A look inside Sonoma County's magical forests: Incredible California Bay tree near the top of Red Hill
June 2021
In this month's edition:
  • RCD Updates: Learn How the RCD Addresses Drought, Monarch Habitat Kit Update, Forest Improvement Program Applications, New Resource: Sonoma County Wildfire Fuel Mapper
  • Staff Highlight: Emilie Winfield, Soil Health Hub Coordinator
  • Publications: Water Management Manual and Agricultural Drought Funding Needs Matrix, Water-Smart Farming Website & Resources
  • Workshops & Activities: Going Beyond Land Acknowledgements, Conservation Lecture Series - Pollinators + Community Science, Soil Health Institute Annual Meeting, USDA-FSA Drought Programs
  • Other News: Pollinator Week 2021, NRCS to Invest $22,774,000 through EQIP Funding, School Garden Network Summer Camp for Kids
What's new at Gold Ridge
Projects that Improve Water Quality & Quantity
Learn How the RCD Builds Resiliency During Drought
Sonoma County is experiencing an extreme drought year in 2021. More frequent drought conditions are our new normal, and it is our responsibility to conserve water to support a healthy environment. This is why the RCD works tirelessly to design and implement projects that will increase human and wildlife resiliency in drought years through improving water quality and quantity in our watersheds.
Here we have listed some of the many projects that Gold Ridge RCD has worked on in the past and present to help protect our water resources:
  • Rainwater catchment for non-potable uses (gardens, fire departments, playing field irrigation at camps, dairy operations and livestock drinking water)
  • Upgraded playing fields through soil amendments species and irrigation to reduce water use by half
  • Freshwater releases from large agricultural ponds into creeks to improve streamflow
  • Compost application on rangeland to increase soil water holding capacity and forage projection
  • Cross fencing and water development on ranches to protect riparian areas and water quality
  • Irrigation efficiency projects on farms
  • Riparian plantings to shade creeks
  • Road treatments to normalize hydrology and increase groundwater infiltration
  • Instream large wood projects to create and enhance pools where juvenile salmonids can survive over summer
  • Outreach and education to our community
  • Forest management planning to reduce fuel loads and evapotranspiration from overstocked forestland
  • Water management planning to promote groundwater recharge
  • Alternative water sourcing to protect summer streamflow
  • Off-channel habitat projects that increase inundation frequency and duration of reconnected floodplains to retain winter flows and extend the duration of wetted habitat into the spring
Monarch Habitat Kit Project Update: Huge Success!
100 Habitat Kits Distributed across Sonoma County
On Saturday, June 5th, 2021, 100 Sonoma County residents went home with western monarch butterfly habitat kits to plant in their gardens, raising over $1.7K in donations to help fund local monarch butterfly conservation efforts.

The Gold Ridge and Sonoma RCDs are absolutely thrilled about the incredible turnout for this event - a big thank you to everyone who came out in support. Kits sold out within the first few days of advertising, and the interest list for future events like this one continues to grow. If you would like to be notified about future monarch and pollinator program opportunities, please sign up for our interest list here.
"I am blown away by all the passionate people in our community who are ready to take action and do the necessary work to make Sonoma County a more sustainable and resilient place for pollinators," Gold Ridge RCD's Project Coordinator, Isis Howard, said. "It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience to design this program with the RCD team... I look forward to many more."
Gold Ridge and Sonoma RCDs aim to turn this pilot project into an annual event that will continue to benefit western monarchs and pollinators in our county. This project, and many others, would not be possible without the generous support of our funders and supporters - THANK YOU!
California Forest Improvement Program
Now taking applications through July 31!
The purpose of the California Forest Improvement Program (CFIP) is to encourage private and public investment in, and improved management of, California forest lands and resources. The program scope includes the improvement of all forest resources including fish and wildlife habitat, and soil and water quality.
Cost-share assistance is provided to private and public ownerships containing 20 to 5,000 acres of forest land. Cost-shared activities include:
  • Preparation of a Forest Management Plan by a Registered Professional Forester (RPF)
  • RPF Supervision of the following:
  • Reforestation
  • Site Preparation
  • Trees and Planting
  • Tree Shelters
  • Stand Improvement
  • Pre-commercial Thinning or Release
  • Pruning
  • Follow-up (includes mechanical, herbicide and/or slash disposal follow-up
  • Forestland conservation practices / fish and wildlife habitat improvement
New Resource! Sonoma County Wildfire Fuel Mapper
Understand Your Land, Reduce Fuels, & Protect Your Community
Maps, resources, and information to help Sonoma County residents and land managers reduce fire fuel hazard. In Sonoma County and across the west, fires have grown larger and more destructive. Our communities need a coordinated, regional approach to manage fuels and protect people, ecosystems, and infrastructure.
The Wildfire Fuel Mapper project was created to help address this need, providing users with a set of tools, resources, and information to help Sonoma County landowners and managers reduce fire hazards. 

The Mapper helps landowners to:
  • Understand vegetation types
  • Understand the need for fuel treatments in Sonoma County
  • Obtain information on planning and implementing fuel treatments in Sonoma County
  • Obtain maps for their property or watershed
Watch a presentation about the Mapper with the Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group
(start video at 1:25:00):
Liked this video? Access more resources like this at www.sonomaforest.org 
Staff Highlight: Meet Emilie!
Emilie joined the RCDs in March 2021 as Regional Coordinator for the North Coast Soil Health Hub.

In her role at the Hub, Emilie works with seven RCDs in the North Coast Region – Gold Ridge, Humboldt, Lake County, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma – to promote soil health practices and carbon farming efforts. A CA native, Emilie brings an enthusiasm for local food systems and a dedication to environmental justice. Motivated to learn about sustainable agriculture, she studied plant sciences and agroecology at UC Santa Cruz and performed research on the relationship between redwood understory herbs and fungi. Emilie believes in being a steward of the land and supporting small farms that provide communities with healthy and abundant food. These days, the intersection of agriculture and climate change is at the forefront. There is a huge opportunity to store carbon back in the soil and make the region’s agricultural lands more vibrant and resilient, benefiting producers and increasing food security for the community. 

Emilie has worked for several farms and gardens including the Brooklyn Grange, Love Apple Farm, Fresh Run Farm, and Garden for the Environment. Following a stint of mushroom farming and rooftop beekeeping in New York, Emilie started a garden for a budding pizzeria in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Oak & Rye, before going on to manage two other exclusive partnerships between small-scale farms and local restaurants. You can read more about her past work in Marin County here. She has held many odd jobs over the years, including spending a summer in Yosemite NP as a host at the Ahwahnee Hotel restaurant and a barista at the park’s Lodge. 
On any given weekend, you may find Emilie enjoying jam and sweet treats at Swanton Berry Farm, camping along the coast, or tuning into Blues by the Bay on the radio. In addition to traveling, she loves pizza, local cheese, swimming in the ocean, and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada. If you want to get to know Emilie, please feel free to invite her out for a visit or sit down for a cup of coffee – she will take you up on the offer!
Drought & Water Management Manual and Agricultural Drought Funding Needs Matrix
Sonoma County Farm Bureau
Sonoma County and Mendocino County Farm Bureaus have been working with agriculture stakeholders and other organizations to compile a Drought & Water Management Manual and a funding matrix related to drought projects. 

The Water Management Manual recognizes the effort and practices to conserve resources already in place on working lands while also offering guidance on additional measures that can be taken in order to conserve water in a meaningful way.

The Funding Matrix has been shared with many elected officials and regulatory agencies outlining immediate projects and long-term programs that would benefit the agriculture community and the community as a whole. SCFB will send out more information on any secured funding or project opportunities as they arise.
Water-Smart Farming Website & Resources
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
We can't stop the drought. But we're not without tools and techniques to better withstand, adapt and be resilient during tough times. From dry-farming to irrigation efficiency to soil management practices, CAFF has helped create a website (California Ag Water Stewardship Initiative) solely devoted to resources compiled specifically for farmers during dry times. Read case studies, find technical assistance, and read up on the latest in water-smart farming practices.
Workshops & Activities
Summer Plant Sale!
Hallberg Butterfly Gardens
In Person by Appointment, June 21st - 26th
Come celebrate National Pollinator Week with new plants for your neighborhood! Plants include mostly CA natives and those well suited to feed our local pollinators. Some of the species included are showy & narrow leaf milkweed, CA pipevine, silver lupine, foothill & showy penstemon, buckwheats, asters, salvias, phacelias, blue-eyed grass, woolly bluecurlsand much more. See you there!
Going Beyond Land Acknowledgements
Redbud Resource Group
Online Workshop, June 22nd & 23rd, 10am - 12:30 PT
An interactive 2.5 hour workshop for individuals seeking to grow their allyship with Native peoples. Participants learn about the strengths and limitations of land acknowledgements and explore concrete, action-oriented strategies for building connections with Native communities.
Conservation Lecture Series
Restoring habitat and engaging community scientists in pollinator conservation throughout California
Online Webinar, June 22, 11am - 12:30 PT
Pollinators are critical to ecosystem function, yet some populations have declined precipitously in the past 20 years. We will discuss trends in pollinator decline, focusing on the monarch butterfly and bumble bee species classified as
species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) in California. Then we will review actions CDFW is taking to support their recovery, including engaging community scientists to collect data to fill in knowledge gaps and enhancing habitat through- out our properties to increase resources for pollinators.
North Bay Drought Webinar: Drought Resilience
Online Webinar, June 29th, 9am - 12pm PT
For growers and managers of row crops, orchards, dairies, livestock, and rangeland. We will explore long term solutions that will increase resiliency in the face of future drought.
  • 9:00 a.m. - Crops and Orchards
  • 10:30 a.m. - Dairy, Livestock and Rangeland

The webinar will be provided in both Spanish and English. The webinar is free, registration is required.
USDA-FSA Drought Programs
Sign Up Opportunity
In Person Sign Ups, June 30th, 10am - 5pm PT
Drought Assistance for all Sonoma County and Marin County Producers.

  1. Livestock Forage Program
  2. Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program

Call (707)794-1242 ext 126 to reserve your spot today!
Soil Health Institute Annual Meeting
Online Meeting, 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
Pollinator Week 2021: June 21-27th
Adapted from Sonoma RCD's eNews
Pollinator Habitat is vital to agriculture and our communities. Whether you’re a Sonoma County resident, homeowner, ranch owner, dairy producer, winegrape grower or have a small scale orchard or row crop farm, there are opportunities everywhere to support beneficial pollinator communities. For example, boundaries between crops or property lines, raised beds in your backyard, along fences, and any strip of unplanted ground in partial to full sunlight can be used to establish pollinator habitat. These spaces should not be undervalued or underutilized, but rather seen as an opportunity to support pollination, increase biodiversity, sequester carbon, or increase soil health. Bringing these edges and spaces back to life can greatly benefit you in addition to the pollinators. If you are interested in hearing more about best management practices that benefit pollinators, please contact your local RCD!

Why are pollinators important? Pollinators are often keystone species, meaning that they are critical to an ecosystem. The work of pollinators ensures full harvests of crops and contributes to healthy plants everywhere. An estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators. In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually." Excerpt from the Pollinator Partnership.
What Can You Do?
  • Grow native milkweed and nectar plants
  • Promote the establishment of pollinator habitat in your community
  • Don't spray harmful pesticides
  • Purchase food and flowers from bee-friendly farms and gardens
  • Participate in community science opportunities for pollinators
Here are a few additional resources that you can access with additional information about how to support pollinators at your home, farm, business, school, or where you can donate to programs implementing pollinator projects.
NRCS to Invest $22,774,000 for California Producers in Drought-Impacted Areas
CDFA Office of Environmental Farming & Innovation
School Garden Network Summer Camp for Kids!
School Garden Network (SGN) of Sonoma County
This summer, your kids can wiggle, giggle, dig, and dive into learning all about where their food comes from. Starting in July, the School Garden Network will be hosting 4 week-long day camps, each with a theme. 

Garden Campers will:
  1. Delight in a working garden
  2. Connect with nature in native habitats
  3. Learn to cook
  4. Create arts and craft
  5. Make new friends
  6. Spend their summer days outdoors

Click Here, to find out more!

Follow the Gold Ridge RCD on Social Media!
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on our latest efforts and projects in our district. You can also track our hashtag, #GRRCD.