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eNewsletter | April 2023

In This Month's Edition

  • RCD Updates: LandSmart Grazing Update, Forest Landowner Intake Form for Forest Conservation, AmeriCorps Appreciation Week, Fire Safe Sonoma Award, Board Vacancy: Now Accepting Applications
  • Resources: Meet Ellie Andrews: UCCE Sonoma's New Specialty Crop Advisor, There's Still Time to be Counted in the 2022 Ag Census
  • WorkshopsCARCD Private Forest Landowner Assistance Workshops, Sudden Oak Death Education, Jenner Headlands Wildflower Hike, Herbicides: A Double-Edged Sword?
  • Other News: The County of Sonoma is Hiring a Climate Resiliency Analyst, Welcome Che Casul: Sonoma RCD's New Executive Director

What's New at Gold Ridge?

LandSmart Grazing Program Update

We are excited to announce that our first LandSmart Grazing project has taken off! With all the rain we have gotten this season, it has given great opportunity for new growth. This new growth may be beautiful and green now, but during the dry season the vegetation can become wildfire fuel. This makes it even more important for early vegetation management. The herbaceous plants also benefit grazing livestock as a nutritious source of food. 

The lovely goats, brought to the Ya-Ka-Ama project site by Chasin Goats Grazing, were hard at work managing the targeted landscape in Forestville at the end of March. The grazing goats were amazing in reducing invasive broom and other fuels at the Ya-Ka-Ama Indian Education and Development Center. They also provided great natural fertilizer for the land from their manure! If you are interested in the use of grazing as a land management tool, or would like more information, read our Medium article below!

William Hart, our Agriculture Program Manager, also participated in a panel discussion and workshop to speak on Community Grazing Cooperatives for the California Association of Family Farmers' Small Farm Conference. William was invited as a panelist to discuss LandSmart Grazing and how to empower communities with education, knowledge, and support for the stewardship of their land and their communities within a healthy fire ecosystem. You can watch the recording of this Community Grazing Cooperative workshop below.

Read More About LandSmart Grazing Here
Watch the Community Grazing Workshop Recording Here

Interested in Forest Conservation? Fill Out Our Intake Form!

Even though California is currently experiencing heavy rains, green hillsides, and superblooms, the wildfire season will soon be upon us. Because of this, we want to highlight the forestry programs Gold Ridge RCD is involved with and encourage forest landowners to reach out for technical assistance, educational materials, funding opportunities, and any related questions. 

Gold Ridge RCD works closely with the Sonoma RCD (collectively the Sonoma County RCDs) to provide forest health programs to our nonindustrial forest landowners across Sonoma County. 

Sonoma County RCDs can:

• address concerns such as hazard trees, erosion control, invasive species control, replanting, fire fuels management, and more. 

• support beneficial forest management activities performed on-the-ground, such as forest thinning, planting, pruning, chipping, pile burning, and fuels management.

• utilize grazing as a way of reducing fuel load and enhance wildfire resilience.

• create a Forest Management Plan (FMP) which describes the natural and agricultural resources of the property, documents the practices used to protect natural resources, identifies opportunities to maintain or improve the quality of existing natural resources, and prioritizes management practices. FMPs are prepared by landowners and registered professional foresters. 

• provide assistance such as guidance, application support, and project management to help the public participate in conservation programs administered by other organizations.

If you are a forest landowner interested in forest conservation on your property, please fill out our intake form. This form also provides information on the various ways the RCD can assist in forest conservation. 

Fill Out the Landowner Form Here

AmeriCorps Appreciation Week

For AmeriCorps Appreciation Week, the Gold Ridge RCD wanted to give our two AmeriCorps fellows, Angel and Tess, a special shout out to thank them for their work with the RCD. Thank you, Angel and Tess!

Angel is competent, thoughtful, helpful and a stellar teammate. She’s fun and professional bringing confidence, graceful facilitation and an eye for equity into all her work. Angel has made meaningful and thoughtful contributions to outreach and coordination of the RCD’s LandSmart Grazing Program and our Climate Smart Agriculture Program. Angel has also integrated herself into numerous other projects with other staff members, including water quality focused efforts, pollinator projects, the food system alliance, and trail related work. Her desire to participate and contribute is priceless. She has proven herself to be very capable in technical and interpersonal matters. She anticipates what is needed, she communicates clearly, and is self-motivated to follow up. She is really helping our ag programs to grow and be more effective. We appreciate her support and participation.

Tess is a thoughtful, curious, intelligent, perceptive, and intuitive person who’s responsiveness makes her a joy to work alongside. Tess has brought great follow through and energy to the RCDs programs and we are so grateful for her service and the light she carries into her interactions. Tess has increased participation in the statewide RCD Project Tracker with her tenacity, organization and welcoming outreach. She is supporting our monarch, Farm to School, youth field trip programs and holding down the fort for our social media and e-newsletters. Tess has hugely expanded our capacity and we really enjoy spending time with her. We are excited to be working with Tess and supporting her on the next steps of her career. She’s the type of person that makes you feel great about the potential of our future.

Gold Ridge RCD Honored with Outstanding Partnership Award at Fire Safe Sonoma's Wildfire Mitigation Leadership Summit

Fire Safe Sonoma awarded our Executive Director, Brittany Jensen, and our Forestry Program Manager, Adriana Stagnaro, with their Outstanding Partnership Award at their first Wildfire Mitigation Summit on March 25th, 2023. We have deep heartfelt gratitude for this honor and want to recognize the vital work that Fire Safe Sonoma has done for our community. FSS provides education, resources, and assistance for Sonoma County communities to empower wildfire prevention efforts. Until recently they were fueled by volunteers. Gold Ridge RCD felt that Fire Safe Sonoma's strength would lift up our whole county and has partnered to support them in increasing their capacity to do so. Cheers to partnership and lifting one another up!

Check out Fire Safe Sonoma's website for wildfire prevention resources. We also encourage everyone to sign up for their newsletter to stay up to date on the latest wildfire prevention news and resources for Sonoma County!

Check Out Fire Safe Sonoma's Website Here!

Gold Ridge RCD Board Director Vacancy: Now Accepting Applications

The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District is seeking interested parties to fill a vacancy for Director. If selected for Director, the term of office is through December 2024. Appointees may seek re-appointment when the term expires. This is a volunteer organization, and Directors are not financially compensated for service.

Applications are due by email, hand or mail delivery to the Gold Ridge RCD office by Wednesday, 5pm, April 19th, 2023. For application instructions, please read this document. To access the application, check out the link below!

See Our Board Director Application Here


Meet Ellie Andrews: UCCE Sonoma's Specialty Crop Advisor

Ellie Andrews is the new UC Cooperative Extension Specialty Crops Advisor serving Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties. She provides technical assistance on tree crops, berries, vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, culinary mushrooms, etc., essentially all crops excluding grapes and livestock. She provides field support to commercial specialty crop growers on topics such as plant health, soil and water management, integrated pest management, crop selection and diversification, and scale appropriate equipment. She is currently conducting a needs assessment to ensure her outreach and applied research program serves the needs and priorities of specialty crop growers in her assigned counties. 

Contact Ellie for Specialty Crop Assistance Here

USDA 2022 Census of Agriculture: There's Still Time to be Counted

The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land - whether rural or urban - growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year. The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures. For America’s farmers and ranchers, the Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity.

Respond to be Counted Here

Workshops and Events

Private Forest Landowner Assistance Workshops

Monday, April 17th, 1pm-2pm

Monday, April 24th, 1pm-2pm

Zoom Webinar

Register Here

Sudden Oak Death Education

Monday, April 24th, 11am-3:30pm

In person

Fairfield Osborn Preserve, Penngrove

Register Here

Jenner Headlands Wildflower Hike

Saturday, April 29th, 10am-2pm

In person

Jenner Headlands, Jenner

Register Here

Herbicides: A Double-Edged Sword? What We Know about Herbicide Impacts on Pollinators

Thursday, April 27th, 10am-11am PST

Zoom Webinar

Register Here

Other News

The County of Sonoma is Hiring a Climate Resiliency Analyst

Sonoma County is recruiting for a new Climate Resiliency Analyst (Admin Analyst III) for the Climate Action and Resiliency (CAR) Division! There is a lot of work to do, and the county is really excited to hire an inspired, curious, motivated, stellar person in this role. CAR are really encouraging BIPOC (black and indigenous people of color) and individuals with lived experience in our underserved communities to apply. Check out the job posting below for more information and to apply!

Read the Job Posting Here

Welcome Che Casul: Sonoma RCD's New Executive Director

The Sonoma RCD formally announced Alego "Che" Casul as the new Executive Director of the Sonoma RCD! He will be starting with May 1, 2023. 

Che is a 7th generation rancher in Bodega, CA born and raised on the same ranch his great great great great grandfather settled in 1851. Spending much of his free time in his youth with his grandmother, Che was taught the deep importance of caring for the land generationally as she would highlight ranch projects that previous generations had carried out that were beneficial and was not shy of pointing out and naming those bygone family members whose actions had a negative effect on their current landscape and livelihood. Through this long view lens Che believes that it is imperative to nurture and grow the natural resources of Sonoma County for the generations that come after. 

Congratulations, Che! Gold Ridge RCD is looking forward to working with Che as we continue our close partnership with Sonoma RCD!

Read Sonoma RCD's Announcement Here

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