November is National Native American Heritage Month - Learn more!
Join us in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Indigenous peoples of West Sonoma County: Kashaya (Kashia), Southern Pomo, Me-Wuk (Coast Miwok), and Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. Explore Indigenous territories near you through the interactive Native-Land.ca online map.
November 2020
In this month's edition:
  • Featured RCD Project: Dutch Bill Creek Streamflow Improvement
  • Valley Ford Pie Auction: Postponed this year
  • Staff Highlight: Sierra Cantor, Ecologist
  • 2020 Working Lands Calendar: Live Oaks Ranch
  • Community Spotlight: Mia Monroe & Monarchs!
  • Upcoming Workshops and Activities
  • Partner News
What's new at Gold Ridge
Dutch Bill Creek Streamflow Improvement
What's happening in Dutch Bill Creek this year?
The RCD is excited to share that local efforts to improve Dutch Bill Creek streamflow for the benefit of endangered coho salmon continue strong despite the unprecedented challenges of this year. While many core streams in the Russian River watershed have become intermittent or completely dry (some even burned over in the fires), there is hope for the salmonid rearing habitat in Dutch Bill Creek!

David Hines, Senior Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW), reported to us and other project partners in mid-September:
"When I went to Dutch Bill Creek yesterday, I was treated to the welcomed experience of continuous flow and deep pools... I didn’t count fish, but there appeared to be Coho juveniles there in abundance. It made me proud to be even a small part of the hard work all of you have done, not only with the flow augmentation but with the storage and forbearance projects, monitoring and other work as well, and to see it paying off in such a critical year. Though the lower and upper reaches of Dutch Bill Creek still went dry, I am hopeful the middle reach provides a significant contribution to the conservation of Coho in the Russian River by providing much-needed resilience in an otherwise bleak drought year."
It warms our hearts to share this positive news with our community, and we are ever grateful for all the individuals and groups who have come together over the years to protect and support these valuable natural resources.
Valley Ford Pie Auction Postponed
A note from Gold Ridge RCD's Executive Director, Brittany Jensen
Dear Community: We tried to figure out how to have a socially distanced pie auction this year but it just didn’t sound as fun. So, while we will be missing this soul warming community gathering, we will be dreaming about pie and visiting you all once it is safe.

Here’s the pie I’ll be making this year with frozen berries I picked this summer:
Nana’s locally famous Blackberry Sour Cream Pie
(Click Here for the recipe!)
The other pie that excites everyone
at our dinner table is a Ginger Pumpkin Pie!
What pies will be gracing your tables?
Which pie was your favorite from last year?
REMINDER: If you feel like giving back this holiday season, we encourage you to donate to Food For Thought and/or Redwood Empire Food Bank!
In other news... if you really miss the Schoolhouse you can now camp there!
The Valley Ford Schoolhouse is a 2300 square foot, one-room schoolhouse built in the early 1900s. It has a rural and rustic charm with big windows, weathered hardwood floors, a kitchen and bar, 2 restrooms, and a large back lot overlooking the Estero Americano. Original wooden seating benches, folding wood and metal chairs, and collapsible 6 and 8 foot tables are included with the rental. There's so much to do in this area: hike, horseback ride, dine, paddle, surf, eat, drink, and shop!
Staff Highlight: Meet Sierra!
Sierra Cantor, Ecologist
Sierra Cantor, Gold Ridge RCD’s Ecologist for the past 10 years, has been participating in resource conservation planning and conducting biological and ecological surveys of Sonoma County flora and fauna for over 20 years. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with degrees in Environmental Studies and Biology, she returned to Sonoma County and worked in wineries for two crushes becoming acquainted with the seasonal rhythms of winemaking and developing a taste for wines she couldn’t afford, before becoming an AmeriCorps Volunteer at Circuit Rider Productions, Inc. where she was introduced to all facets of ecological restoration from nursery production to rare plant relocation and native plant revegetation. Her next decade was spent at the Sonoma RCD learning about her community in new and exciting ways through environmental education for youth and adults and honing her watershed monitoring and assessment skills.
For the past 10 years at Gold Ridge RCD, Sierra has relished the opportunity to work with her community, including public agencies, local organizations and private landowners, to collaborate on projects that assess and enhance watershed health and function. During the last several years, Sierra has been focused on her natal stream, Atascadero Creek, working with the watershed community to unravel its mysteries and improve stream habitat and fish passage. There are few things she loves more than tromping around creeks and marshes with her incredible coworkers. And while fish are fantastic, nothing makes Sierra happier than amphibians (please feel free to send her pictures and stories of newts, salamanders and frogs). Having been born, raised, and now raising her own children in the Gold Ridge District, she has a passionate interest in and commitment to the conservation of the natural and agricultural resources that define the region.
Whether you were born here or chose it as your home, Sierra is thrilled to be your neighbor and looks forward to working with you!
Publications
2020 Working Lands Calendar
November Highlight: Live Oaks Ranch
Calendars are available, and they are free!!
Request yours today & get to know your local working lands.
Community Spotlight
Mia Monroe
Western Monarch Count Coordinator & Long-time Monarch Advocate
This past month, the RCD was lucky enough to chat with Mia Monroe, Thanksgiving count co-founder and regional coordinator for Sonoma and Marin counties. Thanks, Mia, for taking the time to share your story with us!
November is here and that means it's time to count overwintering monarchs.
monarch_in_flight.jpg
"My volunteer work as a community scientist is so rewarding and this is an invaluable way for others to help document sightings, breeding success and more." - Mia Monroe
A little about Mia...
"My early fascination with monarchs was fostered by my nature-loving family who encouraged me to find caterpillars in nature and watch the amazing, beautiful metamorphosis to a monarch butterfly while also learning the indispensable link to milkweed...

As a young national park ranger, I became involved in a study managed by The Xerces Society to inventory the population of western monarchs in the overwintering coastal zone. This was in the 1980s, and this taught me the skills to be alert for monarch behavior, find overwintering clusters, and how to count and enter useful data. I also met with many biologists to learn about possible threats, trends, overwintering site qualities, and questions about monarch migration 
 
This was a very exciting time but although it seemed to me monarchs were abundant and doing well, these scientists were already voicing concern about lower numbers, overwintering site losses and other looming threats in the breeding areas of the West (i.e. loss of milkweed)... 

The next big step was setting up a monitoring program... Over the years, I have helped establish the Thanksgiving Count. Volunteers like me, under auspices of The Xerces Society, undergo training and fan out to check in on the overwintering sites... Most of the Sonoma sites have been known for decades, and, with a little care, the groves could once again offer important haven for monarchs as they move towards our CA coast for the winter—offering us a chance to view one of the most amazing spectacles of nature: a monarch on the wing or sunning on a tree!"
Check out the Western Monarch Call to Action at the
Xerces website to learn how YOU can help & participate!  
Upcoming Workshops & Activities
Managing Weeds in Grasslands and Rangelands in the Context of Fire in California
Virtual Webinar
$20 to Register!

This will be a virtual webinar via Zoom.
November 18, 2020 | 9am - 12pm
UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and UC Davis experts will discuss how fire interacts with plant communities in rangeland ecosystems, how grassland management influences fire severity and how management practices impact post-fire vegetation recovery.

“We realize that many communities across the state are dealing with the effects of fire this year, and we wanted to highlight the importance of weed management, particularly in grasslands and rangelands, which are heavily impacted by fire” said Whitney Brim-DeForest, County Director, UCCE Sutter-Yuba Counties, who is chairing this webinar event. “Weeds can have an impact on the spread of fire, as well as on the recovery of grassland and rangeland plant communities after a fire event.”
Photographing Wildfire with Jerry Dodrill
Virtual Webinar
FREE or suggested donation of $5-$10.
November 19th, 2020 | 5:30pm - 6:45pm
Photography plays a unique and powerful role in showing, not just telling, the stories of our beloved landscapes over time.

Join us for an evening of reflection and storytelling with renowned local photographer Jerry Dodrill, who has spent the last three months photographing the wildfires in our county and documenting a changing climate and region, from the Meyers Fire along the coast to the Glass Fire on the eastern edge of the Laguna watershed.

These stunning images show the connections of firefighting in California, our wild and urban lands, and fire ecology, all from the photographic lens and personal experience of a long-time local dedicated to showing the beauty and resilience of wild Sonoma County.
Foundations and the Future - Celebrating Women's Leadership in Food
Virtual Webinar
$15-$45 to Register!

Choose the price that is most accessible to you.
December 5th, 2020 | 9:30am - 2pm
A day of education, celebration and dialogue, at CWLF's 5th annual symposium we will hear from leaders working on the frontlines of community and farmworker justice in a day that weaves together policy, advocacy, justice, healthcare, art and farming. While we cannot meet in person for our annual symposium this fall, we are committed to fostering connection and bringing together many of the powerful and inspiring pieces of the day we all look forward to each year.

Come hear powerful speakers, lean into self and community care, hear live music and find inspiration to keep doing the good work! 
Partner News
Are You Ready for Winter?
Handy tips for winterizing your property from the Napa RCD
We know it's been a long dry summer....but rain happens! Make sure you prevent erosion by following these tips:
 
Roads: Now more than ever it is important to check your stream crossings, make sure your culverts are intact and open, and storm-proof your roads. Unpaved roads should be drained by rolling dips or water bars. In areas impacted by the LNU and Glass Fires, there are fewer plants, which means fewer sponges to soak up storm water. As a result, we are expecting flows to be higher than normal downstream of the burned areas. We are also expecting that more woody material will be coming down streams that have been impacted by fire. Use this Storm proof Roads Checklist as you prepare for winter.
 
Vineyards: Vineyard managers should vigilantly monitor and maintain existing erosion control measures. Keys to winterizing the vineyard include: cover disturbed areas with seed and mulch, prevent further soil disturbance, and evaluate roads and drainages. In vineyards impacted by recent fires, inspect all plastic culverts and come up with a plan for those that have melted. For more recommendations for getting vineyards ready for winter, post-fire, click here.
 
Forested properties: Make sure your roads are storm-proofed (see above) and that any existing erosion control measures are in good shape. If your forest burned in the LNU or Glass fires, minimize the soil disturbance in the burned areas, and assess burned trees for potential hazards to you, your visitors, and infrastructure. Do not remove trees that you think are dead until after the rainy season -- they might surprise you by actually being alive. Click here for more tips about post-fire restoration of forest and woodlands.
North Coast Soil Hub is Looking for Photos of Healthy Soils!
Calling all soil lovers! Calling all camera lovers!
We need some great photos of what healthy soil looks like in West Sonoma County.
Show us the soil, the people working hard to make the soil healthy, and the practices that are key to building organic matter.
We'd love to feature your photo in the next North Coast Soil Hub newsletter!
Attention Local Entrepreneurs and Businesses!
New Biomass Business Competition
We are excited to announce the development of the Sonoma Biomass Business Competition! 
 
It has become clear that our forested areas of the County need widespread and direct attention. Sonoma Economic Development Board —in partnership with Northern Sonoma Air District, Napa Sonoma SBDC, CAL FIRE and Sonoma Clean Power—is investing in our entrepreneurs and existing businesses to launch several wood products businesses to incentivize more forest health projects to be conducted throughout the County. 
 
The intent is for the selected awardee to actively work with state, regional, and local entities to support and provide a high-value end-use from excess vegetation removal projects. We will award promising business ideas with an awards package to help refine their goals through technical services and capital startup. Any and all professionals, age groups and institutions are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to local residents of Sonoma County.
 
If you are interested in being on the mailing list to learn more about the Competition and to be first in line for the launch of the RFP early next year 2021, please go to our website:
 
 
Through this initiative, we hope you can guide the County to support fire safe vegetation management, avoid air pollution and be the leader of an untapped market for the region.