View as Webpage

eNewsletter | September 2022

In This Month's Edition

  • RCD Updates: LandSmart Grazing Program for Community Resilience, Milkweed Deliveries!
  • Staff Spotlight: Welcome our Two New Grizzly Corps Members!
  • ResourcesUSDA Grant Selects Collaborative Multi-Million Dollar Project 
  • Workshops: Opportunities in Organic Urban Agriculture, Composting Site Tours, Watering Native Plants, Stewardship Day at Jeff's Garden
  • News: Faline Howard has been honored by City of Sonoma’s Mayor for Monarch Butterflies Restoration Project!Fire Forward Is Hiring A Prescribed Fire Apprentice

What's New at Gold Ridge?

LandSmart Grazing Program for Community Resilience 

It’s that time of year again! Local Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) in Sonoma County have collaborated for a second year of LandSmart Grazing -- a program designed to fund the partnership between landowners and contract grazers in the hopes of reducing the risk and rapid spread of wildfire. During Phase I of this funding last year, the RCDs provided funding on 6 projects, grazing over 90+ acres. Landowners we worked with stated that they were likely to recommend this program, that this program allowed them to increase their allotted acreage that fit their budget, and that this program was a great way of ‘addressing a simple need that will benefit everyone in the area’.  

LandSmart®Grazing is a targeted grazing program designed to support interested neighbors or community groups to utilize grazing as a way of reducing fuel load and making their communities safer in the face of wildfires. In addition to reducing fire risks, this carbon friendly method of vegetation management, and community-supported targeted grazing, can improve biodiversity. This project also aims to serve previously burned properties in order to remove invasive weeds and reduce fuel load in preparation for future, post-fire recovery activities. 

Gold Ridge and Sonoma RCDs will connect contract grazers to landowners with the help of the UC Cooperative Extension's program, Match.Graze in the hopes of facilitating a smooth and effective reduction of fire-fuels. The program will assist in planning a grazing project and help to assess the need of temporary infrastructure installation, such as electric fencing or portable livestock water. The majority of our funds will prioritize areas of high fire risk--especially if there is a close proximity to at-risk, densely populated, or underserved communities. The deadline to apply for LandSmart Grazing is Friday, October 21st. We are encouraging landowners and land managers to work with neighbors to create areas with 4-100 acres of grasslands or woodlands to apply for this subsidized and eco-friendly fuel reduction opportunity.  

Eligible participants include, but are not limited to, managers of properties:

  • 4-20 acres for single properties or 4-100+ contiguous acres for multiple properties
  • grassland, woodland, shrubland, agricultural lands (orchards, vineyards, etc.) 
  • at high risk of wildfire 
  • in close proximity to at-risk, disadvantaged or densely populated communities
  • adjacent to key community evacuation routes or key infrastructure 
  • in an urban area or between urban and open space land

Program services include:

For Land Participants

  • If approved, are provide a list of contract grazers to choose from
  • Establish vegetation management goals for your area of interest
  • Prepare and graze the site
  • Financial assistance to use contract grazers such as sheep or goats on your property
  • Transportation of livestock to and from site 

For Contract Grazers

  • Small grants to acquire infrastructure needs to expand/improve services such as electric fencing, mobile corals, or portable livestock water trailers
  • Provide information on their services to all Land Applicants

Payment Rates: RCD pays 85% of the grazing costs to provide fuel reductions on selected properties directly to the contract grazer.

How Do I Apply?:

  1. Land Participants - Applications will be accepted September 23rd - October 21st
  2. Contract Grazers - Grazing Program Application Form will be accepted September 23rd - October 21st

North Bay Forest Improvement Program Prescriptions and Cap Rates

Milkweed Deliveries!

This fall, Gold Ridge is partnering with Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, Conservation Works, Sonoma County School Garden Network, Marin Monarch Working Group, and others to supply and deliver native milkweed to farms, working and tribal lands, schools, and community gardens throughout the North Bay as part of a monarch butterfly recovery program, through funding from the National Fish and Wildlife.

Milkweed is essential to rebuilding the monarch population as it has seen near-extinction in the past few decades due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change. Milkweed is the only food source for monarch caterpillars, so reintroducing milkweed is a vital part of monarch habitat restoration.

Over 1,500 narrow leaf milkweed starts are being planted through the milkweed distribution program this fall, with more in propagation for spring deliveries. Interested farmers, ranchers, school or community garden coordinators will soon be able to sign up to receive milkweed through the program – stay tuned.

Staff Spotlight

Tess Polizzotti Grizzly Corps Fellow 

Hi! My name is Tess, and I joined the Gold Ridge RCD in September as a GrizzlyCorps Program Fellow. I will be serving with GRRCD for eleven months. My primary role will be to support both RCDs in Sonoma County in the Region Conservation Partnership Program. The RCPP project will implement land management practices which minimize wildfire impacts on human life and property, restore natural fire regime patterns in undeveloped areas, and improve resource conditions following recent wildfires. I will also be administering the RCD Project Tracker tool to showcase the relevancy and capacity of RCD projects as well as participating in general outreach work with the RCD.

I am born and raised in Marin County and that is where I currently reside. Although I left California for four years to get my bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Public Health from Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, I am very excited to be back home. I graduated in May 2022 and moved back to the North Bay to utilize my education at home. I received my degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in climate change and human health. I am really interested in pursuing a career in climate resiliency and wish to gain some important professional experience at the local level before continuing with my higher education. I am very excited about this opportunity to work with Gold Ridge and to serve Sonoma County through community-based outreach and environmental stewardship.

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping, and exploring the North Bay and other parts of California. I am looking forward to spending more time in Sebastopol and the rest of Sonoma County. I also enjoy knitting, especially hats and am teaching myself to crochet.

Angel Arcuri Climate Corps Fellow 

I joined Golden Ridge RCD at the beginning of September as a Climate Corps, AmeriCorps Fellow. I will be serving with Golden Ridge for the next 11 months with the primary focus on climate and agriculture resilience. During my service term I will be helping to engage and organize farmers and ranchers to promote land resilience to adverse changing climate events such as wildfire risk, water scarcity, and soil degradation. A key program I will be contributing to is the LandSmart Grazing program. I will also assist in field work relating to watershed water quality and conservation.

I moved to the Bay Area about a year ago from Illinois to complete a service term with AmeriCorps and build upon my career. My background includes water quality testing and environmental consulting. I also graduated with a BS in Geography: Climate and Water Resources. I am passionate about environmental conservation and water quality. I also believe in the power of human connection to the natural environment. I am excited to learn more about, and be apart of projects associated with, sustainable land use and conservation work during my time at Golden Ridge RCD.

When I am not focusing on sustainability efforts, I love to spend my time outdoors, whether it’s hiking, kayaking, surfing, or gardening. I also love to read and play music. I play the bass guitar and trombone with a small group of friends in our garage band.


USDA Grant Selects Collaborative Multi-Million Dollar Project 

Sonoma and Marin counties have been selected as recipients of the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. This project will build on successful carbon farming and local/regional food and farming partnerships to expand climate-smart markets, including a regional supply chain and innovative marketing campaign for climate-smart agricultural products. This project will create a scalable, regional carbon finance program that is sustainable and scale implementation for the long term.

Seventy total projects nationally were selected for funding, drawn from over a thousand applications submitted last spring. The Biden-Harris Administration, through the USDA, is investing up to $2.8 billion in the selected projects under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. Gold Ridge will collaborate on two projects—the Sonoma Marin Ag and County Climate Coalition and Organic Valley’s CROPP Carbon Insetting Program (CCIP).


Opportunities in Organic Urban Agriculture

Oct. 4, 12pm PT


Register Here

This webinar will explore research in this field, as well as perspectives from farmers on growing organically in urban spaces. It will be presented in partnership with Oregon Tilth, as part of a series of webinars on organic topics.

Composting Site Tours

Oct. 7, 8am-12pm PT

In Person

Register Here

University of California Cooperative Extension, with support from Marin Carbon Project, is hosting an on-farm dairy composting workshop series. Look at the flyer here!

Watering Native Plants

Oct. 8 & Oct 9, 9am-12pm PT

In Person

Register Here for Saturday

This workshop will address frequently asked questions about watering native plants. Such as how much water, and how long and often.

Click here to register for the Sunday workshop. 

Stewardship Day at Jeff's Garden

Oct. 8, 9am-12pm PT

In Person

Register Here

Stewardship tasks vary with the season: prepping beds with compost, planting organic vegetable starts, harvesting vegetables, pruning, and more! We have something for everyone to do, so bring the whole family! 

Other News

Faline Howard has been honored by City of Sonoma’s Mayor for Monarch Butterflies Restoration Project!

Aiming to restore this important food source to the monarch butterflies, Howard has cultivated over 1,700 narrowleaf milkweeds plants and has been passing them out to the community. 

Read More About Their Work Here

Fire Forward Is Hiring A Prescribed Fire Apprentice

Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), an innovative North Bay conservation science and education organization, is hiring five full‐time Prescribed Fire Apprentices to join the growing Fire Forward team. This is a full-time position with competitive benefits. Pay rate is $23 per hour with compulsory paid overtime. Employment term is 11 months, mid-January through mid-December 2023.

Email resume, cover letter, and package of any relevant completed fireline coursework (NWCG or SFT) (titled with Lastname, Firstname_resume, cover letter, coursework) to with “Prescribed Fire Apprentice” in subject line. No phone calls, please.

Application period closes 5:00 pm October 12, 2022.

Candidates may be asked to provide references from current and/or former supervisors and colleagues.

Click Here for More Information

Join Us


About Our Programs

The District's programs continually evolve to address California's

most pressing natural resource needs like climate adaptation, food security, clean water, thriving habitats, and ecosystem resiliency.


Make A Donation

With a tax deducible donation you can support conservation projects that protect water resources, improve soil health, and restore habitat for endangered species.


FemBluebird _Pc_IsisH_.JPG
Subscribe + Follow 

Make sure you never miss an opportunity to collaborate with us. Subscribe to our monthly eNews and follow us on our social platforms:

Facebook      Instagram      Web

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District


District Map