eNewsletter | August Edition
In this month's edition:

  • Russian River watershed streamflow data released
  • NEW North Bay Forest Improvement Program
  • Apply: Forest Health Watershed Coordinator with Humboldt RCD
  • Partner news and community engagement opportunities
  • CARCD and Xerces Society host: conservation practices for Monarchs free workshop
  • USDA-NRCS "Conservation at Work" video series released
What's New at Your RCD
Drought conditions: new streamflow data released
Streamflow data is an essential component for understanding the health of a watershed and the species that dwell within it. Streamflow data provides the foundation needed for many applications and biological analyses, including quantifying the magnitude of impairment caused by water diversions, helping to identify priority reaches for restoration and enhancement projects, estimating the benefit of flow enhancement projects and understanding salmonid survival and recovery. Streamflow data also provides the baseline information needed to understand flow conditions prior to implementation of streamflow enhancement projects and to document the benefits of diversions reductions or water releases on summer streamflow conditions.

The Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership is a multi-disciplinary collaboration that supports our local community of agricultural producers and private landowners, while working towards the recovery of coho salmon within the Russian River watershed. The Partnership has been using the best available science to develop practical solutions to human water needs and instream flow impairment since 2009. Coastal California’s dramatic variability in precipitation and streamflow makes streamflow monitoring a key element to the Coho Partnership’s work.

Trout Unlimited’s Conservation Hydrology team (formerly CEMAR), has been studying the relationships between streamflow conditions and human water use in five project watersheds in Sonoma County since 2010. In the first few years of our work, we investigated the magnitudes, timing, and frequency of high and lows flows in each project watershed to characterize the flow regime of each stream. In more recent years, TU’s work has focused on studying low flow conditions during the summer dry season, to investigate the impacts of the recent drought and how water management practices influence streamflow conditions. Additionally, TU streamflow data is used by our partners to study the timing of significant biological thresholds, such as pool connectivity and over-summer survival.

Recent data compiled by Trout Unlimited illustrated Russian River tributary streamflow conditions in summer 2020 compared to the 2012-2016 drought. See graphs below for Mark West Creek and Mill Creek. For additional information and to see graphs from other tributaries studied please visit us here.
Prop 68: North Bay Forest Improvement Program
The five Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa Counties are developing and implementing a regional landowner incentives program – the North Bay Forest Improvement Program (NBFIP) – to help small non-industrial forest landowners (owning less than 500 acres) conduct fuels treatments and forest restoration projects on their properties.

Together, the five RCDs have been awarded $1,500,000 in grant funds from Cal Fire's Wildfire Resilience and Forestry Assistance Grant program!

The NBFIP will provide public funds to support private investment in forest health and resilience projects to reduce fuel loads and risks of wildfire, insect, and disease epidemics on private properties in forested areas. This type of incentives program is a great use of public funds because it circulates private dollars into land stewardship from sources that, on their own, would likely not be enough to initiate projects.

Activities supported by the program include:
  • forest management planning
  • site preparation
  • tree planting and protection
  • forest thinning and pruning
  • supervision of these activities by Registered Professional Foresters

Program objectives include:
  • Treat 500-700 acres on 30 to 40 properties across four counties to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health.
  • Allocate more than 20% of grant funds to directly benefit disadvantaged communities (primarily in Lake and Mendocino counties).

Partnering with the Rebuild NorthBay Foundation
The RCDs in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa Counties are partnering with the Rebuild The Northbay Foundation (RBNF) to best support this innovative regional collaboration. 
Job Opportunity: Forest Health Watershed Coordinator with
Humboldt County RCD
The Forest Health Coordinator will work throughout thirteen (13) HUC 8 watersheds in the North Coast region, including Big Navarro Garcia; Upper Cache; Gualala-Salmon; Lower, South Fork, Middle Fork, and Upper Eel River; Mattole; Russian River; Tomales-Drake; Putah; and San Pablo Bay to expand and improve forest management and enhance forest health and resilience.

Role of the Forest Health Watershed Coordinator The Forest Health Watershed Coordinator's work will expand and improve forest management to enhance forest health and resilience in the 13 watersheds, by focusing on developing projects and opportunities that increase the rate of carbon sequestration in forests and watersheds, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improving watershed health and resilience in the region. The Forest Health Watershed Coordinator will achieve this by developing funding opportunities for this work in a thoughtful, prioritized, and coordinated fashion. The Forest Health Watershed Coordinator will build closer relationships between regional RCDs, agencies and local groups, develop joint programs, and provide a more unified voice in decision-making around natural resource management concerns and public funding. 
2020 Working Lands Calendar: August highlight
Community Engagement
Agricultural Support and Protection Program
Offered by Sonoma Ag + Open Space
In response to the impacts of COVID-19 on the Sonoma County agricultural community, Ag + Open Space is excited to announce the creation of our Agricultural Support and Protection (ASAP) Emergency Matching Grant Program. The ASAP Program will support farmers and ranchers who can demonstrate that, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lands they farm or ranch may go fallow or be converted to non-agricultural uses without financial assistance. Funds awarded through the ASAP Program will go towards keeping agricultural lands productive to support continued access to locally grown food and fiber, and to keep farming and ranching viable in the county. Stay tuned for program qualifications and the application process!
Beginning Farmer Training program application
A program offered by the Center for Land-Based Learning
Farmers, are you in need of a future manager for your operation? The Beginning Farm and Ranch Management Apprenticeship, a program of the Center for Land-Based Learning, provides a structured pathway for aspiring farm managers to develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful on your farm. The Center for Land-Based Learning has funding for all tuition costs through 2021 and farmers can enroll a current employee or be connected with highly qualified candidates. During this two year program, apprentices complete 3,000 hours of on-the-job training and 250 hours of fundamental coursework before graduating at the Journeyman level as a Beginning Farm and Ranch Manager. To learn more about training an apprentice, visit landbasedlearning.org/apprentice-farmer-mentor or email apprenticeship@landbasedlearning.org.
Virtual Workshops | Resources
NRCS Conservation Practices for Monarchs free workshop
Hosted by CARCD and The Xerces Society
Join Jessa Kay-Cruz, Senior Pollinator Ecologist for the Xerces Society and NRCS Partner Biologist as she reviews the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCD) conservation practice standards that can be adapted to support the conservation of monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
Real stories. Real successes. Real quick.
USDA-NRCS "Conservation at Work" video series now available!
In these 30 short, 90-second videos, learn about the benefits of conservation practices directly from the farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners applying them. The series is featured on farmers.gov. Postcards profiling each practice are also available here.
Attend a technical workshop to receive the latest science-based information on how to best manage your soil, water and wildlife on
your property.
Invest
With a tax deducible donation you can support conservation projects that protects water resources, improves soil health + restores habitat for endangered species.
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