Mendocino County RCD News & Updates
December in Little Lake Valley -Marisela de Santa Anna
In the Winter 2020/2021 Newsletter:
Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
-Marisela de Santa Anna
  • End-of-Year Giving
  • Strategic Plan
  • Connect Virtually
  • Highlighted Project
  • Upcoming Opportunities and Events
  • Willits News
  • MCRCD Staff Highlights
End-of-Year Giving
MCRCD is grateful for our supporters who invest in our success. Please consider us in your end-of-year giving. Your donation supports our work to restore habitat, monitor watershed condition, and provide environmental education for all of Mendocino County's residents.
MCRCD 2020-2024 Strategic Plan
We are very proud and excited to share our latest Strategic Plan, a significant year-long effort that will be a guiding document for the next four years. With input from our Board, partners, and members of the public, we evaluated all aspects of our operation and services in order to strengthen and build upon core values and capabilities, address opportunities for improvement, leverage strengths in areas identified for growth or continuation, and provide a mechanism for periodic reviews and updates to the MCRCD’s strategy. Overarching drivers for the whole organization are working towards mitigating for the adverse effects of Climate Change and championing Environmental Equity. You can read the entire document on our website, and let us know what you think! We look forward to continuing to work with our community and appreciate your feedback on how we can serve you better.
Connect with MCRCD Virtually!
During a time when in-person connection has been challenging, MCRCD has been exploring more ways to engage with our community. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube to see our projects, learn about funding and partnership opportunities, and see what others are doing in our county to help keep our community healthy, resilient, and thriving.
Highlighted Project
North Fork Navarro River Whole Tree Instream Habitat Enhancement
Between September 14 and 25, 2020, MCRCD completed a whole tree instream habitat enhancement project on a 0.28-mile reach of the North Fork Navarro River. During implementation, 14 key pieces of large wood (whole trees with root wads attached) were placed within Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) property just downstream of Camp Navarro off Masonite Road. Contractors to MCRCD involved in the project included Trout Unlimited (TU), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Blencowe Watershed Management, Pacific Inland, Inc., and Ed Curti. Funding was provided by the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB). Trees were donated by MRC. A second phase of the project is planned for 2021. The next phase’s reach will be approximately 0.75 miles long and involve WCB, TU, TNC, State Water Resources Control Board, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, MRC, State Parks, and Save the Redwoods League.
Installation process photo courtesy of Elizabeth Mackey, Trout Unlimited’s North Coast Coho Project Manager
Upcoming Opportunities and Events
North Coast Soil Hub Virtual Regional Symposium

The North Coast Soil Hub works to increase access to information and serve as a network to help agriculturalists increase soil health, farm resiliency, and sustainability in the North Coast region. The Soil Hub consists of Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Gold Ridge Resource Conservation Districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service Field Offices, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisers and researchers, Santa Rosa Junior College educators, industry organizations and associations, and North Coast agriculturists.

The Soil Hub is hosting our fourth annual Soil Health Symposium virtually this year. This event will bring together growers, vineyard managers, scientists, agency representatives, and others to discuss cutting edge conservation practices and the latest data from the field. Sessions will cover topics including, but not limited to: climate change and soil health, North Coast Soil Hub projects, shop talk: soil health in the field - grazing, under the vine management, compost and the soil biome, and more, as well as a panel on economics and marketing.
Virtual Soil Health Symposium: March 11-12, 8:30-noon

For the latest information on the Symposium and more soil health news, make sure to sign up for our e-newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram! @northcoastsoilhub
Williamson Act and Conservation Easements Webinars
Are you interested in land conservation in Mendocino County but unsure what the options are? Have you heard about the Williamson Act or conservation easements but would like more information? The Mendocino County Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Committee will be hosting virtual webinars in February and March 2021 to explain both of these opportunities. The Committee includes representatives from MCRCD, the Mendocino County (MC) Department of Agriculture, MC Farm Bureau, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, MC Local Agency Formation Commission, Mendocino Land Trust, Inland Mendocino Land Trust, Anderson Valley Land Trust, and the MC Board of Supervisors.
Information Needed: Spawning Migration of Salmon and Steelhead
Help us track steelhead trout, Chinook salmon, and coho salmon in our County! Please document the date, species, and location of sighting, either alive or dead. If you find a carcass, try to snap a photo (disturbing spawning fish is highly discouraged, so stay away from the live ones). California Sea Grant has a great guide to help improve your identification skills.
Chinook salmon carcass from the West Fork Russian River

Please share your findings with our Fisheries Biologist, Joe Scriven either by text at 707-245-2314 or email:
Wildfire Disaster Recovery Funding
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has $4 million in funding available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for those impacted by California’s recent wildfires. 

Applications can be submitted through your local field office. Applications will be evaluated and selected for funding weekly through the end of December 2020

This Wildfire Disaster Recovery funding will support a rapid response to the recent catastrophic fires by addressing resource concerns that must be addressed immediately, such as erosion, invasive noxious weeds, and dead hazard trees that threaten life, property, and other infrastructure. A select list of 17 conservation practices is available to treat these immediate resource concerns. Example practices include “Road Closure” to block access or repair rutted roads that lead to erosion; “Herbaceous Weed Treatment” for control of invasive, noxious weeds which will regrow after the fire; and “Woody Residue Treatment” which cuts dead hazard trees and disposes of woody debris by piling, burning, or chipping.

Click here to learn more about the California Wildfire Disaster Recovery funding pool. For more general and technical information on post fire recovery assistance, visit the Post-Fire Disaster Assistance website.
Songbird Farm Trail
Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) has announced plans to create the first Songbird Farm Trail with the goal of one million nest boxes being installed on farms from Baja to British Columbia along North America’s Pacific Coast! 

Since 1970, more than 3 billion birds have been lost in North America according to a major study published in 2019. Habitat destruction and deterioration, pesticide use, and climate change are major factors contributing to this population decline.
Installation of bird boxes on farms replaces cavities that have been lost due to natural habitat destruction and increases beneficial bird presence on farms. Farmers can help bring back songbirds and also benefit from avian pest control by providing places where birds can raise their young. Farmers who already have nest boxes installed on their land can apply on the WFA website to be added to the Songbird Farm Trail. Farmers without next boxes can order them from WFA. Non-farmers can also support the Songbird Farm Trail by sponsoring bird boxes.
Willits News
The Willits Bypass Mitigation is a compensatory mitigation project managed by MCRCD. A working landscape focusing on the rehabilitation of native habitats, the project has a public education and outreach program that offers guided educational tours and workshops. 
Team with a nesting quadrant -Marisela de Santa Anna
Sprouting Baker's Meadowfoam -Marisela de Santa Anna
Improving Grazing Monitoring on the Willits Bypass Mitigation Project
In June 2020, the Willits Bypass Mitigation Project contracted with LD Ford, Consultants in Rangeland Conservation Science, to help refine the way staff monitor for grazing effect in pastures and to assess how the Grazing Management Plan for the project is performing. Part of this new monitoring system explores how management plans and practices are affecting two targeted threatened plants, Baker’s Meadowfoam and North Coast Semaphore grass, on the project.
Staff wanted to track both threatened plant species populations to see if they were stable, increasing, or decreasing over time. We also wanted to monitor how populations of nonnative and invasive grasses, Reed Canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and Harding grass (Phalaris aquatica), were impacting these threatened plants and habitats. MCRCD is the long-term land manager for the project and it was important to have a monitoring system in place that compliments existing data collected by Caltrans and their consultants. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Willits staff began biweekly virtual meetings starting in June with certified range managers, California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff, and botanical consultants.
The team assessed what was missing in the current monitoring process, designed a way to improve monitoring techniques, implemented the design, conducted monitoring, evaluated and analyzed the data, and adjusted the design, as necessary. We will restart this process in 2021 as we continue to refine our methods.
Monitoring utilizes both field level assessments and transect based monitoring. A total of 21 transects were monitored in the fall of 2021. A “nesting quadrant” system is being used on 300 foot transects. Transect locations are recorded with GIS and by permanent monuments.
We are excited about the new data from the enhanced monitoring and will continue to refine the process to provide the most complete picture possible on how grazing is affecting habitats on the mitigation project. This process has been a creative and at times challenging one, through which we have all learned a lot!
MCRCD Staff Updates
Meet Our Newest Team Member, Bryce Hutchins!
Launched in 2020, GrizzlyCorps is a new AmeriCorps program developed by Project Climate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy, and Environment in partnership with California Volunteers. The program sends recent college graduates into rural communities across California to promote regenerative agri-food systems and fire and forest resilience. Bryce Hutchins is excited to engage with the Mendocino community as part of the inaugural 2020-2021 cohort of GrizzlyCorps Rural Climate Fellows through his service with the Mendocino County RCD. A native of Humboldt County, Bryce graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (2020) with a dual degree in Ecosystem Management and Forestry and Conservation Resource Studies. While his academic interests have focused on community-led resource development in Latin America, he is excited to learn more about forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and the role of community participation in forest management in California. His primary role is within the MCRCD Forest Health and Resiliency Program where he is involved in providing technical assistance and forestry education to landowners and residents, while also expanding the organizational capacity of the RCD to promote land stewardship through active management of forest lands. As a recent college graduate, he hopes to use this opportunity to learn more about the forestry profession while providing a valuable service to the community.
Congratulations to Mary Mayeda, Vice Chair of the Joint CARCD Forestry and Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee!
In July 2020, MCRCD Forest Program Manager, Mary Mayeda, was elected Vice Chair of the Joint CARCD Forestry and Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee (Joint Forestry Committee). The mission of the Joint Forestry Committee is to provide expertise, advice, and support to conserve, restore, and sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of California’s forested landscapes. The Joint Forestry Committee serves as an advisory body to the CARCD Board of Directors and California’s RCDs, to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), and to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to address statewide forestry issues and opportunities. Additionally, as delegated by CAL FIRE, the Joint Forestry Committee serves as the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee where its focus is on California’s Forest Stewardship and Legacy Programs.

At one of the first RCDs in the state to hire Registered Professional Foresters on staff, Mary brings her experience working with a diverse pool of private and public stakeholders throughout Mendocino County to the state level. One of her goals for the three-year term is to promote the development and enhancement of RCD forestry programs throughout California. In her role as Vice Chair, Mary assists Chair Laurie Tippin with agenda creation for quarterly meetings, leads the development of the agenda and activities for the CARCD Annual Conference, leads the development of the Committee’s five-year strategic plan and biennial action plan, and acts as chair when needed.

Click here for more information about the Joint Forestry Committee.
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