies track drought impacts on household water supplies. This upgrade to the My Dry Water Supply website creates a more user-friendly online experience.
 
In addition to allowing users to submit their own reports, the site includes resources for domestic well owners, up-to-date reporting statistics and provides access to the statewide dataset. Submitted reports provide valuable information that help state and local agencies identify where assistance may be needed. Well owners who are interested in financial assistance will be directed to available resources as well.
 
To report a water supply shortage in English or in Spanish, go to the MyDryWaterSupply webpage:
If you have questions about submitting a report, or would like more information, email sgmps@water.ca.gov.
Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program
Cycle 73 applications due Thursday, August 12, 2021
The Fiscal Year 2021-22 Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program Application (Notice of Funds Available – cycles 73, 74, 75) is now open for submissions.

Contact your local RCD if you would like more information or to apply.

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