Our hearts are with our local and regional communities in the midst of this harrowing year and some of the worst wildfires on record. MCRCD is here for the long-term to help the land and our community recover and build resiliency in this changing world.
Mendocino County RCD News & Updates
Fall colors in Little Lake Valley -Marisela de Santa Anna
In the Fall 2020 Newsletter:
Euthamia sp. with honey bees in Little Lake Valley -Marisela de Santa Anna
  • In Memory of Tom Schott
  • Highlighted Projects
  • Upcoming Opportunities
  • NCRP Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Technical Assistance
  • Russian River Cleanup 2020
  • Post-Fire Soil Safety Webinar
  • Willits News
  • MCRCD Staff Updates
In Memory of Tom Schott
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Mendocino County’s legendary forester, Thomas E. Schott’s passing on July 4, 2020 at his home in Willits. We would like to take a moment to honor the legacy that our friend and colleague leaves behind. 

Tom moved to Mendocino County in 1974 and quickly made an impression. Tom worked as the lead for the Tomki Watershed Project – a landmark sediment control inventory, implementation, and monitoring project – under the employment of MCRCD. He later went on to be instrumental in the development and publication of the Mendocino County Soil Survey, naming, mapping, and describing the county’s soils. His pioneering work revealed previously unknown information about our forest’s soils and other foresters still consider his work a beacon for long-term planning. He spent the bulk of his long career working for NRCS as an area forester and District Conservationist. During that time, although no longer employed by MCRCD, he championed the organization. In fact, for many years, Tom Schott was the MCRCD, creating projects and writing grants.

Tom was well-versed in all phases of local conservation issues. He had a rich background and understanding of conservation challenges and was able to explain complex issues clearly to landowners, politicians, and upcoming scientists. He received awards from the EPA and USDA for his watershed restoration work and is well known and loved by landowners throughout Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma Counties. Current landowners still ask about Tom and rave about his knowledge and personal character.

A true conservationist to the core, Tom returned to work with MCRCD part-time after his retirement from NRCS. We are truly fortunate to have had so many good years with Tom and so lucky that he – such a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and optimistic person – so firmly believed in the MCRCD mission. We will miss his laugh, knowledge, kindness, and energy, but ultimately, we are grateful for all that he has done for us, for landowners and managers, and for the field of forestry as a whole. We have lost a great conservationist as well as a great human being.
Cattle at the Willits Bypass Mitigation Project -Marisela de Santa Anna
Aster sp. at the Willits Bypass Mitigation Project -Marisela de Santa Anna
Highlighted Projects

Blue Meadow Water Storage

To help Blue Meadow Farm fully meet its late summer/fall water needs for their 1-acre market vegetable farm, a second tank has been installed at the farm to augment the 39,000-gallon rainwater catchment tank installed in 2018. The new 63,000-gallon off-stream storage tank will allow the landowners to draft from Mill Creek, a Coho Salmon stream, during the winter high flow season. With this new tank in place, the stored water will be available for the low flow season during the time when the fish and people need the water the most.

New Flows and Fish Signs

To keep the community in the Mill Creek (lower Navarro River) watershed updated about streamflow and habitat conditions for fish, new Flows and Fish signs have been installed at two locations. Mill Creek is a priority Coho Salmon stream, tributary to the Navarro River. One sign is on the Holmes Ranch Rd. subdivision and the other is on the Nash Mill Rd. subdivision. These colorful signs, crafted by a local woodworker and funded by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with Trout Unlimited and the MCRCD, are part of MCRCD’s Wildlife Conservation Board Navarro Flow Enhancement Project public outreach component. 
Willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) -Marisela de Santa Anna
Late summer wild rose (Rosa sp.) -Marisela de Santa Anna
Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) -Marisela de Santa Anna
Upcoming Opportunities
NCRP Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Technical Assistance
For organizations and groups looking for professional technical assistance with the development of forest and fuel management projects:

The North Coast Resource Partnership (NCRP) is offering project development technical assistance through the NCRP Regional Forest & Fire Capacity (RFFC) program for projects that improve forest health, increase fire resiliency, and adapt to climate change. Direct technical assistance will be provided by a team of regional experts and may include site assessment, mapping and GIS analysis, greenhouse gas calculations, cost estimates, permitting support, project benefits quantification, and preliminary project design. The purpose of the technical assistance support is to help build projects that are permit ready and competitive for funding and implementation.

The NCRP expects to provide between $5,000-$15,000 in technical assistance support for priority projects over multiple rounds of funding. The deadline to submit a proposal is October 15, 2020.
Russian River Cleanup 2020
COVID-19 has led to more litter than ever. Help clean the Upper Russian River, its tributaries, and dry land areas to keep trash out of the waterways.

Please join us for the 2020 Ukiah Valley Community and Creek Cleanup on September 26!

This year's event has been modified to keep everyone COVID-safe. We will be cleaning as individuals or in established COVID bubbles only.

  • Everyone must pre-register for the event. No walk-ins this year.
  • Each bubble will be assigned a time to pick up supplies on September 26, a location to clean, and a trash bag drop off spot for later pick-up.
  • All participants must agree to watch a pre-recorded safety video, work only with those within your pre-existing COVID bubble, and wear a mask and gloves at all times during the cleanup.
  • Send us a selfie and we’ll post it on Facebook!

All volunteers must pre-register by September 24. If you have a specific place you’d like to clean or just want to do your own neighborhood, please indicate that on your registration. The event is co-sponsored by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Mendocino County Water Agency, MendoRecycle, and the City of Ukiah Public Works.
Post-Fire Soil Safety Webinar
Are you growing food on a property impacted by wildfire? Fire introduces new considerations for growing produce and raising backyard poultry. In this free virtual webinar, learn from scientists who have studied urban wildfires in California, including: what questions to ask, how to improve soil health and make informed decisions about food safety, which agencies might have helpful information, and what remains unknown in this burgeoning field of study.

Free Virtual Webinar
Saturday, Oct 17, 2020, 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Presenters include: Rob Bennaton (Bay Area Urban Ag Advisor), Maurice Pitesky (Poultry Specialist in Cooperative Extension, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine), Todd Kelman (Specialist, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine), and Julia Van Soelen Kim (North Bay Food Systems Advisor)

Additional resources regarding produce safety after wildfire can be found here.
Fall poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) -Marisela de Santa Anna
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. 
RCD's new office in Willits, the Coleman House, at 998 Hearst Rd. -Chris Bartow
MCRCD’s Willits staff working on the Bypass Mitigation Lands moved into their new field office in June of 2020. The Old Coleman House, as it is known locally, is located at 998 Hearst Rd. It is a historical site that is the former residence of the famous rodeo cowboy and silent movie star from the late 1920s, Don Coleman. The facility is connected to the southern end of the mitigation project and now allows project staff easy access to mitigation lands from its back door. The cozy ranch style house offers three offices and a large common area for meetings and social events. Included on the property are several outbuildings, a large garage for equipment storage, hay barn, and water tower. MCRCD staff share the facility with Caltrans environmental staff who are still active on the project with habitat restoration and creation.

Recently, with the onset of California’s fire season and an onslaught of unprecedented wildfires in Mendocino County, the security of the Coleman House for project staff and its close proximity to the mitigation project has proved to be invaluable for safe management and oversight of mitigation lands during trying times. With so many critical habitats to protect, pastures full of livestock, and abundant wildlife, it is necessary to have staff on site daily to oversee day to day operations. The Coleman House has supported this endeavor tremendously!

We all look forward to the day when social distancing is a thing of the past and we can welcome the community in to share in this wonderful facility.
Coleman house water tower and barn during 2020 fire event. -Chris Bartow
Planted valley oaks in Little Lake Valley -Marisela de Santa Anna
MCRCD Staff Updates
Mr. Joe Scriven has been formally promoted to Assistant Executive Director. Although Joe has been acting in this position since March 2018, this formal recognition acknowledges his additional leadership role and outstanding contributions at MCRCD. Joe has worked for MCRCD since 2011. In addition to his roles as MCRCD’s fisheries biologist and a senior project manager leading several high-visibility fire recovery projects, he has been the Board Secretary, the Safety Officer, bid and contracting expert, time card administrator, and “right-hand-man” to the Executive Director (ED). These last two years, full of challenges due to flooding, drought, fires, budget shortfalls, and a pandemic, the ED leaned heavily on Joe for assistance with the overall operations of the organization. Joe’s warm and comforting demeanor has been an important asset to all the staff and helped hold all of us together during these difficult times. His unique ability to comfort and motivate, keeping focus on people first, has been critical to the success of the organization. We are pleased to formally recognize Mr. Joe Scriven as Assistant Executive Director.
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