Mendocino County RCD News & Updates
Common camas (Camassia quamash) and California buttercups (Ranunculus californicus) in Little Lake Valley
-Marisela de Santa Anna
In the Late Spring 2021 Newsletter:
Anise swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)
-Marisela de Santa Anna
  • 2021 Drought Preparedness Campaign
  • Low Flows and High Hopes
  • Soil Health Symposium
  • Williamson Act and Conservation Easements Webinars
  • City Nature Challenge
  • Willits News
  • MCRCD Staff Highlight
2021 Drought Preparedness Campaign
Drought is Here, Save Water! That’s the message of the 2021 Drought Preparedness Campaign. With two consecutive years of below normal rainfall, water supplies are very low. No matter your water source, everyone should aim to reduce their water use by at least 20% this year.
Since March, MCRCD has been working in close partnership with Russian River Flood Control and the Mendocino County Water Agency (MCWA) to provide up-to-date information about the drought in the upper Russian River watershed. MCRCD recently started expanding the message throughout Mendocino County in collaboration with MCWA. MCRCD’s Joe Scriven and Deborah Edelman produce a weekly email blast to provide accurate information about the state of water supply from Redwood Valley to Hopland and suggest proactive steps for water conservation. MCRCD is also working closely with water suppliers to assist in their efforts to educate their customers.
Most recently, Joe was featured on live national TV on the Weather Channel, discussing the drought and conservation. See the video on the MCRCD YouTube channel. In addition, MCRCD is coordinating the Drought Drop-By bucket distribution event on June 12 from 9 am to 1 pm in two locations: Club Calpella, 6175 N State St, Ukiah and the Redwood Valley Grange, 8650 East Rd, Redwood Valley. Folks can drive, walk, or bike up and receive a bucket packed with goodies for conserving water.
To get on the weekly email list, send a note to Andrew Bake at For more information about the drought and water conservation, visit the MCRCD Drought webpage, MCWA’s drought webpage, and the state’s Save Our Water webpage.
Low Flows and High Hopes
All of California is facing a historic drought crisis, heightened alerts for wildfire, and epic water shortages for people and natural resources - this is the “low” part of the picture. It’s an “all hands on deck” scenario that will drive water use and water conservation for the foreseeable future. The Navarro Watershed Flow Enhancement Partnership (Partnership), formed in 2016 to address critical low flows in the Navarro River, consists of the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited. On April 22, the State Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) awarded the Partnership a $1.3M grant to expand streamflow enhancement strategies to the mainstem Navarro and North Fork Navarro, building on their efforts in Mill Creek, and to export those strategies to Outlet Creek in the Eel River watershed. This is the third WCB grant for the Navarro, and the Partnership has high hopes for engaging with community members to develop water-saving, flow enhancement projects that benefit fish, including salmon and steelhead, farms, and people. A sample of recent work includes: 
Blue Meadow Farm: 29,000-gallon rainwater catchment tank and 63,000-gallon off-stream storage tanks were installed (paid for through Prop 84 and WCB funds). These projects offer Blue Meadow Farm the ability to capture and store water during the winter months to water their 1-acre market vegetable farm over the low flow summer months. Blue Meadow will forbear pumping from Mill Creek during the low flow season, helping to conserve instream flows for the benefit of steelhead and Coho salmon while increasing on-farm water security.
To improve salmon habitat and increase infiltration, large woody debris was installed on Mill and Flynn Creeks and in the North Fork Navarro. This provides protection for young of the year salmonids from predators, helps develop deeper pools, and sorts the gravels for improved spawning habitat. 

If you are interested in learning more, please contact:
MCRCD Watershed Coordinator Linda MacElwee (707) 895-3230 or Conservation Programs Manager Patty Madigan (707) 937-3082
Soil Health Symposium
The North Coast Soil Hub’s fourth annual Soil Health Symposium was held virtually on March 11-12, 2021. Over 200 growers, land and vineyard managers, scientists, agency representatives, and others listened in to learn more about soil health in our region and beyond. Topics included potential climate change impacts and solutions, cutting-edge practices, and the latest data from the field.

The first day focused on climate change and soil health on the global and regional scales, including an overview of the North Coast Soil Hub project. The second day featured growers and researchers discussing under vine management practices improving soil health, compost and the soil biome, the benefits of integrating livestock into agricultural systems, and how soil health factors into economics and marketing.
Williamson Act and Conservation Easements Webinars
The Mendocino County Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Committee hosted virtual webinars in February and March 2021 to discuss the Williamson Act and conservation easements. 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.

SALC is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments.
Mule ears (Wyethia mollis) and swallowtail (Papilio
sp.) -Marisela de Santa Anna
Blue eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) -Marisela de Santa Anna
City Nature Challenge
Mendocino County participated in the global City Nature Challenge from April 30 - May 3. Participants throughout the county took photos of plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms and shared them on iNaturalist. Almost 1,900 observations of 712 species were cataloged during this fun-filled long weekend. MCRCD participated by presenting at the group meeting the week before, showing a video of oak woodland restoration at the Willits Bypass Mitigation Plasma forest, and organizing a scavenger hunt around the valley for families. It was a challenge for the families to get out and find species like the purple camas flower and yellow buttercups and red-winged blackbirds. We encouraged them to download the iNaturalist app and load their findings.
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. 
Willits Commercial Street Virtual Block Party for Earth Day

The past year has been a difficult year for public outreach and face to face interactions on the Willits Bypass Mitigation Lands. But on Earth Day of this year, MCRCD participated in a Zoom gathering with most of the businesses located on Commercial Street along with a few city employees. We at the MCRCD Willits office were very pleased to be invited to join and to meet our business neighbors. Karen Mattson, Curator of the Mendocino County Museum, organized this wonderful event and kept us on track. We all presented on our business or role and our contact information, and then we discussed ideas and visions for how we could work together in the future. As an example of the diversity of the 14 participants, here are a few of them: Brian Bender (City Manager), Gary Martin (Arts Center), John Haschak (County Supervisor), Nicole Bird (Willits Branch Librarian), Sparetime Supply, the New Little Lake Valley Firehouse, and Kemmy’s Pies and Restaurant. It was a lively and supportive group of folks! Some of the ideas shared included joining forces for the grand opening of the new Firehouse on September 11 and creating a street event. This would consist of closing off the street to car traffic and having a walking fair with artists displaying their work, the museum hosting printmaking with Roots of Motive Power equipment, and MCRCD hosting a walking tour and an open house event on the same day! We will be having a planning meeting in August. Making these connections for the future are important steps in becoming part of the Willits Community. We hope to host more events with the County Museum and the Library for local citizens and to provide more opportunities for students.
Baby Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) -Marisela de Santa Anna
Red twig dogwood (Cornus sericea)
-Marisela de Santa Anna
Ash-throated flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) -Marisela de Santa Anna
Oak Regeneration Project in Lusher W7, Plasma Arkelian S1, and Plasma Goss S2

There are several oak and ash tree woodlands on the Willits Bypass Mitigation Lands that we have been managing for the threatened North Coast Semaphore Grass (Pleuropogon hooverianus). As we have cleared the nonnative Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and other invasive plants, we noticed that the average age of most of our Valley Oaks (Quercus lobata) is fairly uniform. We have old, large, broken topped oaks and trees that look to be 10 to 30 years old, but hardly any young 2- to 3-year-old saplings to be found. It is important for a healthy woodland to have a mix of trees in different life stages and successful recruitment of saplings to continually renew and regenerate the habitat. After consulting with a couple of our project botanists, we decided that we could protect about 35 of the many first-year seedlings that have sprouted in each woodland. Left unprotected, the oak saplings would be quickly browsed by discerning wildlife and the cattle that are let in after the Semaphore grass senesces.
Project Technician Jake Stubberfield, who had designed our escape ramps for our water troughs, set to work to come up with a way to protect the trees using resources we had. We all approved of his plan to use the hog fencing and oak tubes we had in stock. The next step was to survey the woodlands and place a flag next to the oak saplings to be set aside for protection. Fortunately for us, it is a good year for sprouted acorns, and we flagged enough in open, appropriate places to be fenced quickly! The oak regeneration project promises to be a huge success. We hope this will be an investment in the new generation of Valley Oaks and plan on doing more each year. It was a satisfying project to work on before our monitoring season begins.
MCRCD Staff Highlight
Congratulations to Patty Madigan, Lifetime Achievement in Watershed Restoration Honoree!
Patty Madigan has been working for the sake of salmon and restoring populations since 1989 when she worked as a Scientific Aide for Alice Rich and conducted fish and habitat surveys with Wendy Jones. Over the last 20 years, Patty has developed grant proposals bringing in over 10 million dollars of state and federal funds for local watershed restoration projects. Working in partnership with Pacific Watershed Associates, she helped advance the TMDL goals in the Garcia River watershed to become over 80% compliant and oversaw the publications of the Handbook for Forest, Ranch, and Rural Roads. She has been a strong voice for storm-proofing roads to protect water quality.
In 2003, she helped develop the Navarro Watershed Coordinated Permitting Program. She took that successful program and expanded coordinated permitting to the whole of Mendocino County in 2012. Patty is a founding member of the Wood for Salmon Workgroup. She served on the Technical Peer Review Committee of the North Coast Resource Partnership for many years. She continues to serve on the Mendocino County Fish and Game Commission Board.
In more recent years, Patty has developed programs and partnerships that have furthered techniques and technologies including accelerated large wood, flow enhancement, cannabis BMPs for watershed health, and storm-proofing roads not only in the Navarro watershed but throughout Mendocino inland and coastal watersheds.
Patty's positive impact on Mendocino County’s watersheds and her inspiration to generations of aspiring restorationists will last for many years to come. One of her main tenets has been “relationships are the life blood of RCDs.” Patty’s ability to communicate clearly in a variety of settings has been a key factor in the excellent relationships that MCRCD has with landowners, project partners, and government agencies.
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